Fleeting Life

May 11, 2011

In these early-morning hours, the view towards this new day is made up of apprehension and dread — my Jeep is in the shop (which makes me walking to work, though not too far) to repair a leaking valve-cover gasket and anything to do with oil pressure and valves always brings to mind financial disaster.
No worries — I’ve a most-excellent mechanic and the Jeep does have a deep, soul-longing will to survive and continue a normal life.
Not so for a life in this dying world.

As the massive Mississippi River — at some points three miles wide — continues its plunge southward toward New Orleans, the entire planet is grinding, though most-furiously, toward a most-undesirable conclusion as climate change continues to purge away its history.

Surfing the news outlets earlier, I came across this piece from CNN and its Travel section: “10 Natural Wonders To See Before They Disappear.”
One shitload of a depressing title as its lede suggests:

You’ve heard the grim timelines: if warming continues, the Great Barrier Reef will be bleached by 2030; glaciers in the Swiss Alps, on Mt. Kilimanjaro, and in Glacier National Park will disappear in under 40 years; and Arctic ice melt will leave the North Pole bare and polar bears extinct.

The budget travel guide discusses some out-of-the-way places, from the Belize Barrier Reef in the Gulf of Mexico, to the the Congo Basin in central Africa, to the Yangtze Basin region in China.
The one US entry is Florida’s The Everglades:

A host of dangers are putting this fragile wetland at risk: pollution from farms, invasive species, and encroaching development, not to mention the fact that 60 percent of the region’s water is being diverted to nearby cities and farms.
As a result, The Everglades is now half the size it was in 1900.
Worse, this is the sole habitat of the Florida panther, and there are less than 100 of the creatures left in the wild.
These big cats may be completely lost within the next 40 years as their habitat disappears (they’re not alone, either — at least 20 species in the Everglades are endangered, including turtles, manatees, and wading birds).

In fact, Florida environmentalists have have started a national ad campaign in an attempt to get President Obama to put some real teeth in the decade-old restoration project for the fragile and dying region on the tip of the state.
Only will power will get anything done as time is quickly running out.

Climate change, i.e., global warming, i.e., ‘global climate disruption,’ is real.
From Skeptical Science this morning on a survey of scientists involved in climate change:

The 97% figure comes from two independent studies, each employing different methodologies.
One study surveyed all climate scientists who have publicly signed declarations supporting or rejecting the consensus (Anderegg 2010).
Another study directly asked earth scientists the following question “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”
They found 97% of actively publishing climate scientists answered yes (Doran 2009 — pdf.).
As “climate scientists actively publishing peer-reviewed research on climate change” doesn’t really roll off the tongue, I abbreviated that down to “climate experts”.
One feature of Doran’s survey results is that while 97% of climate expert said “yes, humans are causing global warming,” only 1% said “no, we’re not.”
The other 2% were unsure…

And even more depressing — a study from Duke University and the horrors of ‘hydraulic fracturing.’
From CNN (h/t DeSmogBlog):

The study, released Monday, said about half of the 68 drinking water wells tested in Pennsylvania and New York located within a half a mile from natural gas wells had high levels of methane — the prime ingredient in natural gas fuel.

The gas, which is usually located thousands of feet below the water table, appears to be entering the water wells either through cracks in the bedrock or, more likely, the casing in natural gas wells, said Jackson. Casings are steel and concrete barriers natural gas companies use to line a well where it passes through the water table.

And the real shit comes at the end:

So far, most environmentalists tend to follow the position of the International Energy Agency’s chief economist Fatih Birol: That shale gas development and fracking should continue, albeit with tighter regulations, because making that process safer “is far easier than dealing with climate change.”

Well, well, far easier that dealing with climate change — when freakin’ tap water can catch fire!

You folks have a good Wednesday.

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