In my 6 November 2012 blog posting titled “Intentional Ignorance,” I quoted something Julia Allen Field said in Miami around the time of the first Earth Day Teach-In in 1970:
“We are using the Earth as if we were the last generation.”
In that piece I offered my own version of her statement:
Humanity is systematically taking apart the life-support system of Planet Earth for humans.
Now comes a measure of the depth of this action from the World Wildlife Fund‘s Living Planet Report.
That report is the world’s leading, science-based analysis on the health of our planet and the impact of human activity. Knowing we only have one planet, WWF believes that humanity can make better choices that translate into clear benefits for ecology, society and the economy today and in the long term. From the WWF web site on the new report comes this summary:
“[The] latest edition of the Living Planet Report is not for the faint-hearted. One key point that jumps out is that the Living Planet Index (LPI), which measures more than 10,000 representative populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, has declined by 52 per cent since 1970.
In my most recent post to this blog, I pointed out a string of serious statements from scientific organizations and from the U.S. government, warning humanity and the U.S. people about the dangers of greenhouse gas emissions contributing to planetary warming. To counter this, now certain, danger, I called for what amounts to a planet-scale uprising. We might call it a “Global Spring.”
Educated and sensible leaders around the world have now, finally, accepted the reality of global warming and the enormous threats it and other Earth-damaging practices have for the future of mankind. As New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman recently explained on MSNBC, “Our scientists are telling us to learn how to manage the unavoidable while avoiding the unmanageable.” Because global warming will continue even if we make the reforms, we must work now to accommodate the global warming consequences we cannot escape. We have to stay away from the red lines, the lines humanity might cross that we won’t be able to come back over. Clearly, if we want to “avoid the unmanageable,” those red lines, we have to get really serious about it.
The U. S. military, always alert to threats facing our country, has been studying the alterations we humans are making to the biosphere, our life-support system. Military leaders have concluded what I have been saying for some time: The threats to our future from global warming and other serious human alterations of the planet are far more dangerous than any terrorist threat.
“This March, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, the commander of the United States Pacific Command, told security and foreign policy specialists in Cambridge, Mass., that global climate change was the greatest threat the United States faced — more dangerous than terrorism, Chinese hackers and North Korean nuclear missiles. Upheaval from increased temperatures, rising seas and radical destabilization ‘is probably the most likely thing that is going to happen…” he said, ‘that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.’’
“Locklear’s not alone. Tom Donilon, the national security adviser,said much the same thing in April, speaking to an audience at Columbia’s new Center on Global Energy Policy. James Clapper, director of national intelligence, told the Senate in March that ‘Extreme weather events (floods, droughts, heat waves) will increasingly disrupt food and energy markets, exacerbating state weakness, forcing human migrations, and triggering riots, civil disobedience, and vandalism.’ “
So wrote Roy Scranton, U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq, in an eloquent statement, recently published in the New York Times. Even the World Bank, no bastion of liberal do-goodism, presented a surprisingly dour assessment of the human predicament in its June 2013 report, “Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience.” Jim Young Kim, President of the World Bank Group, described the conclusions in a 4 minute YouTube video. Continue reading