To the editor:
There’s an unfortunately large portion of ostrich-necked Americans out there, blissfully clinging to their denial of the now-obvious realities about the climate change problem ravaging our world.
Most of these deniers wouldn’t think of reading any accredited scientific journal or essay by field experts such as Michael Mann and Wallace Broecker. They’re instead awaiting for anti-science TV and radio talk-meisters to use their own brains regarding the catastrophe happening before our eyes and coax fans to take a second look at the issue. Fat chance of that.
It’s always easier to surround oneself with media voices that agree, especially on the ignorance propagated by President Donald Trump and the GOP, than to stretch yourself a bit and pick up a Scientific American or a Discover.
Most of us remember the vast coverage given 20 or so years ago to the plight of the polar bears in Canada and toward the Arctic Circle. Lots of articles and TV shows delivered the burgeoning facts about the incredible shrinking icebergs that were robbing the bears and other mammal and bird species of any vestige of land necessary for survival. Of course, “global warming,” the more common name for the phenomenon then, had already been written about by other scientists around the world years before the polar bear story entered our culture.
Globally the results of our inaction (especially since Trump pleased his adoring flock by pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord) have been devastating. The Great Barrier Reef is nearly 60% bleached out and 80% dead, as are large amounts of other coral growths in our oceans.
Our planet’s overall temperature is hovering about 1.5 degrees Celsius, above pre-industrial levels, with 2 degrees being the level that would bring about the deaths of the aforementioned reefs, as well as the mass extinction of thousands of fish species, many already in danger due to overfishing.
Much of Greenland’s ice has melted, as have millions of acres of the former icebergs in the northern and southern hemispheres. This includes the brand-new shape that Antarctica’s edges have devolved into. All contribute to a rise in sea level.
These deniers are also the ones ignoring the twice-the-size-of-Texas plastic island off California, which keeps getting bigger, although some of our state governments are thankfully making an effort to combat this with single-use plastic bag laws. More than a few people decry the “inconvenience,” doubtlessly because the plastic shards ingested by fish and marine mammals aren’t piling up on their property.
The greenhouse effect can, and is, easily demonstrated by schoolchildren with a glass or plastic terrarium. Any adult with a soupcon of common sense should be able to comprehend the havoc wreaked in our atmosphere from fumes of fossil fuels, since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in England back in the late 18th century. Just comparing the world in the pre-Revolution, with its minuscule level of air contaminants created by man, with the present pollution from car emissions, coal factories and the like.
This is just another reason why Trump’s ugly rollback of laws enacted under the administrations of former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton is having a devastating effect on an already deteriorating atmosphere. It will only be exacerbated unless Trump is defeated next year and these safeguards are reinstituted.
Finally, if those stubborn knowledge-renouncers don’t care about themselves and the state of Earth during their (and my) life, maybe a little time spent thinking about the youth of the world, including their own children, is in order. They, not us, will reap the most cataclysmic effects of America’s current inaction.
One wonders how much they even think about what should be an important topic for all of us. And it definitely should spur us on for a 2020 replacement of the current inhabitant of the White House.
William F. Klessens