Thursday, December 3, 2009
No More White Sand Beaches
re: Copenhagen next week,
I have just sent the following to the CBC Radio programs: Q, and All Points West.
Current articles on Climate Change (CC) tend to focus on drought & floods and extinctions eg. polar bears, but these things are already with us and seem not to be moving people to action. Let's try a new focus.
What could we lose if CC is ignored?
The Maldives government has already pleaded its case to the United Nations, saying, "stop climate change or we will drown."
The Maldives are a swarm of small island atolls off the southern coast of India. Their average height above sea level is 6 feet. Every island is surrounded by beautiful white sand, just like the islands in the Caribbean and in the south Pacific. Focus on the fact that these are the places we all dream of being able to go on vacation. Miami Beach, Waikiki, Jamaica, Fiji, Seychelles, Tahiti.
It's a straight line from burning fossil fuels (which emit carbon gas wastes,) to global warming, to icecaps melting, to sea level rise, to the end of white sand beaches everywhere.
In short, if you want to keep your gas guzzler, the price is no more sandy beach vacations by the ocean.
Write your MP or Congressman now.
It's great to see all the discussion, and kudos to everybody who is taking action, even by recycling, reusing, reducing.
I saw Al Gore's movie and have been following the media reports for decades while I observe little happening. My "white sand beach pitch" is aimed at hitting different folks where they live. They may not care about Polar bears or penguins but if they suddenly couldn't have that dream vacation it might wake them up.
I am sufficiently self-inforned to know that Hummers, or "big cars" aren't the only problem. My pitch is to connect the dots for the half of the population who lack the vision & the facts to see the big picture. It took the Love Canal actually to burst into flames before their eyes before many people realized that industrial pollution was a threat to fresh water.
I add further points below for those interested. Those who aren't interested are by definition part of the problem.
I was skeptical about sea-level rise until I got the data on the thickness of the Greenland ice sheet [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland_ice_sheet](easily available)[/url] which, if melted, alone would account for sufficient sea level rise to swamp every white sand beach worldwide.
Average world temp. increases of 1 degree moves the Spring melt line further north by many degrees latitude, which in turn, [url=http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1071976.html]increases tundra melt and further release of CO2, methane & other GGs.[/url]
[url=http://www.pewclimate.org/arctic_qa.cfm#9]The melting of Arctic ice decreases albedo (reflectivity of sunlight) [/url]contributing to absorption of solar energy (starving Polar bears, killing zooplankton ( Beluga food).
The whole process accelerates and the problem grows like a snowball rolling downhill.
Yes, the global system has checks and balances and the pendulum will swing the other way, but it will take decades to reverse and the cost to mankind in the meantime is mindboggling.
We have seen droughts in Sudan starve 2 million people to death in the last decade or so. Suppose we do nothing and
China continues to build two new coal-fired power plants PER WEEK for the next 325 weeks.
India's econmy and population continues to grow and Indians demand cars and better technology.
technology growth = increased energy use
By 2050 UN says 9 Billion people, [i]give or take half a Billion[/i]
The death toll will be 2B - a thousand times the Sudan number,
in other words, 2 thousand million.
Sure, humanity will survive the catastrophe, in much smaller numbers, but what else will fare so well? Mass extinctions of large mammals is inevitable, elephants, polar bears, tigers, rhinos, - gone. The ones at the top of the food chain are most vulnerable for a variety of reasons.
Believe what you will, there is no scenario under climate change that is [i]better[/i] than what we have now.
Write the letter.