Climate change is one of the most defining moments in human history.
Although the Earth has gone through a few previous mass extinctions because of climate change, modern humans have never experienced a mass extinction event. However, anthropologists and biologists insist the Earth is well into the next mass extinction.
Several factors enter into this current mass extinction event, not least of which has been human population explosion and increasing consumption of resources. More people mean more resources and more resources mean destruction of ecosystems and habitats. This, coupled with megatons of trash, including carbon emissions, and we see the entrainment of global catastrophe and mass extinction.
Most climate scientists, including top scientists at NASA, remind us constantly about the build-up of carbon in the atmosphere, the trash in the oceans, the effects of over-fishing, the pollution of land and water from deforestation and agri-chemicals, the adaption and extinction of plants and animals responding to rising global temperatures, the melting of glaciers on land and on the poles, and rising sea levels. Yet these warnings are nearly overwhelmed by the continuous broadcast of “news,” entertainment and sports, as if nothing extraordinary is happening and it’s business as usual.
From my little perch here in the rainforest, it seems as if the human race is skipping merrily toward its doom, unable or unwilling to believe the dangers.
But I believe it. I can see it right in front of me today. According to NASA’s satellite history, the Earth’s oceans have risen three inches in the last thirty years. I’ve lived next to the Pacific Ocean for thirty-five years, and although three inches doesn’t seem like much, I can see the difference. The high tide is now hitting places it never hit before. When I first moved here I planted several trees and plants along the beach, and for thirty years they’ve grown and flourished. But now they’re turning brown and dying from too much exposure to salty sea water.
The houses on our property are one or two feet above sea level. According to these scientists, even if all carbon emissions stopped tomorrow, the temperature of Earth will continue to rise, the glaciers will continue to melt and the seas will continue to rise – by as much as three to fifteen feet!
In the not-too-distant future, where I’m sitting now will be covered in water.
I’m doing what I can to minimize my personal effect on the environment. This is easy for me as a hermit in the rain forest. But there are eight billion other humans on this planet, and most don’t have the luxury of choosing a lifestyle.
My daydreams about the future are not very optimistic, but I harbor a tiny corner of hope inside my secret heart.