Will Today’s Children Be Left in the Lurch on Future Planet Earth?
What will Earth’s climate in the future be like? Today’s children will have no choice but to spend the majority of their time in whatever we leave them.
As anyone today who pays even the slightest bit of attention to what 98% of world scientists have been warning us, the consequences of our unprecedented and continued combustion of massive quantities of the earth’s fossil fuels – primarily in transportation, heating and electricity use – over the past several centuries will likely be dire.
The continuing build up of more and more greenhouse gases in our atmosphere (and oceans) from too much fossil fuel burning will likely leave our planet as a sickening place for today’s children, or children to be, to live.
The earth’s atmosphere will trap more radiation thus more heat from the Sun, making weather storm systems much more potent and deadly than those of today.
The water levels of the earth’s oceans will continue rising, warming and the oceans will become more acidic, causing intolerable conditions for many of our oceans’ species. Ecological and biological systems everywhere are likely to be severely impacted. Sustaining life (and living) will become more difficult on Future Planet Earth. If we continue our ecologically reckless burning of fossil fuels, even at the level we burn them now, today’s children and future children will have to pay the price of that overindulgence. The way we are living now is unsustainable, and how long our present day Earth will remain hospitable for human beings and animals to live is limited. Many known “positive global warming feedbacks”, such as more methane releases by the increasing thawing of the permafrost region; and increasing solar radiation absorption (heating) of the Arctic ocean waters due to replacement of its snow and ice cover with its darker, more sunlight-absorbing, sea water are quite probably already kicking in. Once those feedback systems approach their maximum, global warming could take on the characteristics U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently described as: “the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction”, and moreover that “the science of climate change is leaping out at us like a scene from a 3D movie… It’s warning us; it’s compelling us to act” (Kerry).
President John F. Kennedy once famously said: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
Not many Americans these days must be thinking about the meaning of those words as so many in particular take round-trip flights by jet to far away places, yearly, which requires the burning immense amounts of fossil fuels, especially in take-off and cruising very long distances.
A prime example here in Wisconsin is Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) and Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) are sponsoring round-trip vacations for anyone who’s willing to pay them to arrange flights to Hawaii, Ireland, the Mediterranean, and New York City this year. More trips are being planned to other exotic places, as well. In addition to those people not spending their money to help out our state’s economy, those excursions contribute to the many tons of greenhouse gases from the jet airliners flying those tourists to their destinations and back to the Badger State over the course of those flights. I have informed WPR that flying by jet is without question the worst thing individuals can do if their goal is to minimize their greenhouse gas emissions. It appears they care only about making money off these excursions and care little or not at all about the perils of a warming planet they are helping to cause by arranging these exotic trips. It’s shameful.