Within the Lifetime of a Child Born Today

Update Thursday, January 5, 2006 at 9:25 PM. Dalam topik Environment
In addition to the near TWO TRILLION dollars of our children's money we've spent on our faulty foray into Iraq, here's another doozy in their dowry and this one will be a whole lot more challenging, and maybe even impossible to pay back. The longer we sit idle, shunning conservation and obstructing policies to mitigate our CO2 output, the more impossible payback becomes. As we lollygag on seeking safe alternatives to our grossly subsidized fossil fuel consumption, we are leaving our kids a legacy that threatens their safety and security. It's also worth pointing out that we're not exactly the only creatures on this spaceship. We're just the ones with the keys.
Baby Bear

So much news–so little time. Even less time than you might think and this isn't wild-eyed libralism as you'll see. It is my sincere hope that the abundance of global warming articles is indicative of growing international awareness. Many experts feel that we have a twenty year opportunity to do something about our changing climate — or more accurately stated — to slow and-or undo the damage we've done. If it is to be, it will require combined forces of the grassroots, industry and government with vim and vigor that would rival the enthusiasm and national commitment behind The Apollo Project.

Through the miracle of the internet, none of us can be content simply looking out our window and saying, "Yep. Everything's okay." It's not.

Stories about insurance companies in full-fledged freakout mode over mounting costs of post-storm cleanups represent important financial harbingers. But beyond the financial toll, it's stories like this one and excerpted here:

WASHINGTON - Alarmed by an accelerating loss of ice in the Arctic Ocean, scientists are striving to understand why the speedup is happening and what it means for humankind.

If present trends continue, as seems likely, the sea surrounding the North Pole will be completely free of ice in the summertime within the lifetime of a child born today. The loss could point the way to radical changes in the Earth's climate and weather systems.

Some researchers, such as Ron Lindsay, an Arctic scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle, fear that the polar region already may have passed a "tipping point" from which it can't recover in the foreseeable future.

and this one from MSNBC:

Global warming over the next half-century could put more than a million species of plants and animals on the road to extinction, according to an international study released Wednesday.

"A quarter of all species of plants and land animals, or more than a million in all, could be driven to extinction," said Chris Thomas, professor of Conservation Biology at England's University of Leeds.

Thomas, lead author of the study published in the science journal Nature, said emissions from cars and factories could push temperatures up to levels not seen for 1 million to 30 million years by the end of the century, threatening many habitats.

that stand to transform the most apathetic and uninvolved into agents of poltical change. Whether it's the weather or the double-Texas sized loss of Arctic Ice Shelf animated in this link from NASA, or the frogs disappearing because of global warming as reported in the NYTimes today, at some point, something will grab everyone. Baltimore Orioles? nope. Not for long. Monterey starfish? gone. Grasping what we appear to have done is so much tougher than denial, especially as we enjoy a pleasant bout of near sixty degree weather in Boston, in mid-January. This, in a state where awareness is high and our (R.) Governor, Mitt Romney, presidential hopeful, has just pulled Massachusetts out of a (formerly) nine-state regional greenhouse gas pact. The window of opportunity is closing fast and denial is a luxury we can no longer afford.

And oh, back to those polar bears. It's a lovely day in the Arctic too, I'm sure, as long as you're not a polar bear! According to this article from The Wall Street Journal, due to ice melt, polar bears are drowning–literally swimming to death–as they search for a surface on which to land.
Polar Bear Swimming

In closing, I want to bring you back to the theme of my opening paragraph by suggesting that you consider the discusson in this excellent paper, "The Costs of the Iraq War; An Appraisal three years after the Beginning of the Conflict" by Linda Bilmes from the Kennedy School of Government and Joseph Stiglitz, from Columbia University. If you're pressed for time, scroll down to the conclusions beyond footnote #81 for a very reasoned summary of the opportunities lost when we charged into Iraq with our kids' future. In my mind, the most counterproductive waste of resources related to Iraq is that TWO TRILLION DOLLARS could have gone even all of the way towards SOLVING our energy price and supply woes–not to mention our many pollution and health(care) problems from burning fossil fuels. Meaningful incubation and promotion of alternative technologies and new industries would bring us a long way from our current policy of scraping, drilling and burning everything we can get our hands on and would also help free us from the many security tradeoffs related to our reliance on foreign oil. Instead we continue to subsidize Big Energy with billions to maintain the status quo against our nation's best interest. By the time everyone realizes the senselessness and magnitude of these policy blunders it may be too late to have any real affect on our climate and we will instead be relegated to merely reacting to natural forces that will be wildly out of our control.

This is madness. All this warming's clearly boiled our brains.

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