Everyone dreads these words: “It’s too late.”
Those words are dreadful when it comes to cancer diagnoses, blasted chances for plans and, last but not least, scientific warnings.
Someday, that winter vacation to Florida will become impossible unless you and the family want to go scuba diving in a place where Florida used to be.
Someday, Manhattan will be a mere memory.
Someday, people will be living crammed together on high plains and mountain slopes.
Someday, the border of the United States will be so different most of us wouldn’t recognize it on a world map.
Sadly, it’s the coming generations who will have to live (or try to live) with this rapidly altered world we left to them.
The latest news is that icy Antarctica is indeed melting so fast sea levels are bound to rise by as much as a foot in the next 100 years and will accelerate rapidly up to 10 feet after that. Coastal lowlands won’t just be flooded, they’ll disappear; they’ll be part of an ocean floor.
Two groups of scientists are about to publish papers on the crisis in Science and Geophysical Research Letters, according to the New York Times. This doomy news comes on the heels of a report released just two weeks ago that man-made climate change (global warming) is, in fact, occurring, with the average temperature having increased an average of about 1 degree in the past century.
Scientists think the abnormally rapid melting of the massive glacier sheets at Antarctica are caused by a combination of global warming, warmer ocean currents in that area and depletion of the ozone layer above that continent.
Science-deniers derive glee from blasting any talk of man-made climate change. It is, they claim, nothing but kooky nonsense cooked up by egg-head scientists and by liberals like Al Gore. So-called global warming, they insist, is nothing but part of the natural weather cycles of the Earth. They would rather drown in a quickly rising ocean than admit any climate problems are even remotely man-made.
Then there are the eternal optimists, those people who think even if climate change is caused by burning fossil fuels, we’ll be able to “fix” the problem with new technologies in time to avoid disaster. We might even be able to flee to a colonized Mars by that time. Heck, nothin’ to worry about.
Then there are the defeatists who say, “Oh, well, we’ve all got to come to an end sooner or later so why worry about it?”
Fortunately there are the realists who are trying to address the problem and to do something about it. They have to fight reactionary forces all the time, factions that are stubbornly – and often self-servingly – opposed to development and deployment of safe-energy alternatives like solar and wind power.
It will be difficult to initiate the changes required to slow this planet’s warming and pollution. China, for example, has become one giant power plant spewing out zillions of tons of carbon dioxide and pollution from oil- and coal-burning facilities. It’s going to be hard to stop such a destructive juggernaut. Europe has taken giant strides toward energy alternatives. The United States is becoming a leader in that regard, too. But everybody on the planet should do more now – not in some distant future. What could be most helpful is if all these scoffers, optimists and defeatists would someday soon agree there is a man-made problem and then join the realists in demanding solutions.