‘Scared to Death’

February 21, 2012

A small instance of a humongous and worsening situation:

The decline in the chipmunk’s genetic diversity occurred in the relatively short span of 90 years, demonstrating the rapid threat changing climate can represent for a species, a UC Berkeley release said Sunday.

The shift of the living due to a warming environment poses a danger to everything — we and the animals around us can become more vulnerable to the effects of inbreeding, disease and other problems that threaten species survival, and in the sequence of time, can take place very quickly.

(Illustration found here).

And even with our slowest moving living things — trees.
From HuffPost on Saturday:

U.S. Forest Service researchers have confirmed what has long been suspected about a valuable tree in Alaska’s Panhandle: Climate warming is killing off yellow cedar.

Paul Schaberg, a USFS plant pathologist from Burlington, Vt., one of five authors of a paper on the tree that appeared this month in the journal Bioscience:

“As time goes on and climates change even more, other species, other locations, are likely to experience similar kinds of progressions, so you might do well to understand this one so you can address those future things,” Schaberg said.

“I’m looking out my window and we have a dusting of snow at best,” Schaberg said from his Vermont office.
“And the soils are frozen all over the place, which is not the norm at all.
So even just this one component of changing climate — reduced snow packs, its influence on soils and the things that are living in soils, like roots — that is not limited to the yellow cedar story and Alaska.
That’s pertinent to many locations.”

Most likely, climate change and its results will be pertinent to all locations.

Especially within the human body, as disease is a silent, ugly partner to a changing environment.
Sherilee Harper, a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar in Aboriginal People’s Health at the University of Guelph, describes a near-future of not nice: “Under any climate change scenario you consider, this is going to increase,” she says. “Waterborne diseases are not just an Arctic issue; they are global. The World Health Organization projects that most of the climate change disease burden in the 21st century will be due to diarrhea and malnutrition.”
Hungry, but still on the toilet — what a shitty fix.

Even with all these horrors of climate change breathing down humanity’s collective neck, there’s a strong and well-funded dark side to the mirror of environmental concerns in the form of an organized, nasty denial to science and its near-scream-like warnings.
Not only is the fight against a changing natural earth, but also against some back-stabbing tactics: Leaked documents from a prominent United States conservative think tank show how it sought to teach schoolchildren scepticism about global warming and planned other behind-the-scenes tactics using millions of dollars in donations from big corporate names.
Hard to grasp how these people sleep at night, or even look at their children and grandchildren without feeling like nasty assholes.
And speaking of nasty assholes, Rick Santorum has pushed the prick deep into religion and daddy/momma earth; there’s no way we have to watch what we do with the planet because humans have the power.
Santorum claims global warming is all bullshit.
From TPM:

“We were put on this Earth as creatures of God to have dominion over the Earth, to use it wisely and steward it wisely, but for our benefit not for the Earth’s benefit,” Santorum told a Colorado crowd earlier this month.
He went on to call climate change “an absolute travesty of scientific research that was motivated by those who, in my opinion, saw this as an opportunity to create a panic and a crisis for government to be able to step in and even more greatly control your life.”

One wonders at the hearts, minds and souls of people who believe this crap.

And the whole denial/anti-science horror is starting to shake the investigators.
From the UK’s the Guardian:

Most scientists, on achieving high office, keep their public remarks to the bland and reassuring.
Last week Nina Fedoroff, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), broke ranks in a spectacular manner.
She confessed that she was now “scared to death” by the anti-science movement that was spreading, uncontrolled, across the US and the rest of the western world.
“We are sliding back into a dark era,” she said.
“And there seems little we can do about it.
I am profoundly depressed at just how difficult it has become merely to get a realistic conversation started on issues such as climate change or genetically modified organisms.”

“Those of us who grew up in the sixties, when we put men on the Moon, now have to watch as every Republican candidate for this year’s presidential election denies the science behind climate change and evolution.
That is a staggering state of affairs and it is very worrying,” said Professor Naomi Oreskes, of the University of California, San Diego.

“It has taken the scientific community a long time to realise what it is up against,” says Oreskes.
“In the past, it thought the problem was just a matter of education.
All its practitioners had to do was make an effort to reach out and talk to teachers, the public and business leaders.
Then these people would see the issues and understand the need for action.
“But now they are beginning to realise what they are really up against: massive organised attempts to undermine scientific data by people for whom that data represents a threat to their status quo.
Given the power of these people, scientists will have their work cut out dealing with them.”

First, however, a lot of bad shit will take place, a lot of people will die and a lot of irreparable damage done.
Everybody should most-indeed be ‘scared to death,’ but maybe not so much the coming heat, but the Joseph-Goebbels-cruelty of other humans.

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