Sunday, November 25, 2007
ONE VOICE, DEAF EARS? THE IPCC
When the Tsunami devastated Southeast Asia and hundreds of thousands of lives were lost, the first cry that went out was, “Why was there no warning?” Now, we are faced with an environmental tsunami but the difference is we have a warning. According to the U.N. panel of scientists as reported by AP writer Arthur Max on November 17th, global warming is “unequivocal.” U.N. Secretary General Ban said, “The world’s scientists have spoken clearly and with one voice.”
What are the unequivocal changes that will occur regardless of actions? Here is the short list: A sea rise of 4-6 feet; water shortages for 75-250 million Africans; coastal and river flooding for major Asian cities; heat waves and water competition in North America; and the extinction of up to 70% of all plant and animal species. We are not looking at a distant time frame, many changes are expected by 2020 and that assumes no more unknown environmental factors emerge. We all know predictions as recently as a year ago had to be modified as the environment decided to react on its time plan, and not ours. Everything is happening faster than expected. Secretary Ban said, “Only urgent, global action will do.”
The IPCC has been bold in its warnings and leaves little room for doubt that we are in for some “interesting times.” Keeping in mind that almost nothing has been done by the largest nations to even address the issue, only the foolish would expect that the calamities would not be worse than predicted. When new diseases are added to the picture, aggravated by rising temperatures, water shortages and overcrowding, the scenarios take a turn for the worse.
Obviously, two things must happen; governments must act and, people must heed the warnings. Governments are not acting so that leaves the rest up to us. We have received an early warning, and like the tsunami, if we do not heed that warning, there is no one to blame but ourselves if lives are lost. There is no question that rather than flocking to coastal cities, people need to start thinking about relocating inland. This will reduce exposure to disease and the loss of life and property due to flooding. Just look at Bangladesh, is this the kind of life you want to live? Move to the country and start growing your own food. All one has to do is read my book called, RAPING LOUISIANA: A DIARY OF DECEIT and see how FEMA and governments are not only incapable of evacuating populations, they have no clue how to deal with the aftermath of situations like Hurricane Katrina.
People must begin to leave flood plain areas and areas prone to drought-it will only get worse. Pressure will increase on rural areas and these areas must start thinking now how they will accommodate an influx of population. Precious farms cannot be lost so some real planning is in order. Life as we know is changing and people have a choice, live or die. If you wait until governments order evacuations, it will be way too late.
The consuming public must begin to demand that new and sustainable sources of energy be released at reasonable prices. Reliance on oil serves no one but the oil companies. Current prices of oil is just another wake-up call that all need to heed. Your next vehicle purchase must be a hybrid at a minimum. The fuel will not be there or at least not at an affordable cost. The technology is out there for non-polluting vehicles and the consumer must demand that this technology be made available. All new construction that has even a hint of public financing must demand that alternative energy be incorporated into the design. The public must also demand, for the sake of our children, that rules be passed to reduce the billions of tons of pollutants added to the environment each year. No, is not an option.
Great care must also be spent in preserving our bio diversity. People just do not realize that the numbers being discussed in terms of extinctions will result in ecological collapse. It is not just about saving the polar bear or some exotic species, if the ecological systems collapse, our systems will collapse with them. We are all interconnected and most of the relationships are not even understood. But one thing is certain, lose the number of species discussed by the IPCC and life as we know will be altered forever.
The list of actions could go on but I think you get the point. We have been warned. Change will happen. We can make them changes for the better by altering the way we live and the way we do business. The alternative is to continue to be led like lambs to the slaughter down the road of environmental collapse. This is not science fiction, this is science fact. I can only hope that the “one voice” does not fall on deaf ears!