Selfishly Sacrificing Our Children and Grandchildren
We are irresponsibly dooming our children and grandchildren to disaster as we willfully ignore the warning signs of looming climate catastrophe that are all around us.
These signals are easy to identify and understand: Global temperatures are rising year after year. Multiple giant category 5 hurricanes and typhoons are becoming an annual occurrence as they devastate coastal cities around the world. Strings of tornados numbering in the hundreds are sweeping across the land for weeks on end leaving swaths of destruction in their wakes. Vast tracks of cropland flooded for months prevent farmers from planting the crops we all need to eat. Extended droughts causing too little water as opposed to an abundance. Gigantic wildfires wiping out whole towns resulting in the deaths of hundreds while destroying untold thousands of acres of forests and prairie lands. Overpowering summer heat waves on six continents triggering death among the poor, elderly and infirmed in inner cities everywhere. Glaciers and ice sheets in Antarctica (and elsewhere) collapsing before our eyes as their melting waters raise the sea to dangerously threatening levels. Need I go on?
All of these individual disasters can be traced back to one core event: Global warming. And global warming itself can be tracked to one group cause: Humanity. That’s right, you and me and our selfish lifestyles. And as things now stand, all of this is only going to get worse.
Day after day, seven billion plus people pump more and more greenhouse gases into our world’s atmosphere. That’s a number expected to reach nine billion by the 2050s. So, directly and indirectly, the chief cause of these problems is us and our reliance on fossil fuels, which we burn in profligately wasteful amounts to generate our electricity as well as power our cars, trucks, planes, ships, farm equipment, railroads, recreational vehicles, boats, and much more. All of which release carbon into the atmosphere creating endless amounts of greenhouse gasses. These in turn trap more and more of the heat from the sun that strikes our earth and oceans. The result is a chain of an ever-increasing escalation in our planet’s average temperatures. The bottom line is that our atmosphere is getting hotter year after year because of us.
None of this is a secret or surprising revelation. In 2015 the nations of the world came together for what is known as the Paris Climate Accords committing to holding the upper limits of world carbon emissions to 400 parts per million in order to restrict future world temperature rises to no more than two degrees Celsius. However, practically none of those nations are on track to achieve that goal.
Especially not the United States. In fact, in June 2017, our President pulled us out of those accords. Why? Because their implementation would be “unfair” to us. We’d have to spend proportionately more money to honor them than would China, Russia or India, for example. Who cares about saving the world and our children’s future?! We’d be taken advantage of by the other nations and our wealth would be unfairly reduced as compared to theirs. So, let’s just pretend that global warming and climate change aren’t real and sit back and see what happens, shall we?
But we can’t pretend these issues aren’t real any longer because we are simply running out of time. The UN and other scientific groups estimate that if we keep going forward with business as usual, we could reach 8 degrees of Celsius (14.4 degrees of Fahrenheit) of increased warming in the earth’s annual average temperatures by 2100. For comparison, the world’s Arctic and Antarctic ice shields face total collapse at anything above 2 degrees.
Such unchecked temperature increases spell disaster for human civilization worldwide. It would mean massive flooding of vast areas of the world as our sea levels climb. The tropics would become uninhabitable as they face heat waves approaching 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit while the rest of the world endures all the other climate disasters described above.
Think about it. By the year 2100, just 80 years from now, our children and grandchildren will be the ones who pay the price if our bet that global warming isn’t real turns out to be wrong.
But too many of us are willing to make that bet. We don’t want to face the sacrifices that will be required to avert such a disaster. We’re too comfortable leading a lifestyle of waste and neglect and too willing (or ignorant) to leave our kids to deal with the aftermath when we’re gone.
Wake up folks! It’s our problem, not theirs, because we created it. We need to cut the world’s carbon emissions by at least ten percent per decade starting now if we are to have any hope of averting the worst parts of all these calamities. And even then, we’ll still be paying a steep price in degradations to our way of life and that of future generations. But we must try! We have to forget who faces the heavier burden. This is a survival issue for humanity and bank accounts don’t matter. We, the U.S., must take the lead and be prepared to bear whatever the burden will be for the sake of our planet.
We can’t take the chance of being wrong. To do so would be to sacrifice all of humanity on the altars of the false gods of comfort and the almighty dollar, not unlike the pagans of the Old Testament who burned their children to death.
We, in effect, will be doing the same.