I posted this to a personal blog last week, but I feel that this is a great place to share!
Today I took about an hour to read the chapter of the book Eaarth (that’s right, with two a’s). The author, Bill McKibben, claims the earth we live on is no longer what it used to be; it’s a different place, therefore it should have a new name. Clever.
Anyhow, this book delves into how we have waited much to long to put a halt to global warming, and explains what is going on today (terrible things!!!), due to the heating of our planet. The first chapter is really scary, packed full of statistics that I wish were not true and could be brushed off without worrying too much. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I think this a great book for anyone who doesn’t understand or see that climate change is occurring. It really lays it all out for you.
I just wanted to share some of the statistics that I thought people would find interesting.
-The average temperature, having raised a bit over 1.5 degrees F, has triggered a 45% increase in thunderheads (giant clouds five miles up filled with tons of rain and hail) above the ocean.
-Increase in storms = increase in lightning. In one day in June 2008, there were 1,700 different fires across the state of California. Also, lightning strikes in the Arctic have increased twenty-fold, igniting tundra fires (which have never previously been observed).
-The Arctic ice cap is now 1.1 million square miles smaller it had once been.
-The West Antarctic is losing ice 75% faster than last decade.
-Tropical climate has expanded 8.5 million miles…expansion of the tropics push dry subtropics ahead of them, causing rain to be dumped over the ocean, rather than land.
-Australia now experiences an arid climate, the “new normal.” It is no longer considered a drought because the inflows of the past will not return.
-There is a 50% chance that Lake Mead (which sits on Colorado River behind the Hoover Dam) will run dry by 2021!
-One hundred eleven hurricanes formed in the tropical Atlantic between 1995-2008, a 75% increase over the previous 13 years. These hurricanes are stronger and also last longer, so their destruction often hits more places.
-Oceans’ acidity has increased 30% due to our emissions
-80% oyster larvae death rate due to the high acid content in the sea (2009).
-Coral reefs, colonies of living organisms, will cease to exist by 2100, or even as early as 2050.
-Some species are even shrinking in size as an adaptation to the heat change.
This only covers the first ten pages. The rest of the chapter dives into the carbon parts per million in the air, and the uncertainty of what is too much. We are also brought up to speed about our reliance on oil, coal and even finances. The book cites the fact that all of our recessions happened when oil prices increased… Interesting.
Although we are moving towards trying (at least a little bit) to fix the problem we’ve created, as other countries begin to adapt a more Western lifestyle (China, for example), we will be faced with the problem of even more pollution and emissions. And, gee, how could we ever convince so many people that the new lifestyle they’re chasing isn’t really all that good?
I will admit, the first chapter in this book is scary and intimidating, but we can not hide from these truths any longer. This chapter really focused on the negative, and I’m quite curious if there is any hope found further in the book. So far, though, it has been an interesting read. I recommend anyone that lives on Earth should read it. Prices start at $0.01 (used) on Amazon. Check it out.