Tag Archives: climate change

We’re Getting Hotter by the Year!

A Happy New Year to all our readers, contributors, subscribers, and supporters, both here and abroad!

Photo of the Emigrant Peak, seen from Paradise Valley, Montana

Emigrant Peak, seen from Paradise Valley, Montana. Photo by Paul Dix.

Did you read that 2023 was the hottest year for as long as human beings have been on the planet? According to research 2023 was the HOTTEST year in at least the last 100,000 years! Don’t get confused just because there are a few regional cold spells—like the upcoming Deep Freeze in much of North America later this week and the recent Arctic Blasts in Scandinavia and Northern Europe!

Common Dreams and other news media reported (on January 9, 2024) that global average temperature in the year 2023 was 14.98°C—that’s 0.17°C warmer than 2016 (the previous warmest year), 0.60°C warmer than the 1991-2020 average, and 1.48°C warmer than the 1850-1900 (pre-industrial) level, according to the scientists at the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. And, the prediction is that this year, 2024, will be warmer than 2023! Why do scientists predict more of the same in 2024?

The global oceans paint a better picture of what is happening in the climate world because the heat gets absorbed in ocean waters. A study published on January 11th in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences states that the upper 2,000 meters of the global ocean was estimated to have an additional 15 zettajoules of energy in 2023 compared to the 2022 amount. The Chinese Academy of Sciences estimates that the world’s economy requires about half a zettajoule of energy to run every year, that means, the oceans gained 30 times the annual energy needs of the world. Fifteen zettajoules would be enough to boil 2.3 billion Olympic-sized swimming pools of water . About 90 % of the energy produced by global fossil fuels use is stored in the world’s oceans. Therefore, the ocean is warming consistently, year over year to new record levels, due to this increase in ocean heat content. The resulting increased ocean water temperatures fuel the weather systems bringing intense heat waves, hurricanes, and big storms—high winds and dump heavy precipitations.

The Paris COP agreement was to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C over the pre-industrial levels. Obviously, most countries will not meet that target because we continue to depend greatly on the use of fossil fuels—coal, oil, natural gas (fracked gas).

Unfortunately, the recent COP 28 international conference (like most of the previous ones) was not much more than a hot air balloon, and the next one—COP 29 is likely to be no different. So disappointing! What can we expect when these climate conferences are dominated by oil producing countries and thousands of black gold lobbyists?

We need hundreds of thousands of nature educators, activists and nature protectors of all ages, like the late Rachel Carson (author and marine biologist, USA), Sir David Attenborough (of UK), Bill McKibben (Co-founder of 350.org, USA), Greta Thunberg (from Sweden), Ilyess El Korbi (from Ukraine, Morocco, and now Germany), Elizabeth Wathuti (of Kenya), Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (Native American from USA), Maria Reyes (of Mexico), Amma (from India), Tahsin Uddin (in Bangladesh) and Leah Namugerwa (of Uganda), people from all over the globe to wake us up from our slumber—to educate us and demand a change in the ways our industries, businesses, systems, people, and governments have been damaging and destroying the planet’s natural systems.

Won’t you become a change maker in your school, community, region or nation—wherever you are?

Presented by Arun N. Toké, editor. Based largely on several news reports published by Common Dreams (Jan. 9 and Jan. 11, 2024)

What Would Our Ancestors Think

Art and Poem by Daniel Liu, age 16, New York.

