Sir David Attenborough, the most experienced environmentalist and caring naturalist on the planet opened the recent 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland last month with: “The collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”
Listening to “The Current” on CBC Radio I heard lifelong environmentalist Bill McKibben talk about his recent New Yorker Magazine article The End of Nature. As far back as 1988 world powers knew about the impending destruction of the earth’s environment by the massive amounts of carbon dioxide we were pumping into the atmosphere. Thirty years ago, the unchecked burning of fossil fuels for heat, electricity and transportation was known to be a treacherous and looming global problem.
In 1988, vowing to fight global warming with all the resources at his disposal, the late President George H.W. Bush said: “We will fight the greenhouse gas effect with the White House effect.” He didn’t of course, that was just hot air. But Bush and other world leaders knew that the planet was heating up and even then a carbon-based tax was talked about.
As far back as 1977 McKibbon’s grandfather worked for Exxon and made an iron-clad case to that oil giant’s top executives about the impending catastrophe of extreme climate change. They believed him and the science it was based on. They acted immediately by hiring their own scientists to provide false reports and erroneous studies in order to undermine the whole idea of climate change. The longer they could mislead world opinion, the longer they could profit from the sale of fossil fuels. And they hired the best befuddlers oil money could buy … tobacco industry health deniers!
They did such a good job of muddying the rising waters of global warming that even today 12% of North Americans believe the earth’s intense and unpredictable weather patterns are cyclical. An additional 12% say they just don’t know the cause.
Okay, so let’s say you’re in that 24% group, unconvinced that the world needs to take drastic measures to reduce the temperature of planet which every legitimate scientist in the world claims has a fever that will likely prove fatal. Instead look at some first-hand, eye-witness testimonials.
Look at Paradise, California so that … Wait! You can’t! That place is gone, burned to the ground by a wild fire so fast and so powerful, it was referred to as a “fire tornado.” Once a rustic, treed city of 27,000 people, Paradise is now a heap of ashes described as “apocalyptic.” That raging wall of wild flames destroyed 18,793 homes and buildings, killed 85 civilians, and left hundreds of residents still missing or homeless, Alberta’s Fort McMurray fire forced 88,000 people from their homes. These are irrefutable statistics supported by gruesome video evidence.
Not counting the devastation and flooding caused by Irma, Maria and Nate, Hurricane Harvey alone dumped 50 inches of rain on Texas and Louisiana in six days. That’s more than four feet of water falling from the sky totalling 27 trillion gallons. That’s one million gallons of rain water for every person who lives in the state of Texas! Make that 28.3 million people who wished they’d gone to bed on August 17, 2017 wearing life jackets. Not a myth but a flood of biblical proportions.
Almost every recent summer is hotter than the one before it. Weather stations near the Arctic are recording 900F temperatures. Europe is creeping up to an unheard of 490C record. In Quebec 70 people died in last summer’s heat wave, 65 in Japan.
Within a matter of months, France was hit by torrential rains, violent thunderstorms, heat waves and drought. In Holland there’s not enough rain water to counter balance the sea water on the other side of the dikes. In Sweden, almost overnight its’ highest peak Mount Kebnekaise, became its second-highest peak after a glacier meltdown. In Greenland an iceberg so huge is about to break up, it could create a tsunami.
Snow storms are routinely closing airports and wild fires are more frequent. Hurricanes are more powerful and destructive and oceans are drowning low-lying islands. All of this is happening far faster than the scientists predicted even a few years ago.
I’m guessing that 24% of the non-believers also cannot see the humanity and benefits of welcoming immigrants. Best U.N. scientific estimate has between 25 million and 1 billion migrants fleeing their uninhabitable homelands by 2050. They will seek higher and colder climates. How old will your kids be when the boats start running our shores?
At this point saving planet earth would take a massive war effort of national cut backs and personal sacrifice but the will to fight off our inevitable demise is simply not there. Neither is the leadership what with Trump reviving the coal industry and Trudeau building more pipelines.
Instead, with our civilization in the crosshairs we dither and deny, stall and rationalize. We are doing little more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic to make us more comfortable and distracted as we steam full speed ahead and into the abyss. But make no mistake about it, the house we call home is on fire and your grandkids are up in the attic.
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go to www.williamthomas.ca