“A simple look at the upward path of global greenhouse emissions indicates we will continue to squeeze the trigger on the gun we have put to our own head.” Eugene Linden, The Winds of Change: Climate, Weather and the Destruction of Civilization
In the United States, 254,000,000 (million) cars, hundreds of thousands of planes, boats, trains, lawn mowers, snow machines and other combustion engines burn fuel 24/7. They exhaust enormous amounts of pollution every second without end.
In the United States, millions upon millions of homes, office buildings, schools and factories burn billions of tons of energy to operate the engines of commerce. They also exhaust billions of tons of carbon pollution.
It all adds up to an enormous load on the Natural World that cannot be mitigated. Note that the USA houses 319 million people. The rest of the planet carries 7.2 billion humans also burning colossal amounts of energy to create horrific impact on the ecology of the planet.
At some point, something must give, and it will! Systems that cannot withstand the assault must collapse.
Mother Nature deforms to fit humanity’s onslaught
Earth’s average temperature rose 1.4°Farenheit over the past century. Scientists project a rise of 2 degrees F to 11.0 degrees F within this century.
Small changes in the average temperature of the planet translates to large and dangerous shifts in climate and weather. It also transforms our oceans with temperature changes and acidification from carbon infusing with the water.
Previous to the Industrial Revolution, the Earth’s atmosphere carried 280 parts per million of carbon dioxide. In March of 2013, that figure rose to over 400 ppm for the first time in millions of years.
Since that time, oil, gas and coal became energy sources that overwhelm the Natural World’s ability to mitigate their impact.
The evidence grows stronger with each passing year. Rising global temperatures caused Hurricane Katrina, Sandy and Haiyan in the Philippines. Tornadoes touch down in February throughout the Midwest in America.
Many regions face extreme drought like California while extremes express themselves all over the planet. Glaciers melt at lightning speed in Asia, Greenland and Alaska.
Oceans warm while becoming more acidic, which translates into unlivable habitat for marine creatures. Extinction follows.
So what’s causing our massive environmental warming trend?
Essentially, human beings burn up the planet
The United Nations weather agency chief Michel Jarraud said, “Ocean temperatures are rising fast, and extreme weather events, forecast by climate scientists, showed climate change was inevitable for the coming centuries.
“There is no standstill in global warming. The year 2013 tied with 2007 as the sixth hottest year since 1850 when recording of annual figures began.
“The warming of our oceans has accelerated, and at lower depths. More than 90 percent of the excess energy trapped by greenhouse gases is stored in the oceans. Levels of these greenhouse gases are at a record, meaning that our atmosphere and oceans will continue to warm for centuries to come. The laws of physics are non-negotiable.”
We humans set a course beyond our understanding. We tinker with the mechanism of climate and ecology beyond our capacity. We very well could become our own executioner along with much of our fellow travelers.
Scientists understand the Earth’s oceans absorbed half of anthropogenic, or man-made CO2 since 1850. But research shows the introduction of massive amounts of CO2 into the seas alters water chemistry, which affects the life cycles of many marine organisms throughout the food chain.
When carbon dioxide dissolves in the ocean, carbonic acid forms. This leads to higher acidity, which inhibits shell growth in marine animals and causes reproductive disorders in some fish.
On the pH scale, which runs from 0 to 14, solutions with low numbers are considered acidic and those with higher numbers are basic. Seven is neutral. Over the past 300 million years, ocean pH measured “basic”, averaging 8.2. Today, it is around 8.1, a drop of 0.1 pH units, representing a 25-percent increase in acidity over the past two centuries.
During an overpopulation conference in Washington DC, I attended a lecture by Dr. Camilo Mora, professor of Geography at the University of Hawaii. He said, “When you look at the world ocean, there are few places that will be free of changes; most will suffer the simultaneous effects of warming, acidification, and reductions in oxygen and productivity.
“The consequences of these co-occurring changes are massive – everything from species survival, to abundance, to range size, to body size, to species richness, to ecosystem functioning are affected by changes in ocean biogeochemistry.”
Description: humpback whales
Humpback whales are among the many whales that feed on krill, which will be subject to multiple climate stressors. (Photo courtesy International Whaling Commission)
If we humans continue our 24/7 carbon footprint attack on Mother Nature, she will respond. For example: if the oceans become overly acidic, the krill that feeds endless numbers of creatures in our oceans may go extinct. If they die, the entire food chain dies.
It’s called “cascading extinctions”. As one creature in the chain dies off, everything that fed upon that creature dies off in a chain-reaction that cascades into massive extinction rates for other dependent creatures.
What do we face? Humans add 80 million of our kind annually, net gain. We add 1 billion every 12 years. We expect to increase from 7.2 billion to 10.1 billion within 36 years and continue to increase indefinitely. The United States expects to add 138 million within 36 years. That will increase our carbon footprint beyond measure.
Should we accept our fate and keep heading down the same road? Result: it won’t be pretty for our kids.
Solutions: world leaders must gather to speak about human population stabilization. We must address one child per woman families. Because if we don’t enact some methodical birth control measures quickly, we won’t enjoy a planet that can support us. In fact, this planet will respond with deadly force with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Frosty Wooldridge is a Population-Immigration-Environmental specialist: speaker at colleges, civic clubs, high schools and conferences. Facebook: Frosty Wooldridge. Facebook Adventure Page: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World. Www.HowToLiveALifeOfAdventure.com. www.frostywooldridge.com.