Everyday I read about the increasing effects of global warming; now these readings are followed by news of SCROTUS’s decision to roll back yet another important measure enacted to address the causes of climate change, and I am at a loss to understand why people with young children and grandchildren are not marching in the streets and storming the White House. The future of the planet was looking bleak before the election, but now any possibility that we might be able to help the planet recover from the destruction we’ve wrought is just a fantasy.
Even with the protections President Obama put in place, the Earth has been warming and the weather has been growing more extreme. The Jet Stream in the Northern Hemisphere has undergone some seriously disturbing changes, and now a new study finds it’s likely that the Jet Stream is being significantly altered by human-forced climate change. This change has been responsible for huge weather events such as the Pakistan flooding in 2010, the 2011 Texas heat wave and the recent deluges in California.
After recording breaking temperatures last year, weather and climate extremes have continued in 2017. For example, prolonged and extreme heat hit parts of Australia in January and February. The seas are warmer and the Arctic sea ice saw its lowest maximum cover at the end of winter in records dating back to 1979. The proverbial shit has hit the fan, and soon humans will be as responsible for their own demise as we’ve been for extinction of millions of other species.
And SCROTUS is working to ensure we all die sooner than expected. He’s rolled back fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, gutted the EPA, created a budget that will end funding for climate-related scientific programs and just this week signed an executive order rescinding the centerpiece of President Obama’s clean power strategy. So now, despite the scientific consensus that without swift action the consequences of climate change — rising seas, more devastating droughts, widespread species extinction — are likely to get steadily worse, any chance of real action is as dead as the Barrier Reef.
We’re heading into uncharted territory; and no one knows for certain how much time humankind has left. What we do know, however, is that future generations will suffer greatly. Whereas recent generations wondered about what we wanted to do when we grew up, where we could go to college, and where we might retire, the reality for current generations has little to do with college plans and retirement; they will be occupied by questions such as where they will find fresh water, what food will be available, and what parts of their country and the rest of the world will still be habitable?
Their future will be bleak beyond our comprehension.