… the orchestra played as they danced….and the Titanic sank…
When I think of the state of Planet Earth, that’s the visual that has so often come to mind in the last few years. I don’t understand why the world’s leaders are acting like it’s business as usual when catastophe could change everything in what seems like an instant… what I am referring to is the news about the melting in the Arctic and Greenland, disturbing, to say the least.
Earlier this summer I read that Greenland was melting at unprecedented levels. It reminded of the time that I felt as if I were witnessing that land birthing itself. Some 15 years ago, on a flight from the U.K., our pilot suggested that we look out our windows… It was an exceptionally clear morning and he was flying low over Greenland. A wondrous wilderness lay below us, quite literally steaming as the warm air touched the normally ice-covered lands… that image haunts me… and with the news of this year’s unusual melt, I was deeply concerned… despite the fact that our scientists tell us that this is a normal cycle for Greenland, every 150 years… I remembered what I had seen in our 2012 predictions - that things will have a way of piling up this year – one event by itself may not be so serious, but repetitions could be devastating…
The news this week added to my concern… a summary from http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/09/21/1255201/rapid-arctic-melt-called-planetary-emergency:
“Drawing on new data released Wednesday by the National Snow and Ice Data Center that the Arctic ice pack has melted to an all time low within the satellite record (video), NASA climate scientist James Hansen has declared the current reality a ‘planetary emergency.’ As pointed out by Prof. David Barber from the University of Manitoba, ‘The thaw this year broke all the records that we had previous to this and it didn’t just break them, it smashed them.’
“Scientists in the Arctic are warning that this summer’s record-breaking melt is part of an accelerating trend with profound implications.
Norwegian researchers report that the sea ice is becoming significantly thinner and more vulnerable.
Last month, the annual thaw of the region’s floating ice reached the lowest level since satellite monitoring began, more than 30 years ago.
It is thought the scale of the decline may even affect Europe’s weather.
The melt is set to continue for at least another week – the peak is usually reached in mid-September – while temperatures here remain above freezing.
The Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) is at the forefront of Arctic research and its international director, Kim Holmen, told the BBC that the speed of the melting was faster than expected.
“It is a greater change than we could even imagine 20 years ago, even 10 years ago,” Dr Holmen said “And it has taken us by surprise and we must adjust our understanding of the system and we must adjust our science and we must adjust our feelings for the nature around us.”
We expected that water would be an issue in 2012 (see our annual predictions), and certainly we have seen both drought and flood conditions plaguing many parts of the planet through most of this year, but the news of the Northern meltdown is most discomfiting.
The potential for long-term climate changes is gaining strength.. As we look out our windows, the landscape may appear to be the same as it always has… but look again, subtle changes in the earth’s temperature are changing water currents and wind speeds… changes may seem “normal”, cyclical, but I think we all need to be alert, awake to the shifts that will affect our children and grandchildren…
I am nervous… we should all be watchful, noticing… and noisy! It is time our leaders awaken, time we stop arguing about whether there is really a problem, and what, if anything we should do about it; time we get serious about fixing the imbalances that threaten our comfortable lives… it is time we each awaken, that we each be alert to the shifts around us… and do what we can to reduce, reuse, recycle… and protect our children’s futures.
So what are you doing to help the planet heal? Are you awake, noticing, alert – and willing to make some changes? Let’s each stop dancing, and start noticing – and reacting! Let us each focus on doing what we can, where we can.