by Robert Wilkinson
This isn't astrological, but it is meta-physical. There's a movement afoot to bring down humanity's carbon glut that warms our atmosphere every day, melting ice all over the planet, portending things no one really wants to contemplate. NASA's leading climatologist has definitely stated ""if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm." If you care about life on Earth in the near future, read on.
From TruthOut.org an extremely important article, "The World at 350: A Last Chance for Civilization" by Bill McKibben originally posted at TomDispatch.com that outlines what confronts us all. The coming crises will definitely unify many as the selfish deluded polluters grab all they can and governments continue to bloviate about trivialities while coastlines flood, superstorms sweep our Earth (checked the news lately?), and major upheaval transforms our physical, emotional, and mental reality.
If you think that sounds dramatic or exaggerated, consider a few pieces from the article:
Hansen cites six irreversible tipping points - massive sea level rise and huge changes in rainfall patterns, among them - that we'll pass if we don't get back down to 350 soon; and the first of them, judging by last summer's insane melt of Arctic ice, may already be behind us.... Instead of slowing down, we're pouring on the coal, quite literally. Two weeks ago came the news that atmospheric carbon dioxide had jumped 2.4 parts per million last year - two decades ago, it was going up barely half that fast....
And suddenly, the news arrives that the amount of methane, another potent greenhouse gas, accumulating in the atmosphere, has unexpectedly begun to soar as well. Apparently, we've managed to warm the far north enough to start melting huge patches of permafrost and massive quantities of methane trapped beneath it have begun to bubble forth.
Here's the thing. Hansen didn't just say that, if we didn't act, there was trouble coming; or, if we didn't yet know what was best for us, we'd certainly be better off below 350 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. His phrase was: "... if we wish to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed." A planet with billions of people living near those oh-so-floodable coastlines. A planet with ever more vulnerable forests. (A beetle, encouraged by warmer temperatures, has already managed to kill 10 times more trees than in any previous infestation across the northern reaches of Canada this year. This means far more carbon heading for the atmosphere and apparently dooms Canada's efforts to comply with the Kyoto Protocol, already in doubt because of its decision to start producing oil for the U.S. from Alberta's tar sands.)
Here's one of several punchlines to this article:
"And we have, at best, a few years... to reverse course. Here's the Indian scientist and economist Rajendra Pachauri, who accepted the Nobel Prize on behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year (and, by the way, got his job when the Bush administration, at the behest of Exxon Mobil, forced out his predecessor): "If there's no action before 2012, that's too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment."
This is not about alarming anyone with dire predictions though some seem grim indeed. Welcome to what's happening on planet Earth at the highest levels. By all means, go to the article and read the rest, since it's powerful stuff. And it's encouraging that an organization has been started to deal with spreading the word that we must do all we can as soon as possible to bring down the amount of carbon in our atmosphere, 350.org, which as Bill says, "Its only goal is to spread this number around the world in the next 18 months, via art and music and ruckuses of all kinds, in the hope that it will push those post-Kyoto negotiations in the direction of reality.... After all, those talks are our last chance; you just can't do this one light bulb at a time. And if this 350.org campaign is a Hail Mary pass, well, sometimes those passes get caught."
Via art and music and "ruckuses of all kinds?" Sounds like the way it was when I was in the streets many years ago. Yeehaw activism at its best! While I'm sure there are other organizations as well, this is a "both-and" situation. The only "either-or" attitude appropriate here is that either we reverse CO2 every way we can OR we deal with the consequences, which loom large in the near future given the accelerating pace of Earth changes. And I have to note that it'll sure be a better world when the multinationals finally wake up and realize it's in their best interests to go to non-carbon based energy systems. Many forms of energy are infinite, free, and non-polluting. Oil is obsolete!
Copyright © 2008 Robert Wilkinson