There is constant talk

Of the world ending in three days

Or is it four years, or five decades, but definitely when

the polar bears start swimming to New York

The sea groans and rumbles

As waves upon waves of human trash clog her up

She sniffles amidst the crushing silence

Sea snot collects on her waves

History starts to crumble

Our oldest trees cut down

Nature groans and shakes

In a futile effort to stop the abuse

The planet prepares itself for destruction

The pain is unlike anything she has ever experienced before

Crops shrivel up in the infernos that run rampant across the landscape           

Such displays are necessary to attract humanity’s short attention span

Animals feel nature’s anguish

They flee North

Until they cannot go any further

More lives snuffed out by humanity’s greed

The most vulnerable of the population suffer

Heat waves overwhelm the wounded, elderly, and sick

Surely we did not mean to wage warfare on the defenseless

But it is only a matter of time before conditions deteriorate further

Schoolchildren sullenly trudge across the parched land

The sky turns black as clouds suddenly gather

They look up, hopeful for the touch of the fabled snowflake

Warm rain drizzles, then the omnipresent sun returns 

In some places floods wash away human remains

Our ancestors disturbed by Nature’s wrath

They weep as they behold the desolate world around them

For the fate of the next generation

Art and Poem by Daniel Liu, age 16, New York.

Daniel Liu adds: “I am a sixteen year old writer that lives in New York. I am very passionate about the issue of climate change, as it is an enduring issue that grows ever larger with each generation and is deserving of attention from all of society. These poems are a testament to the various consequences of climate change in every aspect of society, from agriculture to insurance. To this extent, I hope that these poems are enough to inspire a sense of alarm for the Earth’s future, but just as importantly, hope that humanity can unify in order to reverse the ecological damage that has been done. It is in times of great crisis that innovation and change are at their peak, and humanity’s resilience is shown through our uplifting moments.”

The First Casualties in the War Against Earth

Art and poem by Daniel Liu, age 16, New York.

Wind blows from the four corners of the earth

With the roar of a thousand lions

The house stands in the aftermath

Partially caved in

The family laments their loss

Mother Nature will not be denied

Ink pens scratch on paper

Now their fate is in the hands of companies

Premiums and deductibles

The economic jargon of insurance

When it is time to cover damages

They cringe and make excuses

The desperate family feels the vicious sting of betrayal

When Insurance blacklists the entire zip code

Businessmen reassure themselves of their morality

Accepting this debt will only cause their bankruptcy

But what of

The newborn baby, still fresh from the womb

The elderly grandparents, who have worked decades to afford the house

The first casualties of the consequences of the war humans wage on the planet

How long must the injustice go on

How many icebergs must melt

The gushing stream of the Earth’s blood

Will overwhelm us if change is not forthcoming

Art and poem by Daniel Liu, age 16, New York.

Daniel Liu adds:

“I am a sixteen year old writer that lives in New York. I am very passionate about the issue of climate change, as it is an enduring issue that grows ever larger with each generation and is deserving of attention from all of society. These poems are a testament to the various consequences of climate change in every aspect of society, from agriculture to insurance. To this extent, I hope that these poems are enough to inspire a sense of alarm for the Earth’s future, but just as importantly, hope that humanity can unify in order to reverse the ecological damage that has been done. It is in times of great crisis that innovation and change are at their peak, and humanity’s resilience is shown through our uplifting moments.”

Snap Out of It

By Bella Melardi, Grade 11, Ontario, Cananda

Information is resistance. It will open our eyes. Awareness is change. The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging there is one. Let the existence of the climate crisis sink in. This is a reality check. Get out of your own heads. Snap out of it.

People’s lives are at stake. Climate change doesn’t affect everyone equally. People in power and people with privilege will not feel Mother Nature’s wrath the way minorities do. People will use their wealth and privilege as ‘band aids’ to block out destruction.

You can already see the effect that pollution is having on minorities in Canada. McGill Daily states, “In October 2020, over 250 Neskantaga residents were evacuated and transferred to a hotel in Thunder Bay after “an oily sheen was found in the Neskantaga water reservoir;” “high levels of hydrocarbons” were discovered in the water after testing.” The chemicals we created are destroying communities. They are festering in our waterways like tumors, spreading disease.

