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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Too far in the future?

A friend and I have been "discussing" the environment on facebook the last couple days. He's a lawyer and likes to have the last word, so I decided to quit arguing since I know he'll never let me have the last word. But! That doesn't mean he's right, or even close to right. What really worried me about his posts was that he said the environment is okay, the empirical evidence that he has read doesn't make him worry. I'm not sure what he's reading. Everything I'm reading scares me to death, sometimes makes me want to hide under the covers cause I can't think of any way to fix it. Are some of us thinking too small or missing the big picture? As in, things here are great, my water comes out of the faucet when I turn the handle, the room lights up when I flip the switch, garbage isn't stacking up in my front yard, there isn't garbage in the river/lake/ocean that I swim in.......you get the idea. How can we ignore what is going on worldwide? It may not be in our backyard, but it definitely impacts us. It may not be as noticeable in our lifetime, but what about our children? Don't they deserve a world with freshwater, clean air, and no trash? People in the western United States are already fighting over water, are others in the US missing that? Do others understand what happens when they run out of water? It's got to come from somewhere, where is it going to come from? Coastal areas already have places that have had to abandoned their wells because of salt water intrusion. Where are they getting their water now? So much of what we do today depends on water. Electricity, lots of water; agriculture, even more water; manufacturing, lot of water; life in general, water........For all intents & purposes there is a finite amount of clean freshwater on the earth. The recharge needed to put water into aquifers takes too long to be considered renewable. Since water is being pulled out of aquifers faster than it is going in, soon those aquifers are going to be empty, where are they going to get their water? The "bread basket" of America depends on a large aquifer to water crop to feed millions of people; what happens to the food when the water is gone? We don't live in a bubble, what happens elsewhere impacts us and "our" environment. China is a long way away, but they are an emerging nation, using lots of electricity, which is created while burning coal. Guess where they get the coal, yeah, from here. So we dig in the ground and impact our environment so they can make stuff to send it back here. And boy do they have an air problem there, we see it, we agree, but it's over there, it doesn't impact us.....wrong. Air currents impact us, that stuff isn't staying there, it's going somewhere. Blowing out to sea. The increased crap in the ocean definitely has an impact on the pH of the ocean, the amount of mercury, which all impact us. Fish stocks are decreasing, coral reefs are dying, krill are dying, which will in turn impact whales, and those are just some of the things that come to mind. Like I said, we don't live in a bubble. And what about those that can no longer live on an island or the coast because the water has covered their home or the storms have gotten so bad they aren't safe? Where will they go? How will they get food? Some will come to the US, some will go to other large countries, either way it will strain the resources of the country even more. There are already environmental refugees around the world, they are even people in the US (Alaska) that have had to move due to impacts to their homes from climate change. It already impacts us. How do we get people to see? Without yelling "OPEN YOUR EYES!!!!!"? More people need to see or nothing will ever be fixed.  Great article in PLOS Biology about oceans and what is happening.