|Glacier Melt. Photo by Paul Sounders|
Everything he spoke about I have heard before. Environmental science, global warming. This is what I teach, what I read about, what I think about as I go to bed at night. But, Bill's recent presentation really hit home and nearly brought me to tears. This is real. This is our reality. Not our future. The here and now. This mess that we are handing to our children.... this is what they have to deal with over their lifetimes-- rising temperatures, melting glaciers and diminishing water supplies, the disappearance of fish, animals and crops, floods and fires, droughts and hurricanes. This is our new planet, the warm one that we have created. And this is what we are giving to our children. We will surely be dealing with many effects of climate change throughout our lives, but our children and our grandchildren? Well, things will likely be pretty different by then..... and that scares me.
Here is a video that Bill showed during his lecture last week. It shows methane under the snow pack that is being released due to melting permafrost (permanently frozen areas of ground.... well, they used to be permanently frozen, but not any longer!). The worst part is... that methane that is being released? It also is a greenhouse gas, 25 times stronger than CO2. So, warming our planet and melting the permafrost is leading to more warming, which will melt more permafrost and cause even more warming. It's called a positive feedback loop, and it could cause global warming to reach a point where things spiral out of control:
Anyways, I don't want to seem like a total pessimist. Am I scared for the well being of my children? Yes. But, I also think that there are a lot of very smart folks out there and if we put our minds together, and are willing to make some changes, I think things can turn out OK. But, we need to act fast. Fast as in about 20 years ago... but the sooner the better. We need to lose our polluting sources of energy and switch to renewable energy. We need to make the small changes in our lives that can add up to big differences. We need to be more aware and spread the word. Our children deserve it.
For more information, check out Al Gore's webpage The Climate Reality Project. You can sign up to get updates, request a climate presentation in your area, and take action. Pin It Now!