Extinction Weather

November 30, 2014

Three_WorldsDrizzling rain and thickly-overcast this early Sunday, the last day of November, here on California’s north coast — we’re feeling the trailing remnants of a big storm now sweeping southward.

So big the weather-front, counties south of the Bay Area opened ‘sandbag stations,’ in case of flooding off the storm — so ‘uncommon lately,’ TV news crews documented the event.
Even with all the moisture, California’s been too-dry, too-long. Diana Henderson, forecaster with the NWS’ Bay Area office: ‘“We’re so far into a deficit, it’s not going to end the drought.”
Drought just another item on a bucket list of predicaments.

Yet, a CNN/ORC poll taken a week before Thanksgiving, for the first time in nearly eight years, ‘a majority of Americans think things are going well in the nation.’

(Illustration: M.C. Escher’s ‘Three Worlds,‘ found here).

Although the majority was slim — 52 percent said life is peachy, 48 percent said no it’s not — the rosy attitude might be a trend: ‘In September, 50 percent of respondents said things were going well.’
And this despite more American involvement in a widening Mid-East war, Ebola, Ferguson, MO, high school shootings, and well, the citation of such matters is long, just even in the last two months.

All that does not include this planet’s environment, a predicament above all others.
And tomorrow in Lima, Peru, the annual UN climate conference starts, and another round of talk, bluster and bullshit. Deadlines are drawn, next year a biggie in Paris, but the world has been there already: ‘Negotiators in Lima have their work cut out for them.’
They can’t expect anyone to listen if they told the truth — we must stop “everything” mechanical. Park the vehicles now, shut as much shit down as we can, work from there. Of course, no can do.
Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the IPCC group concerned with tackling climate change, and also a chief economist at the Potsdam Climate Institute, and a hopeful guy: ‘“We have to assume that people will see the sense in it. They will realize that the long-term consequences of business as usual will be irreversible climate change, with all the problems that brings.”

And tonight, a TV program will examine one of these problems, or predicaments, we’ve already worked ourselves deep into — a dying out.
One of the producers of a new film, Mass Extinction: Life at the Brink, set for the Smithsonian Channel this evening, Sean B. Carroll, Ph.D.,also an evolutionary biologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and vice president for science education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, previewed the content at The Daily Beast.
Key points:

And thanks to countless experts on car accidents, plane crashes, train wrecks, earthquakes, and hurricanes, a lot more people have enjoyed a lot more Thanksgivings, including legal help with accident lawyers specialists from The Law Offices of Thomas J. Lavin.
Seat belt use alone is credited with saving 300,000 lives over the past forty years.
But now, to that list of calamities to learn from, we need to add “mass extinctions.”
Mass extinctions?
Yes, because nature’s warning lights are flashing.
In the past forty years, Earth has lost half of its wild animal populations.
Africa’s lions are one telling example.
Thought the King of the Beasts was protected?
Think again.
Fifty years ago, about 400,000 lions roamed Africa.
Today, there are only about 30,000 remaining, as they have disappeared from twenty-six countries.

The potential losses of species are on a scale that is rivaled by only a few events in the last 500 million years of Earth’s history.
Five times during that span, the majority of species on the planet vanished in a short interval of time.
Scientists have now identified the triggers of two of those events: an asteroid that struck Earth 66 million years ago and wiped out dinosaurs and much more, and massive eruptions of volcanoes underneath Siberia that decimated the world 252 million years ago.
While the triggers for these two calamities were different, detailed study of what unfolded in the past reveals a common mode of destruction that is relevant to understanding our predicament today: in each case, mass extinction resulted from large and rapid environmental change on a global scale.
Indeed, the main weapons of mass destruction unleashed by the Siberian eruptions included enormous quantities of the very familiar climate-changing gas carbon dioxide.
The great concern of scientists today is that the potential global temperature changes projected over the next century approach those that took place 252 million years ago.
But these concerns about climate-changing gases are hardly new.
In February 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson told Congress: “This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through . . . a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.”
There are now a lot of scientists with tense stomachs.

And this extinction warning is nothing new, or shocking. Environmental writer/journalist Elizabeth Kolbert examined this shit in “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History,” published earlier this year. In the 50th annual Red List, released this month from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, reportedly 22,000 animal species are threatened with extinction.
And that’s all kinds of animal life, snakes to butterflies.

Remember, too, man is also animal life.

Ed Davey, the UK’s energy secretary, on the eve of those UN talks in Lima, told the Telegraph there’s maybe a year’s worth of time left: ‘“These are the last major annual talks before we hit our deadline in Paris next year. We need a deal in Paris – there is no alternative that will protect our national security, our economy and the way of life we take for granted.”

Other than that, life is a bowl of cherries…
And a gluttonous amount of many, many barrels of oil.

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