Monday, April 03, 2006

Take a long last look

Last week I read a disturbing story in the Philadelphia Inquirer telling of a huge die-off of coral reefs in the Caribbean. As much as 30% has died, some reefs as old as 800 years. Because coral only grows the thickness of a dime in a year, it would take centuries to replace even part of what's gone—if what's causing the coral to die could be stopped. Why is the coral dying? The temperature of the sea has heated up a few degrees.

This weekend I picked up a copy of Time magazine. The cover story was about the fact that global warming is no longer seen as a controversial theory, and what's worse, its effects are hitting us faster than anyone anticipated. The earth has reached a tipping point, according to Time, and now glaciers are melting fast, polar bears are drowning as ice floes break up, sea levels are rising, and hurricanes like Katrina are happening more frequently.

This morning I went online and saw stories about how intense thunderstorms and winds tore through several Midwestern states yesterday, demolishing a town in Tennessee, and sending glass from a high-rise building into the streets of Indianapolis while the Final Four tournament was taking place there. Do you suppose there's a connection to global warming?

For a long time we've been told—but few believed—that the Earth is a fragile ecosystem. Big energy companies spent a lot of money to dismiss warnings about global warming as the rantings of quacks. Pro-business government leaders blew off the Kyoto treaty and haven't done a thing to try and wean our country's dependence on oil. The complacency is a form of denial that makes the denial about Iraq seem like small potatoes.

What kind of a world will we leave our children?



At 6:28 PM, Anonymous Chris Lehmann said...

This is the stuff that does scare the hell out of me as well. The damage we've done in the last 100 years is on its way to irrepairable, and yet our government refuses to make industry take even the smallest steps toward conservation.



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