It is a beautiful summer day. Those who can are holidaying near the sea. The waves break gently on the shore, and children play in the shallows. In the hinterland smoke fills the air and the ground is on fire. This is the landscape of my country. As the decade ends we have had five temperature breaking days this month.
Some say this is climate change. Others point to former records set in 1896. At that time hundreds of people died in the extreme heat. Then no one talked of global warming and that is one reason given for their skepticism today. The climate always changes.
The weather bureau agrees many parts of the country did record extraordinary temperatures but this early summer is hotter. They argue the gauges were not uniform until recently. In times past thermometers were measured where they sat. Some might well have been read in direct sunlight and those would indeed be wrong. Why, in the late 1950s we had a week of days over 37 degrees. Or so the daily papers recorded. It was hot but it was hot when we expected it to be hot. This year it is hot earlier than expected.
The fact is wherever you live- the climate in your corner of the globe is not as you expect. It is drier. It is hotter, it is colder. Colder? Yes colder., and it is wetter. Extremes of weather is what we have been told to expect for thirty years. Storms will be fiercer. Droughts will be longer. In a world changing because of human living patterns.
This seems to agree with what I learned in my course in sustainability and am reading in the press. No corner of the globe seem immune. Sea ice has melted in the Arctic. In Antartica great slabs of permanent ice have broken free of the continent. Permafrost is melting and ruining road works in North America. Floods have caused havoc across the globe. Venice is used to a high water event once a year. Now it is happening more frequently. Just as frequently sea erosion is washing away once stable shorelines.
It is creatures that seem to be the worst effected at this point. Animals are becoming extinct before their life patterns are reasonably understood. You might care to add to the list of common creatures that seem to be paying the price of much needed human intervention. I can think of bees, frogs, birds, that seem to be threatened with destruction. The thing is miniature creatures seem to suffer without causing alarm at first. It is only when crops are not germinating as they should we sit up and notice.
We do notice. We notice when food costs soar. We notice when the dishes we like need ingredients in short supply. We notice when whole nations cannot grow their basic foods and the die in terrible famines, or the flee their homelands as refugees. We notice but we do not fight for anything until it is at our door.
What can we do? Most of us prefer to do nothing. Some of us are concerned enough to chain themselves, in protest, to immovable objects. Some understand and they try to change government policies. Recently 190 nations met in Madrid to discuss the subject but like Paris and Kyoto nothing was decided.
In the past countries did act promptly to fix the ozone over the Antartica. http://theconversation.com/the-ozone-hole-is-both-an-environmental-success-story-and-an-enduring-global-threat-100524
The countries worked quickly to reset the refrigeration hydrocarbon gasses that caused the rapid damage. This time in almost every country there a self interest groups of fossil fuel influence holding back the needs of their constituents. You are one. Where do you sit? My reason for writing is a self interest one. I want my grandchild to understand I do not agree with the policies of my government that put the interests of today’s big business before the lives of populations yet to be born. I will go further. I think it is irresponsible not to act on the best scientific advice available to this generation.
I read and I reread what I have written and every time I post. I miss the most obvious errors for this I apologise.
The illustration is from The Guardian
Thank you again for reading my post.
I live on the fire ravaged coast of NSW. There is no doubt in my mind that the climate is changeing, my question is, is it part of the evolution of our planet, or have humans seriously hastened it’s arrival. There is a lot of twoing and froing, but the truth is in there somewhere. I have serious doubts about the ability of humankind to give up their extravagant and wasteful ways of living now, or at any time soon.
I feel for anyone living through smokey weeks like you have had to. The evidence of global warming was more obvious in my youth because every tin pot factory had coal fired furnaces and we could see the smoke. Unfortunately just because we cannot see emissions like we once did those today are trapped in the same atmosphere. We are living with the cumulative buildup. Thanks for your comments they are greatly appreciated.
Yes, Cassandra. You echo my sentiments exactly. What do we do when the multinationals own all the seeds in the world? It angers me greatly that food companies are not required to include which of their ingredients are GMO’s
Soy beans are a case in point, as over 80% of soybean crops worldwide (see Wikipedea.org) are genetically modified. Soy lecithin is incorporated into many processed foods such as ice cream, potato chips, pasta and bread..
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You are right about everything and if you can see it, the great wonderfully intelligent minds who govern us poor ignorant plebs also see it. I wish you weren’t Cassandra, but I fear you are.
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