Earth Notes: Our ability to live on Earth

earthnotesBy Rev. Robert Plaisted

Oh no, not again! Why another “Earth Notes” column about climate change? Aren’t there other topics worthy of consideration? Sure there are — lots of them — but none of them will matter a century from now unless we solve our existential dilemma of rapidly destabilizing climatic conditions.

We created the greatest problem human beings ever have faced and we did it quite unwittingly. If we continue forcing Earth’s climate to warm up by burning carbon, it won’t make any difference what we do about immigration, terrorism, LGBT rights, abortion, birth control, economic policy or any of a hundred other issues that have distracted our attention far too long.

In March and April, Sue and I traveled across Europe on a river cruise from the North Sea to the Black Sea. Looking back, I’m glad we went when we did. At this moment, much of the area we traveled through central Europe from France to Ukraine is being inundated by yet another round of historic flooding. River traffic has been seriously disrupted.

Disruption is the best word to describe the immediate effect of the changes we’re making in Earth’s climate. Our disruption isn’t hurting the Earth; it’s hurting our ability to live on the Earth. Everywhere we look, disruption is obvious. Texas is being plagued by its worst floods since Europeans have lived there, and it is now being joined by the Ohio River valley. Australia just concluded its hottest autumn on record. India recently recorded its hottest temperature ever, 124.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Across the border in Pakistan, the heat reached 125.5° F.

Of course, Earth doesn’t care what temperature it reaches, how deep and frequent that floods become, or how long wildfires burn in Canada. Climatic conditions on earth have been much more extreme many times in the past, but of course; human beings didn’t exist then. We couldn’t have lived here even if we had existed, but Earth doesn’t care whether we can live here or not. Earth doesn’t care about our economic theories, political beliefs or religious dogmas. Earth simply exists. Whether or not we can exist on Earth is entirely up to us.

Donald Trump clearly understands that, even though he pretends that he doesn’t. Did you hear that he’s planning to build another wall? No, we’re not talking about the wall to keep out Mexicans, but the wall to keep the ocean from flooding one of his fancy seaside golf courses. Trump may rant and rave in public that climate change is a hoax fabricated by the Chinese to undermine the United States, but when his own money-making schemes are threatened, he sings an entirely different tune.

His request for a permit to build a seawall alongside Trump International Golf Links in County Clare, Ireland, states that because of “an increase in sea level rise as a result of global warming…it is likely that there will be a corresponding increase in the coastal erosion rate…” Makes sense to me, but it makes total nonsense of Trump’s anti-climate-science bombast. Only when climate change affects him personally, does he pay attention to it. So, how do you spell hypocrite? That’s right — T-R-U-M-P.

Denialists can’t seem to get it through their heads that climate change is the only issue that matters from this time forward. That’s why I keep coming back to it in my writing. This isn’t just a game for all the marbles anymore. It’s a game to determine whether future generations even will be here to play marbles.

Please follow and like us: