IS OUR world overheating, enough to cause the strange weather disturbances we’ve been experiencing, enough for anyone to be uncertain what to wear anytime of the day, whether to be shielded from the heat of the moment, or its coldness?
Just recently, we are told by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, joined in by the American Meteorological Society, that just two years ago, in 2016 , Planet Earth withstood the hottest climes ever in modern times, publicly stating that “last year’s record heat resulted from the combined influence of long-term global warming and a strong El Nino early in that year.” Trends consistent with a warming planet had been detected from several benchmarks that broke records set the previous year — land and ocean temperatures, sea level and greenhouse gas concentrations.
The horrendous heat levels for that particularly alarming year should have been a source of global and, for that matter, everyone’s concern. Scientists have recently determined that the Atlantic Ocean-bred hurricanes which devastated much of the Caribbean island-communities last year came about as a result of global warming. Greenhouse gasses, accumulating in the Earth’s atmosphere, are said to be definitely causing temperatures to rise, which in turn results from the melting of our polar icecaps, the increased carbon dioxide in our seas, and the massive bleaching of sea corals.
The savants are one in consensus that over the coming years, sea levels would have expected to rise even more due to melting ice. As climate patterns alter drastically from year to year, major cities along coastlines are threatening to be submerged, island nations will go under, last year’s global weather aberrations a proof positive that the last one is more severe than the one preceding.
This much we are candidly told: mankind seems to be unrelenting in its reliance on fossil fuels for global energy use. Greenhouse gases continue to pollute the atmosphere in unprecedented levels — unrelenting, unchecked and without remorse, despite iron-clad global recognition and agreements. Third, these gases envelope like a blanket to capture heat around our planet. Clearly, all the major greenhouse gases that drive warming up — all the carbon dioxide (CO2), all the methane and nitrous oxide, are rising to new unparalleled lights. We are now told that atmospheric CO2 concentration has reached 402.9 parts per million (ppm), surpassing the level of 400 ppm for the first time in modern annals and ice core records dating back as far as 800,000 years.
Land and sea temperatures are now at new record-breaking levels, as evidenced by melting glaciers and ocean-swelling polar ice caps. In 2016, the global average sea level was 3.25 inches or 82 millimeters higher than the 1993 average, rising for six straight years, with the highest recorded in the western Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Land surface temperatures warmed too last year. The average Arctic land surface temperature was 3.6 Fahrenheit (2.0 Celsius), much above the 1981-2010 average. This represents a 6.3 F (3.5 C) increase since recording activities began in 1900.
In troubled times, we definitely are. Make that scarier, regardless where we are — whether out there in places whiplashed by the Atlantic Ocean or out here by the Pacific Ocean. The oceans will continue to be heating up, because global pollution goes on unabated, because rabid economic activities continue to cause global warming, because global reduction efforts have been globally without much significance.
One thing stands out that needs to be instilled in the hearts and minds of leaders and people. If we don’t take care of nature, it won’t take care of us, all of us. If we don’t work to manage our future, knowing what it holds for us by our inaction, singly and collectively, nobody else will. Even our inheritors will never forgive us for surrendering that future in the hands of those who refuse to see, feel and experience what has become too obvious: we either live and survive as one in the only planetary home that’s Earth, or perish as one in palpably catastrophic if separate ways.
When things heat up much too much, with nothing to scale it down, we’d be scalded far too sooner than we think. We do know what we ought to be doing. We know that we must restrain the use of motor vehicles that are powered by the toxic gases spewed into the air, that we should restrict the use of unsafe, dirty energy sources, that there must be better and safer ways of living it up like walking more times each day, or conserving the things we produce for a lighted environment, or going carless not just during momentary occasions but as part of a rigid, disciplined routine in our way of life.
Doing the only right thing in our lifetime, even for once, is the biggest right thing we can do. Not doing anything about it is the worse legacy we can bequeath to generations next. Ignoring the tell-tale signs of an overheating world, during the final years of our stewardship is leaving everything in the hands of our Creator, when praying for salvation is hardly enough to wash away the sins of inaction.
Our choice really, not they who are by the sidelines simply awaiting an ill-fated destiny.