Weather talk nowadays ain’t no more just idle chit-chat.
Here on California’s north coast we had a near-about gorgeous day — overcast some, but warm temperatures, and on occasion, a bit of sunshine.
Our environmental scenario supposedly shifts big-time tonight, though, with a cold front expected carrying more rain.
We need the rainfall, but…nearly three days off a just-ended weather system dropped less than two inches of the precious fluid.
(Illustration found here).
Keeping pace with the rest of the state, our moisture content is also on the way-down-low — not so bad here, directly on the coast, but further inland, and south, the drought has a stronger impact. According to the regional National Weather Service, this is a real-bad year. From the Lost Coast Outpost: Normal rainfall for this time of year is about 25 inches; we are at 8.18, according to their data.
And the dry will not only get worse, it will get even worse.
One little ditty I’ve used often in regards to the nowadays, especially in posts directly concerning climate change and all its horrific implications (but there’s also a laundry-list of other perils chewing on humanity right now, any of which could reverberate into global calamity), and that simple, dirge-like prose is this: I’m watching the end of an age via my laptop.
No shit, Jackson. And if you can’t, then you ain’t paying attention.
Even though there’s tons of attention-inducing shit, like data/information/insight from Elizabeth Kolbert, environmental writer for the New Yorker, and author of 2006’s ‘Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change,’ and continues further down reality’s road — species extermination, including man.
Kolbert’s new book, ‘The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History,’ examines the affects/effects of a quickly-heating planet, and being alive.
Former US VP and inconvenient truther, Al Gore, has a review in today’s New York Times.
Kolbert, a staff writer at The New Yorker, reports from the front lines of the violent collision between civilization and our planet’s ecosystem: the Andes, the Amazon rain forest, the Great Barrier Reef — and her backyard.
In lucid prose, she examines the role of man-made climate change in causing what biologists call the sixth mass extinction — the current spasm of plant and animal loss that threatens to eliminate 20 to 50 percent of all living species on earth within this century.
For example, we continue to use the world’s atmosphere as an open sewer for the daily dumping of more than 90 million tons of gaseous waste.
If trends continue, the global temperature will keep rising, triggering “world-altering events,” Kolbert writes.
According to a conservative and unchallenged calculation by the climatologist James Hansen, the man-made pollution already in the atmosphere traps as much extra heat energy every 24 hours as would be released by the explosion of 400,000 Hiroshima-class nuclear bombs.
The resulting rapid warming of both the atmosphere and the ocean, which Kolbert notes has absorbed about one-third of the carbon dioxide we have produced, is wreaking havoc on earth’s delicately balanced ecosystems.
It threatens both the web of living species with which we share the planet and the future viability of civilization.
“By disrupting these systems,” Kolbert writes, “we’re putting our own survival in danger.”
Since the origin of life on earth 3.8 billion years ago, our planet has experienced five mass extinction events.
The last of these events occurred some 66 million years ago when a six-mile-wide asteroid is thought to have collided with earth, wiping out the dinosaurs.
The Cretaceous extinction event dramatically changed the composition of biodiversity on the planet: Marine ecosystems essentially collapsed, and about 75 percent of all plant and animal species disappeared.
Today, Kolbert writes, we are witnessing a similar mass extinction event happening in the geologic blink of an eye.
According to E. O. Wilson, the present extinction rate in the tropics is “on the order of 10,000 times greater than the naturally occurring background extinction rate” and will reduce biological diversity to its lowest level since the last great extinction.
A pretty-glowing piece, and Al concludes: Despite the evidence that humanity is driving mass extinctions, we have been woefully slow to adopt the necessary measures to solve this global environmental challenge. Our response to the mass extinction — as well as to the climate crisis — is still controlled by a hopelessly outdated view of our relationship to our environment.
Another look at Kolbert’s ‘The Sixth Extinction‘ by environmental writer, Mary Ellen Hannibal, via the San Francisco Chronicle:
Kolbert’s riveting narrative follows the excitement, the controversies and the long slogs by which theories about how extinction operates have come to be widely accepted.
“What is sometimes labeled neocatastrophism,” she writes, “but is mostly nowadays just regarded as standard geology holds that conditions of life change only very slowly, except when they don’t.”
There is slow extinction and there is fast extinction, as with the asteroid event first proposed by UC Berkeley geologist Walter Alvarez to explain the initiating cause of death at the end of the Cretaceous, one of the five major extinctions that have outlined Earth history.
Today, Alvarez notes an even more mind-boggling cause for massive loss of life. “We’re seeing right now that a mass extinction can be caused by human beings.”
How do we add this up, how does science today make this claim?
“It is estimated that one-third of all reef-building corals, a third of all fresh-water mollusks, a third of sharks and rays, a quarter of all mammals, a fifth of all reptiles, and a sixth of all birds are headed toward oblivion.”
Some attention-grabbing shit, huh?
Kolbert in a March 2006 interview in Wired: “The only thing that gives me hope is that we’ve survived this long. But I think people should appreciate that this (is) likely to be on the level of any catastrophe we’ve weathered before. Potentially worse. I’m sorry I can’t be more upbeat. I don’t want to say I despair, but I also don’t want to say, ‘Not to worry.'”
Now nearly eight years later, the situation is worse, heading for even worse