climatic disasters

With America on the red alert (or should I say green?) for ways to increase energy efficiency and lower carbon footprints, let’s take a moment to sit back and remember from whence we’ve come. It was only recently that the good ol’ land of the free finally jumped on the global bandwagon to take climate change seriously, guided by Gore’s hugely successful An Inconvenient Truth , a flurry of various go-green advertising campaigns, and fueled by staggering gas prices. The last of which, in particular, has forced Americans to finally face the reality that our world is going to pot unless we take some serious action. Yes, there’s nothing more effective for waking Americans up from environmental inertia than hitting ‘em where it hurts most: in the pocketbooks.

As one academic has so aptly put it: “[Americans are] used to thinking about climate change as happening in the future to someone else.” Hey – better late than never, eh?

After all, what country or race will be saved when the the Apocalypse comes? Let me reassure you, when the biblical Armageddon causes our planet to deviate from its orbit, there won’t be our magic Bruce Willis to save our blue planet!

The narrow escape by Hurricane Gustav reminds us of another, not so lucky brush with Mother Nature: it’s been three years since Hurricane Katrina took the Southeast coast by surprise as the strongest, deadliest, and costliest natural catastrophe in US history. What conclusions can we draw a disaster that took more than 1500 lives? Can we dismiss it as just a chance or sporadic occurrence or a harbinger of what lies ahead? Logic would tend to lean towards the latter explanation.

Unpredictable climate patterns mock the earth population from dearest sweet Mississippi, to France, China… Everybody will face the repercussions of years of trashing the layers of the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Haven’t coastal flooding, droughts, and unpredictable storms become part of the daily grind? After opening the Pandora box of all evils, will Hope be the only gift remaining? It might be easier (certainly more comforting) for me bury my head the sand, but realism continues rear its ugly, persistent head, and the evidence is mounting:

These are the facts: polar bears found dead floating in the Beaufort Aea, polar ice cap retreating inexorably over 160 miles north of the Northern coast of Alaska (with the total amount of sea ice reduced by 250 million acres), and arctic temperatures rising. And on a sidenote, add this to your list of reasons not to vote for McCain this fall: the recent addition of polar bears to the threatened species list was contested by Alaskan Governor Palin, amid concerns that federal protection would “”threaten the viable, productive and environmentally responsible oil and gas industry along Alaska’s North Slope.”

And with arctic habitats rapidly decimating, species face forced migration or extinction. Outbreaks of diseases begin. Thus far, it has only touched the animal and vegetable realm, but we mustn’t forget that we are at the end of that food chain.

Mother Nature sure does have a funny way of drawing parallels, doesn’t it?

Here’s an image of flooded New Orleans, post Hurricane Katrina:

And check out this disturbing article about polar bears, traditionally strong swimmers, drowning from the exhaustion of having to swim unprecedented lengths to find far-reaching patches of ice from which they can hunt for food.

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