The impact of human activity is changing Earth’s climate. Climate change deniers are comfortable sticking their heads in the sand hoping to wake up to a renewed planet. However, without immediate, focused, and sustained effort to reduce carbon levels from carbon dioxide and methane a renewed planet is just a dream.
Here are some statistics that should “rattle our cage” and cause us to rise up.
- Since 1980, Earth has experienced a 50-fold increase in the number of dangerous heat waves. Five of the warmest summers in Europe since 1500 have occurred in the last 18 years. The 1995 Chicago heat wave wave led to 739 heat-related deaths over a period of five days.
- In 2017, Hurricane Harvey dropped nearly a million gallons of water for every person is the state of Texas, flooding the city and surrounding areas.
- In 2017, California wildfires, nearly 9,000 of them, burned more than a million acres.
- In 2017, researchers estimated that a fire in Greenland burned around 9 square miles (2,345 hectares) of land that released about 7 tons of an aerosol called black carbon on the ice sheet preventing the ice from reflecting solar energy.
- In 2017, more than 1,000 people died in floods across South Asia. According to the United Nations, around 41 million people in Bangladesh, India and Nepal were impacted by flooding and landslides resulting from the monsoon rains.
- In 2017, the Thomas Fire in CA increased to 50,000 acres in one day and eventually burned 440 square miles forcing nearly 100,000 California residents from their homes.
- In 2018, after a significant heat wave across the globe, six hurricanes and tropical storms ravaged the planet. Typhoon Mangkhut hit Philippines and Hong Kong killing a 100 people and causing billions of dollars of damage. Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina killing 50 people and causing nearly 20 billion dollars of damage. Glacier National Park, which had upwards of 150 glaciers in 1850, has only 26 today.
- “Animal agriculture is the second largest contributor to human-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions after fossil fuels and is a leading cause of deforestation, water and air pollution and biodiversity loss (click here).”
These are only a small sampling of natural disasters that have overrun countries across the globe. No country is immune from the impact of global warming. We are in this together and will succeed or fail together.
The Earth is warming and we are doing little to change the equation that sets us on a sustainable path. This graphic shows how carbon levels have changed over the past 170 years and that the United States is the largest carbon polluter in the world. The New York Times reported,
America’s carbon dioxide emissions rose by 3.4 percent in 2018, the biggest increase in eight years, according to a preliminary estimate published Tuesday.
Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement was a huge mistake on our part. It was the only thing holding us accountable for being responsible stewards of the planet. In our next election, we have the opportunity to turn back the tide and once again become responsible guardians of our only home for future generations.