This destruction can also be seen through the construction of Line 3. Line 3 is a pipeline expansion that was just completed in September 2021. This pipeline will transport almost a million barrels of toxic tar sand oil per day from Alberta to Wisconsin. An oil spill would mean damage to coastal communities (near Lake Superior) and the wildlife, such as salmon and orca . StopLine3.org states, “Line 3 would violate the treaty rights of Anishinaabe peoples and nations in its path wild rice is a centerpiece of Anishinaabe culture, it grows in numerous watersheds Line 3 seeks to cross. It’s well past time to end the legacy of theft from and destruction of Indigenous peoples and territories.”

It is disgusting that our government allowed this pipeline to be built. They choose oil over preserving life! The people in power have to wake up! We have to find a new renewable resource. We have to act now. Researchers have found that we’ll likely cross the threshold for dangerous warming between 2027 and 2042. In 2042, I will only be 35 years old.

If you leave it up to my generation, it will be too late. We must all do better. Urge your elected officials to remove Line 3. Urge them to create a plan to invest in solar, wind or hydropower. We must switch to a renewable resource now! Increase the carbon tax. Instead of using tax dollars to invest in Line 3, the government should have used them to benefit the future of society. The Canadian government has to make stopping climate change a priority.

I want to help stop this but I feel so powerless. Corporations value making money over the future of their children. They value making money over minorities’ lives. Capitalism has caused people to become so consumed with greed. They are putting lives at stake. Mother Nature is bleeding. Humans are tearing out her skin and cutting her flesh. The earth is coughing up ash and choking on our greed. When will the earth’s heart give out?

This is my final plea to the people in power. You are selfish. You are killing us. You have already ruined the lives of countless Indigenous communities. You may not be affected by climate change right now but Indigenous people are. My generation will be. Our futures will rise up in flames. I don’t understand why you can be so selfish? Was it worth it? I hope you’re happy. You are exchanging lives for dollars. I hope it’s worth it.

We have to end the cycle of greed and suffering. Information is resistance. Open your eyes. Awareness is change. Use this awareness to get out of your own heads. Remove the shackles of greed that are binding you to your destructive choices. Think of the world around you. Here is a reality check.

Snap out of it.

Bibliography

Canada, Environment and Climate Change. “Government of Canada.” Canada.ca, Gouvernement Du Canada, 3 Mar. 2021, https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/environmental-indicators/progress-towards-canada-greenhouse-gas-emissions-reduction-target.html

Board, Editorial, and Editorial Board. “Neskantaga First Nation Still Doesn’t Have Clean Water.” The McGill Daily, 22 Jan. 2021, https://www.mcgilldaily.com/2021/01/neskantaga-first-nation-still-doesnt-have-clean-water/

Global Warming

By Derek Meng, age 10, California.

Glaciers melting, polar bears dying

Sea levels rising, floods occurring

Fire’s spreading, lightning’s striking

Tornadoes and tsunamis ruining houses and killing

More and more natural disasters happening

Virus spreading, people dying

Have you ever thought about who has caused this trouble?

You might say it’s nature, but do you think of us

and our broken relationship with nature?

Carbon dioxide coming out of cars

Trees going down

Thousands of dead, unwanted fish thrown overboard

Tons of unused food discarded

These are few examples of what’s happening in our world

Then how can we help nature?

If you have thought, “How can we help Earth?”

Then here are some things we can do:

Reuse, reduce, recycle

Use reusable bags

Use reusable bottles

Plant trees

Pick up trash

Save electricity by turning off lights

Use renewable energy

These are a few ways we can help

Have you ever thought what a beautiful world it would be

If we could make Earth—our home—clean?

“I am Chinese and I live in California. I am bilingual—I speak both Chinese and English fluently, I can also read and write these two languages.

My Global Warming poem was inspired by climate change. I want people to know that our world may soon be inhabitable if we do not change our ways. 

My vision of the future is the past combined with the present, all the trees should be restored to extract all that extra carbon dioxide [from the atmosphere], our houses should be ecosystem-friendly, and every vehicle should run on electricity. This is because of what I think is important, which is the world, the environment, and my family.”

—Derek Meng, age 10, California.