Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Just the Tip of the Iceberg

The Los Angeles Times just published an article that is, on one hand, not surprising, yet alarming on the other.  Entitled “Earth may be near tipping point” by Times writer Bettina Boxall, the article warns inhabitants of Planet Earth that things are rapidly going south.  While some nay-sayers have staunchly decried “global warming” as something cooked up by the scientific community to drum up research dollars (yes, I have heard that!), we simply cannot continue our Grasshopper attitude and sing away while the earth rapidly reaches homogeneity – and the end of life as we know it.

The signs are here.  The original paper, published in the prestigious journal Nature last week, has a laundry list of them that even the non-scientists can see:  Documented rising temperatures, increase in severe weather, ocean temperatures rising (causing a change in pH and salinity), human population booming.  It took a couple million years for the earth’s human population to reach one billion in 1804 and took 125 years to double by 1927.  We reached three billion in 1960, then doubled to 6 billion in only 40 years.  It was a mere 10 years before another billion came along, and, at this rate, we will continue to add another billion to our total every dozen years or so.

Human impact is undeniable.  Just look around your own neighborhood.  Do you see more houses and less parks and open space?  Do you read about more air and water pollution?  Do you see more cars on the road?  Do you have more extreme heat or cold or severe storms?  Do you experience more power outages?  Of course you do.  We all do. 

Far away more is happening. The ocean’s warming is causing the polar ice caps to melt. We’ve all seen those heart-breaking scenes of polar bears losing their breeding grounds and their numbers dwindle, but what most people don’t realize is that the caps don’t just melt like one big ice cube.  It fractures and breaks off in big chunks.  The increased presence of ice bergs is becoming a really big issue.  More and larger chunks are floating in places and at times that have never been documented before.  Fishing, shipping and cruising industries have all started to feel the effect.

You’ve heard the phrase: Think Globally, Act Locally, so start now because we can see the tip of this iceberg.  We KNOW that what lies below can be huge and hold dangerous consequences.  Realizing this global crisis, start acting locally.  Contact local businesses about generating less waste and using less electricity.  Really, do restaurants need to be 60 degrees inside?  Tell companies to stop wasting space and resources on large and elaborate packaging And don’t buy stuff that does come that way.  Support public transportation and fuel efficiency.

Emergency Preparedness is obviously my work’s focus, but this is all related.  Preparing for future emergencies is really the same as preparing for life in general.  What you do today can affect how well you move into the future.  We just need to look out for the ice bergs.


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