|Lay Waste the Sky as Well as the Earth: True Tales of Climate Change|
|Written by Kai Park, Four Green Steps|
|Friday, 05 October 2012 00:00|
Written by Kai Park, Four Green Steps
“Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.” - Henry David Thoreau
From as early as the early 1800’s, humans were already beginning to ignore their responsibility to the earth. Only until we began to see the consequences of our action, did we start to take action. Even then, much of the population still choose to ignore the warning signs, while some fully understand the seriousness of the problem, but just fail to act. With the ice caps melting, climate change becoming more and more of a problem, and many other factors, we seem to be heading into turmoil if nothing is done. Due to our use of fossil fuels and green house gas emission, we have successfully been able to prove Thoreau wrong, and “lay waste the sky”, almost as bad as we did to the earth.
However, a large problem with why people fail to understand the seriousness of the issue may be because they are unaware if the difference between the initial state of the world, and its current state, causing them to believe the world was less always in a similar state. But that is not the case.
Coming Up Roses?
Recent observations made at the University of Boston discovered some of Thoreau’s unpublished works, their blooming time in Concord Massachusetts. They found that on average, flowers are now blooming 10 days earlier than 150 years ago, with the average temperature now being around 2.4 C higher than before. 10 days and 2.4 C might not sound like too much, but its effect on plant life is detrimental. Thoreau also recorded the types of species of flowers in Concord, identifying 21 different species of orchids growing in the wild. It is now possible to find only six. Over all, scientists have reported 27% of the plant species recorded by Thoreau are now extinct, and 36% are now considered rare. Roughly fewer than 50% of the plants adapted successfully.
Nobody Likes Change...
The changes in climate have not only affected plant life, but also many species as well. On a global scale, the earth’s temperature has risen on average 0.8 C within the last century. Again the difference in temperature may only like alight change, its effect on the worlds is anything but small. In 2011, a reported 45% of polar bear cubs had drowned, due to the increased distances they are now required to swim, due to the melting of the ice caps.
The examples mentioned above are only a very small fraction of the impacts of global warming on the earth. But even though the changes may only sound small, their impact is devastating. As the earth continues to weep for help, our choices and decision regarding global warming become increasingly more important. The fight against climate change rests not with the government but the individual. Although we are not obliged by law to do our part, what good are we when the earth we live on is dead?
Image courtesy of Creative Commons.
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