Turning 70 last Thursday was a sobering experience.
- A morning call from my brother in Australia brought us worries about his health along with news about Melbourne’s National Day of Mourning for those who died, and whose communities were obliterated, in Victoria’s recent fires.
- Early evening we attended a talk entitled “What’s Happening to the Arctic? A Thinking Person’s Guide to the Future” by Neil Hamilton, director of the World Wildlife Fund’s International Arctic Program. “What’s happening in the Arctic is deeply profound,” he told us. “It’s going to affect all of our lives.” And, we only have 3-4 years to change course or it will be too late.
Today we read about words spoken to a select group of international leaders whose flight to Antarctica yesterday to study climate change was delayed because of high winds. While on hold at their Cape Town hotel, the group shared insights over coffee and wine about the future of the planet. “If we don’t deal with decisively, what we’re talking about is extended world war,” said Britain’s The effects of climate change carry the potential for mass migrations which will inevitably set off mass conflict.
All the evidence suggests the Earth’s climate is changing much faster than previously thought. Our collective human actions are dangerously close to triggering uncontrollable feedback loops which, once accelerating, will likely be beyond our capacity to stop.
2009 is the Year of the Climate and we’ll read much about it. Plan now for Earth Hour on March 28, at 8.30 pm, when hundreds of millions of people around the globe will switch off their lights for one hour to show their care for the planet and individual commitment to personal action.
Courtesy of the environmental journalism website, Grist, posted here are some handy links to bookmark while watching the climate year unfold.
- RealClimate – a climate blog by climate scientists
- Climate Progress – an insider’s view of climate science, politics, and solutions.
- DeSmogBlog – clears the PR pollution that clouds climate science.
- Solve Climate – a daily digest of climate news and opinion.
To quote Nobel Laureate Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change: “What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is a defining moment.”
Meanwhile, our new President prepares to unveil a budget that (according to the Washington Post) seeks to cut the federal deficit in half over the next four years, primarily by raising taxes on business and the wealthy and by slashing spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It feels like the ship of state is changing course…. Hopefully, not too late……