David Wallace – Wells, author of The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story of the Future, tells us a truth we must, by now, all understand. He says it is “…the end of normal” because ” we have already exited the state of environmental conditions that allowed the human animal to evolve in the first place…”
Another quote describing the cycle of Nature’s rage against us:
“A warming planet leads to melting Arctic ice, which means less sunlight reflected back to the sun and more absorbed by a planet warming faster still, which means an ocean less able to absorb atmospheric carbon and so a planet warming faster still. A warming planet will also melt Arctic permafrost, which contains 1.8 trillion tons of carbon, more than twice as much as is currently suspended in the earth’s atmosphere, and some of which, when it thaws and is released, may evaporate as methane, which is thirty-four times as powerful a greenhouse-gas warming blanket as carbon dioxide when judged on the timescale of a century; when judged on the timescale of two decades, it is eighty-six times as powerful. 80, 81 A hotter planet is, on net, bad for plant life, which means what is called “forest dieback”—the decline and retreat of jungle basins as big as countries and woods that sprawl for so many miles they used to contain whole folklores—which means a dramatic stripping-back of the planet’s natural ability to absorb carbon and turn it into oxygen, which means still hotter temperatures, which means more dieback, and so on. Higher temperatures means more forest fires means fewer trees means less carbon absorption, means more carbon in the atmosphere, means a hotter planet still—and so on.
A warmer planet means more water vapor in the atmosphere, and, water vapor being a greenhouse gas, this brings higher temperatures still—and so on. Warmer oceans can absorb less heat, which means more stays in the air, and contain less oxygen, which is doom for phytoplankton—which does for the ocean what plants do on land, eating carbon and producing oxygen—which leaves us with more carbon, which heats the planet further. And so on. These are the systems climate scientists call “feedbacks”; there are more. 82 Some work in the other direction, moderating climate change. But many more point toward an acceleration of warming, should we trigger them. And just how these complicated, countervailing systems will interact—what effects will be exaggerated and what undermined by feedbacks—is unknown, which pulls a dark cloud of uncertainty over any effort to plan ahead for the climate future. We know what a best-case outcome for climate change looks like, however unrealistic, because it quite closely resembles the world as we live on it today. But we have not yet begun to contemplate those cascades that may bring us to the infernal range of the bell curve.”
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Now we are face to face with an impasse. On the one hand, we insist we cannot manage our lives without a dependence on fossil fuels, yet knowing the industrial pollution has resulted in excessive greenhouse gas production; and on the other hand a global energy crisis is forcing us to reduce our usage of fossil fuels, which will cause many to die of cold this winter.
The First World may soon be reduced to a Third World existence. Yet still humanity will not pull together to form a coherent rescue plan for the planet. Instead, brutal wars are still on going, and those making excessive profits from their industries simply plan for growth. The age-old models of ruthless, selfish ‘winner takes all’ philosophy still prevails, and all that remains is a gasping planet, its wondrous beauty diminishing each day.
The list of links of homelessness caused by excessive and extraordinary natural events is endless. Disease, malnutrition, no clean drinking water, no land on which to grow food, no shelter from further weather events….and on and on.