I am rather disappointed in having to cram for final exams. It is preventing me from really exploring the important goings-on of the climate “negotiations” in Copenhagen, Denmark, which also puts a wet-blanket on what I am able to write for you. Thankfully, I do have some friends and colleagues who are knee-deep in the melted ice-waters of this (can I also say, they are “current” with it… get it?).
As a special exam-cramming edition of Green Bean Tuesday, I will be presenting you with some links to articles that I hope will stir your imagination. To learn more about what I think you might want to know about Copenhagen, please click on the stories that interest you. They will lead you to a link on that subject.
Harper and the Conservatives haven’t been that impressive at the conference as of yet (I hope you were sitting down for that one). This has lead to many non-violent actions to call him to task. Here is an important one regarding the tar sands.
There have been several hoaxes (and here) going around concerning some too-good-to-be-true legislation from Canada (to help the continent of Africa), which has left many Canadians angry.
There has been a messy situation where developing nations have been walking out of climate talks.
Oh boy. And now I present you with my climate plea.
So much of the controversy over the climate change issue has to do with how it is presented in the media. About 6 years ago, there was a gathering of over 1,000 renowned, accomplished scientists who released an official statement that we are in SERIOUS, serious trouble if nothing is done to reverse the climate change trend.
Hardly a peep was uttered throughout the world. It’s simply amazing enough in itself that that such a gathering could produce something to agree on at all!
The role of the media is to present both sides of a story. A major problem is in the representation that both sides receive and how the argument is framed.
If there are hordes of qualified professionals presenting one side, they get equal presentation of a small group of skeptics who may not be so well informed. The public then takes this message and sees both sides as equal. This cuts down all of the work done at the professional level at the knees.
We can see this so clearly with the climate issue. I even have University-level educated friends and acquaintances who still deny that climate change is anthropogenically caused. I personally find this maddening, especially after the irrefutable evidence, data and personal experiences of climate change that have happened in my lifetime alone.
It is my deepest wish that SOMETHING positive come out of these climate negotiations, at any scale. The good news is that there are many empowered people across the globe who are working for change.
The bad news is that the effects of climate change are already in full force. It may be too late to reverse this monster and it’s our own selfish, stupid, stubborn humanistic behavior that has landed us here.
The world will change, as it would change regardless of our presence. It is the RATE at which these changes are happening is what’s scary. The world and its plants and animals just can’t speed up evolution quickly enough to catch up to these changes and the result is a massive, enormous extinction.
This is happening in the forests. Northern forest ecosystems live in the cold. The ground is permanently frozen (called “permafrost”). The trees there are now slumping because of ground thaw. Polar bears are too skinny to survive the long arctic winters, the ice is too thin and spread out for them to hunt seals. Seal populations are hence left unchecked, which causes a decline in fisheries.
The ocean is changing, acidity is rising, which will weaken and kill calciferous animals, such as plankton, which feeds 80% of marine life. Many rural farmers in developing countries (such as Ghana, where I had the privilege of living for four months) are experiencing shorter growing seasons and extended droughts. They have heard of climate change, but say that this change is simply the will of God.
This is my planet just as much as yours, just as much as Wal-Mart and the rice farmers of Indonesia, just as much as the ants and wheat fields that feed you and the children who made your clothes. What will it take to get things to change? We’ve spoken about this so much that our voices risk becoming horse. The time for talk is so old and stale. Will the next revolution please stand up?
Also, visit Grist for updated environmental news daily. You will ind dozens of great commentary and news from the current climate talks in Copenhagen: http://www.grist.org/