We are All Connected
Earth and its inhabitants are connected. As we do to the Earth, so shall be done to us. In a letter from Chief Seattle, Chief of the Dwamish, Suquamish and allied Indian tribes to Franklin Pierce, President of the U.S.A (1854), the sentiment is well stated:
"This we know. All things are connected like the blood that unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life: he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."
The Web of Life is Choking the Earth
Warming sea temperatures impact coral reefs, habitat to the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. Warmer water temperatures can result in coral bleaching. Increased heat stresses coral and causes the coral to release an algae called zooxanthellae from their tissues. The coral turns white. When a coral bleaches, it is not dead, but stressed. It may recover, but more than 90 percent of the Great Barrier Reef coral is bleached. Out of 1036 reefs surveyed by Australian scientists in a plane, 40% had no or negligible bleaching, 35% had moderate bleaching and 25% had severe bleaching (gbrmpa.gov.aa).
Thousands of marine animals depend on coral reefs for survival, including sea turtles, fish, crabs, shrimp, jellyfish, sea birds, starfish, and more. Coral reefs provide shelter, spawning grounds, and protection from predators. They also support organisms at the base of ocean food chains. As reef ecosystems collapse, already at-risk species may face extinction (worldwildlife.org). Coral reefs are natural barriers that absorb the force of waves and storm surges, keeping coastal communities safe. This is important because more than 600 million people worldwide (10%) live in coastal areas less than 32 feet above sea level. Nearly 2.4 billion people (40%) live within 60 miles of the coast. (oceanservice.noaa.gov).
Global warming is causing the ice caps to melt, which exposes tundra to
sunlight. As tundra heats, it releases methane, a powerful greenhouse
gas. The melting of ice caps, glaciers and sea ice is also causing the
worldwide temperature of oceans to rise. Worse, ice and snow reflect
sunlight and energy while land masses and the oceans, being darker,
absorb heat, Rising sea levels are inundating wetlands, the buffer that
protects inland areas from flooding. Wetlands also provide nurseries
for fish and mammals and rest areas for migrating water fowl.
We are Conducting War on the Earth
The way humans use and pollute natural resources is an atrocity. We are destroying what we require to live. We have to drink water to stay alive. Yet, we continue to pollute and over allocate water resources. We must have air to breathe. Yet, wildfires, deforestation, pestilence
and disease are decreasing the amount of life-giving oxygen and
replacing it with greenhouse gas such as carbon dioxide and methane.
Through a process called photosynthesis, tree leaves take in carbon dioxide and water and use the energy of the sun to convert these elements into chemical compounds such as sugars that feed the tree. As a by-product of that chemical reaction, oxygen is produced and released by the tree. Trees thus become carbon sinks (storage) that holds the carbon back from reentering the air. It is proposed that one large tree can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for up to four people. (USDA.gov) Unfortunately, when the tree is felled, the carbon is released into the air.
Water Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink
Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are manmade chemicals that do not break down in the environment. Researchers have found PFAS in rainwater in most locations on the planet - including Antarctica. There is no safe space to escape them. (University of Stockholm)
If that was not worrisome enough, we are in the middle of one of the three most severe droughts in the U.S in the last 100 years. (drought.gov)
Surf's Up! No, That's Plastic
Plastics are the most common form of marine debris. They enter our
rivers and streams and journey to the oceans. Once there, plastic debris
never fully biodegrades. Common plastics include cigarette butts, food
wrappers, beverage bottles, straws, cups and plates, bottle caps, and
single-use bags. Fishing paraphernalia, such as drift nets, fishing
line, buoys and ice chests, endanger the lives of inhabitants of the
seas. Children's toys also pollute the oceans. (NOAA)
There is now six times more plastic than plankton in the oceans (naturalscience.org). Plankton has a vital role in maintaining the health and balance of the ocean and its complex food webs. The oxygen, nutrients, and biomass they produce also sustain terrestrial life—from the food we eat to the air we breathe. (education.nationalgeographic.org).
How Hot Is It?
In 2010, researchers came to the conclusion (doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0913352107) that humans would adapt to any possible global warming. Peak heat stress, quantified by the term "wet-bulb temperature" (heat + humidity), was similar in diverse climates--it never exceeded 31 °C. Excess of 35 °C for extended periods should induce hyperthermia in humans and other mammals, as dissipation of metabolic heat becomes impossible.
New experiments provide insight into which combinations of temperature and humidity begin to harm even the healthiest humans, never mind our aging population. Current heat waves around the globe are approaching, if not exceeding, these limits (Noll Laboratory at Penn State University).
I have been an environmentalist for 45 years. I have watched as everything predicted in the 60s, 70s and 80s happened. There is more I could share. What I wrote is the truth. You may find more information by going to the sources cited after information in the post. I only wish to share information so that you may have the facts. There are tipping points of which we must be aware. That is a point when we must have made changes or it will be too late to stop cascading events. Some tipping points are approaching like a freight train and some come like a thief in the night. Let us do what we can, while we can. Let us save the Earth and ourselves. God bless us all.