Global warming and the fight to save the Earth

Published 2:50 pm Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The decade 2000-2009 has been declared by the United Nations to be the warmest decade on record, and another sign that the Earth is warming.

Also, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared the pollution that causes global warming to be a threat to human health and the environment, a declaration that is certain to stir a storm of protests and hand-wringing from those who want to do nothing except continue with business as usual regardless of the dangers to all of us.

As this warming has been occurring, several things apparently have been happening. The obvious ones include things such as the decline of the Polar ice cap and the climb up the mountains of the lowest elevations at which snow pack and ice can be found year round.

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The less obvious ones are the disappearance of some species of life as the conditions in which they live warm to levels at which they can’t live, a warming that can be as little as a half-degree, or even less, on average.

Man, with his ability to put on and take off clothing, is the only creature on Earth that can adapt to most any climate conditions in which he finds himself, and that may be the reason that some people still deny that global warming is taking place, regardless of what science and observable conditions reveal. If something doesn’t directly affect some folks, then it isn’t happening, or at least that’s what they want to tell themselves and try to convince the rest of us to believe.

Some species can move from climates that are becoming too warm to climates more to their suiting, but others can’t. The most obvious of those that can’t move is the polar bear, and that simply is because the polar bear lives in the coldest places already. Still others can’t move because they don’t have legs, or because they live in specific ecosystems that take time, often eons, to develop.

Recently, we have seen manatees, a species once found in the United States only in South Florida, around New Orleans and Mobile and along the northern Gulf Coast, even last year in Lake Pontchartrain. One was even reported in waters around Massachusetts and conservationists concerned with the species survival say that its continuing movement to waters outside of its historic range are going to have them working on new solutions for its long term survival.

Conditions probably are not favorable for the manatee to live year round in these more northern climes just yet, but with the manatee beginning to be found in more northerly waters than previously, the conditions certainly must be becoming more favorable, that is warmer.

Still, there are those who deny that global warming is even happening and others who say it has happened before and therefore is a natural phenomena, not affected by man. I guess those folks believe people are artificial and not natural.

Yes, the Earth has warmed before, and from the production of carbon dioxide and other gases that trap heat and cause global warming. Massive forest fires and other carbon dioxide producing events have occurred before man had much to do with causing the development of excessive carbon dioxide. Today’s forest fire, though, is man. Unlike earlier sources of carbon dioxide and heat-trapping gases, man doesn’t have to burn until all the available fuel is exhausted, or all humans are dead or have migrated to some other planet far away, or some other event, out of the control of man, comes along to stop the production of the global warming fumes.

Man can use the brain he was given to devise ways to reduce, even vastly reduce, his production of those gases that contribute to global warming. There are those who say man can’t do enough in reducing carbon production to have an effect on global warming, but those are probably the folks whose defeatist attitudes would have had them lobbying for surrendering to the Japanese and Nazis at the beginning of World War II.

The defeatists were in charge when this nation decided not to sign the Kyoto treaty and probably will be advising against signing onto any pact that comes out of Copenhagen with the goal of reducing the gases that cause global warming.

This nation never progressed or accomplished any good thing by listening to defeatists. We shouldn’t listen to them now. We should embrace and promote the efforts that are showing some progress at reducing the production of the noxious fumes that threaten us and our environment.

In other words, we should embrace progress, as we always have, and lead the rest of world in this progress, as we always have.