Tuesday, January 24, 2012

As plain as the nose on your face

That’s pretty obvious, my mother would say. “As plain as the nose on your face.” Having inherited my honker from my dad, that is, I’d have to say, pretty obvious. Other things are pretty obvious, too, yet people steadfastly don’t see it. Take climate change. Not theory. Not speculated. Not a maybe. It is. There is a preponderance of evidence out there and even without an Excel spreadsheet, the polar bears will tell you, this is real. The last 20 years have been the hottest in at least 400 years. Arctic ice is thawing so rapidly that in another 30 years, arctic summers will be completely ice free! Coral reefs, which are highly sensitive to slight rises in ocean temperatures, have had record die-offs. (1)

There are still some nuts out there who think that this is something akin to the earth’s menopausal hot flash and a natural phenomenon, but look at it this way. Modern society produces tons of atmospheric gases every day, ostensibly creating a planet-sized snuggy that traps in heat. Industrial and auto pollution is an all time high. Why? Because there is an astonishing number of us. Back around 1 BC there were around 300 million people (about the number just in the United States today)in the entire world. It took 2000 years to bump that to 1.6 billion, or about 5 times as many. Then it took only the last 100 years to multiply that another FOUR TIMES to a world population of over 6 billion. There has not been a single other factor or species impacting the earth as much as we are.

Denial is apparently what some people do best and that also applies to getting prepared for emergencies. Now, if you live in Southern California, you WILL experience an earthquake. There is no thermometer to stick in the ground and say, “Wow, the ground is really heating up for a good one,” but the numbers do point to something big. Statistically speaking, earthquakes have occurred along the San Andreas Fault every 150 years or so. The last one was 155 years ago, so we are “ripe” for something. Unlike climate change, we don’t see markers letting us know how close we are to a large seismic event, so preparing it is really hard to get excited about.

Just like substantial climate change, the big one is coming, so let’s do something today. As far as climate change, think more carefully about your impact on the world. Can you walk more than drive? Can you purchase things that require less manufacturing? Can you buy cars that are less polluting? Sure you can. So you can also get a tub for your earthquake supplies. You can put a gallon of water person per day in there and toss in some hardy granola bars. Add a large zip-type bag of toilet supplies and you are one giant step on your way.

So, please, think of yourself, your family, and, if it helps, the polar bears. Some conscientious effort on your part will help us all.

(1) Read a great Op-Ed piece from the LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-oreskes-judging-climate-change-20120122,0,6437230.story

No comments:

Post a Comment