The Climate Is Changing. We’re Not Ready.

Melinda shared this link:

Humans Have 30 Years To Stave Off Climate Catastrophe, ‘Uninhabitable Earth’ Author Says, WBUR, 13 May 2019

It’s an interview with David Wallace-Wells, author of “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming.”

Excerpts:

The planet is already hotter than it’s ever been in all of human history, and it will surely change more, which means that everything we know about human life and human civilization grew up under conditions that no longer preside, and we’re living in a different enough environment — it may even be better to think already that we’re living on a different planet — and given where we’re headed, things are going to change even faster, even more dramatically in the decades ahead.”

On climate change’s effects on the human body:

“The most, to me, horrifying story in the book isn’t about humans at all. It’s about the saiga antelope, which is this dwarf antelope that lived in Siberia, and a few years ago — I think it was in 2015 — the entire species got wiped out because a bacteria that had lived inside their guts for millions of years was rewired by a summer that was especially hot and humid, and what had been a quite happy cohabitant of that saiga digestive tract became an enemy of the animal and killed the entire species.

“Humans are complicated. Biology is as well. We have millions and perhaps billions of bacteria living inside us and viruses living inside us. And while it’s probably the case that the overwhelming majority of those won’t be affected by temperature rises of just 2 or 3 or 4 degrees, the chance that one of them or several of them is transformed in that way is quite serious. And that doesn’t mean that humans are going to be made extinct. But there’s a relationship between schizophrenia and viruses that you’ve been exposed to. There’s a relationship between mood disorders. There’s a relationship with obesity. So many aspects of the way that we think of our relationship to the world are determined in part by these other creatures that are living inside us and every single one of them is subject to the transformations that will be brought about by climate change.”

Microorganisms live on us and in us. They likely outnumber our own cells although that debate is ongoing. Our microbiome impacts our health and can either contribute to or protect against cancers, inflammatory diseases, depression and mood disorders, metabolic diseases, and others. This was the first time I read how climate change might affect the microbiome with consequences to health.

Will you be alive in 80 years? This is what you may be facing:

That is the course we are speeding so blithely along — to more than four degrees Celsius of warming by the year 2100. According to some estimates, that would mean that whole regions of Africa and Australia and the United States, parts of South America north of Patagonia, and Asia south of Siberia would be rendered uninhabitable by direct heat, desertification, and flooding. Certainly it would make them inhospitable, and many more regions besides.

In the last Democratic debate, “not a single question about the biggest threat facing residents of the United States, and the world, was asked of the 12 candidates who qualified for the debate.” Does that trouble you? It troubles me!

Where I live on the US East Coast, there are some noticeable effects of climate change. In the last several years the weather has been hotter and wetter. We’re breaking temperature and rainfall records as each year passes. Plants are dying when the ground gets waterlogged. Mold is becoming more of a problem. We experience more days when AirNow.gov says the local air is too polluted for vulnerable groups to go outside. There used to be a vibrant, colorful Fall. But now, since it stays hotter later into the year, the leaves remain green longer. Then a burst of cold air turns them brown, bypassing the reds and oranges and purples I remember from my youth (and see in old photographs). Swarms of migratory blackbirds are half their size. But, as Greta Thunberg says, I’m one of the lucky ones.

Have you noticed any changes where you live?

3 thoughts on “The Climate Is Changing. We’re Not Ready.

  1. mboydp

    I’ve seen changes like those you describe. Increasingly hot weather, difficulties growing veggie plants that generally have grown easily before, almost no color in our trees (green to brown), etc. Impossible to grow plants that bolt easily in hot weather….. And our weather has varied b/tw long periods of drought and periods of drenching rain. Hard to imagine what winter will be like.

    Reply

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