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Climate Change

Someday we may look back at the superstorm known as Sandy with immense gratitude. Yeah, she took the boardwalks at Rockaway, Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore; most East Coast beach communities have been forever altered; and some people’s lives took a severe blow. However, because of all this, and the rest of Sandy’s antics, people are finally talking about climate change as a serious issue.

Nothing I have to say on this blog or anywhere else and nothing on any other blog matters the teensiest bit if we end up without Planet Earth, an outcome that might occur if we don’t act asap. Therefore I direct my readers to a slide show and article on Huffington Post that, in 53 photos with explanations, identifies the losses we’re going to face in the near future if we continue on the same path. It’s scary–but it’s important. It’s of the awful/wonderful genre that will, hopefully, light a fire under a few more asses. Click. Read. Act.



Apocalypse Now: Heat, Floods, Mudslides, and more

Wildfires: Deaths in Moscow have doubled to an average of 700 people a day as the Russia capital is engulfed by poisonous smog from wildfires caused by a sweltering heat wave.

Floods in Europe: Days of flooding have killed at least 11 people in central Europe and damaged hundreds of homes and businesses across Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Floods in Pakistan: Millions suffer floods’ havoc, U.N. officials say. The number of people suffering….now exceeds 13 million, more than the combined total of…the 2004 tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Mudslides in China: 1100 are missing as floods, landslides and misery rise. …hundreds died from landslides caused by heavy rain…Flooding in China has killed more than 1100 people this year…across 28 provinces and regions.

Flash Floods in Kashmir: The death toll…in the remote desert mountainsides in Indian-controlled Kashmir rose to 140…police said Monday.

Floods in North Korea: Some 10,000 people were sheltering in public buildings in the border city of Sinuju…due to flooding, the Red Cross said Monday.

All these headlines and paragraphs are from the first two pages of today’s San Francisco Chronicle. Yes, that’s right: the first two pages! ( in the print version; this links to their website so you might have to hunt.) I’m almost afraid to turn another page. When I read all this I thought, How can anyone deny a connection? I also wondered why my radio, tuned to NPR, wasn’t sending out the news of apocolypse now.

I switched to KPFA, and much to my relief, Amy Goodman and guests on Democracy Now were talking about the weather. (The Weather Channel is probably the most relevant tv news of the times.) One guest said straight out, This is the beginning. Another talked about the dismal failure of the Copenhagen Conference, and the refusal of the United States and other countries to take the necessary steps to stop this rush to planetary destruction.

I’ve said this before: Doris Lessing’s book, The Adventures of Mara and Dann, envisions a world that looks very much like what we’re seeing right now and what we can surely imagine coming down the pike.

It’s Happening NOW: Climate Action Report

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The 5th Climate Action Report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is out, and, as might have been expected, the news ain’t good. I read one chapter:  Vulnerability Assessment, Climate Change Impacts, and Adaptation Measures – I wasn’t about to plow through the entire thing, and I figured this was probably the gist of it. A few grisly highlights:

• a rise in sea level of as much as four feet is ancicipated within 50–100 years.

• Portions of NYC will experience a marked increase in flooding frequency, affecting the entire transportation infrastructure, including tunnels, subways, and airports.

• By the middle of this century, Red Ozone Alert days (when the air is unhealthy for everyone) will increase by 68 percent.

• Heat is already the leading cause of U.S. weather-related deaths, with more than 3,400 deaths reported between 1999 and 2003 from excessive heat; these are expected to increase.

What the report doesn’t say, or at least this chapter doesn’t, is that changes have already happened and are happening NOW. The sea is more acidic and rising, the glaciers are melting, and the floods are flooding. We see this going on every day; it’s no big secret. The report predicts that one of the biggest effects of all this is going to be populations in transit: every time a place floods, the people who lived there will have to head for higher ground. Can you picture it? I can, because I’ve read Doris Lessing’s book Mara and Dann.

I’ve mentioned this book several times on my blog; well, that’s what’s going on in it: everyone’s on the move. Entire populations of former cities trudge through flooded areas, or muddy swamps, seeking hospitable land. They pass like ships in the night, and, of course, steal food and such from one another.

It’s a nightmarish future Lessing portrays, and it’s already happening, Earthlings. Ah, but the sky is blue today, the air is fine, let’s go for a ride in the car and spew.

As we all know,  “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” This increase in floods, storms, heat waves in winter and cold snaps in summer – none of these occurred when I was a kid, or even two decades ago.

Meanwhile, I’ve been reading Deer Hunting With Jesus, in which journalist Joe Bageant, a kind of Michael Moore character who translates the lives and philosophy of his small-town neighbors for the rest of us to understand, says the reason the Born Again crowd opposes spending money to prevent environmental disasters is that they truly believe we’re living through the End of Days, and soon we won’t need this planet. They’re expecting to be saved, they call the experience The Rapture, so eat and drink what you like and to hell with our bodies and Mother Earth, Halleluliah I’m a –waitin’ for Jesus!

Happy Earth Day.

Environmental Photos

There’s a whole slew of slide shows posted at MSNBC, plus a bunch of interactive media posts, related to climate change/control, everything from the melting icecaps to China’s trash problem to open coal pits in parts of India. Fantastic stuff. Check it out!

Pretty freaking dramatic, huh? Some of the slides are more fun…

It’s all so mesmerizing, I can’t stop looking at them…two hours now and counting!