Climate Change

By admin

1) WHAT DOES IT MEAN?  When summer arrives too late, and the water reserves are at 12%, there’s something environmentally amiss. But when the oceans rise by 40 feet across the globe, or ice covers the northern hemisphere, or the rains dry up forever – then the climate has well and truly changed.  By then, it’s too late to give Mother Nature a helping hand.  Wherever you happen to live right now, an apocalyptic climate change can transform the environment into something totally unfamiliar.  Today we are already faced with increased storms, higher air and sea temperatures, melting icecaps, dying ecosystems and more.  But if the end of the world as we know it comes in the form of climate change, then we’re talking about tropics transformed into deserts, mountains drowned by floods, storms the size of continents, a new ice age and more.

Most of us are aware of the ice ages which have affected the Earth.  We are not always aware, however, of the vast and devastating difference between an ice age and our modern climate.  We offer a brief example.  In 1977, and more recently in 2007, two magnificently preserved woolly mammoth calves were discovered in Siberia.  The tissue of both carcasses was so well preserved that milk from the mother of the 2007 calf was still present in its offspring’s stomach, and food remained in the mouth of the 1977 specimen.  The trunk and even the eyes of the 2007 mammoth were preserved, after 40,000 years in the ice.  Certain blood vessels in both animals were also intact, which has serious implications.  Water expands during the process of freezing, and consequently so does blood, which is mostly water.  This causes a human or animal’s blood vessels to burst, since the walls of the vessels have not frozen solid before the blood expands too far to be contained.  For the mammoths’ blood vessels to be intact, therefore, the conditions which froze their bodies must have been almost unbelievably cold, and extremely rapid to onset.  Parts of their bodies seem to have frozen solid in the blink of an eye, thus keeping them “snap frozen” before internal damage could occur from expanding water.  There are several theories on how these and numerous other mammoths have been found so well preserved, but one inescapable truth is that 40,000 years ago, nature herself was capable of near-cryogenic freezing.  Not on mountain tops or polar regions, but on level ground.  If modern humans were faced with such frigid conditions, the vast majority would be unable to adjust in time to survive.

2) WHAT ARE THE THREATS?  Not all animal life is as oblivious to its surroundings as human beings.  When their environment becomes unsuitable, animals capable of migration, such as primates, move to nearby areas to survive – for as long as they can.  Creatures unable to leave their habitat, such as those around coral reefs, die with their homes.  This displacement of animal and plant life is one of the most obvious features of climate change.  It will make hunting and fishing in a post-apocalyptic world extremely problematic.  In some regions, an entirely new ecosystem will have to be studied, understood and adapted to.  Such displacement is not an isolated phenomenon, but is part of a chain of environmental collapses which includes plants, animals and weather.

As the name climate change suggests, the weather is a fundamental problem in this scenario.  Some current weather crises facing humanity because of climate change are desertification, global rises in sea level, and an increased severity of storms.  When an apocalyptic climate change gets into full swing, these issues will be not only magnified but joined by other weather metamorphoses, including, perhaps, a new ice age.  If an ice age does occur, we will be faced with the dual questions of, “Where on the planet can we safely call a home?” and “How will we fit 7 billion people into that space?”

Flooding on a global scale is directly tied to the crisis of global warming.  The more that the polar icecaps are degraded by rising sea and air temperatures, the faster we approach a catastrophic rise in sea levels worldwide.  Some might scoff and say that rising sea levels do not strike with the strength of storms or shatter cities like earthquakes can.  This attitude is misunderstanding the problem.  Regardless of how the sea levels happen to rise, floods of this kind are not the same as those caused by deluges or even tsunamis, which gradually subside.  Global flooding renders massive areas of land uninhabitable – permanently.  The waters do not recede, thousands of cities and towns remain submerged for as long as it takes the icecaps to freeze again.  Centuries, at best.  Who can say, at worst?

3) WHAT ARE SOME DEFENSES AND PRECAUTIONS?  The solutions available during a climate change scenario vary depending on how far the changes have progressed.  As of this moment – 2011 AD – there are still avenues open to humanity which might solve the present environmental degradation.  Our population is excessive, but not yet unsupportable, the environment is ravaged but not irreparable, and we continue to progress technologically in ways which might salvage the problem of climate change.  But the further the changes progress, the more impotent we become against their effects.  And despite all the scientific data being collected on the crises which face us, it is difficult to present solutions when the future is so dangerously uncertain.  Still, some solution is better than none when you find yourself neck-deep in seawater on the remains of the local freeway. The stark truth is that our only actual defense against a climate change apocalypse lies in its prevention. Once the seas have risen or the fields have turned to wastelands of sand and ice, there will be no way for humans to reverse the changes.