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Glaciers and Arctic Ice Are Vanishing. Time to Get Radical Before it's Too Late

Glaciers and Arctic Ice Are Vanishing. Time to Get Radical Before it's Too Late

Bill McKibben

orget “early warning signs” and “canaries in coalmines” – we’re now well into the middle of the climate change era, with its epic reshaping of our home planet. Monday’s news, from two separate studies, made it clear that the frozen portions of the Earth are now in violent and dramatic flux.

no doubt the situation is serious even if one it tempted to think there may be some cosmic justice involved in humanity’s suicidal policies.
But call to action doesn’t say what action can be agreed on - there is a lot of disagreement about the role of nuclear power, clearing of woods for solar “farms,” incentives to change our diet, what to do about aviation and electric cars, land use regulations, the role of relentless human population growth adding to the demand for everything…

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Hasn’t discussion of “human population growth” been taboo for at least 40 years ?

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Back in the days of the Vietnam War, the peace movement was decentralized and often spontaneous (local) small scale and even individual protest. Each time other like minded souls would join in in support. It is the common interest (Common Dream) if you will of many diverse people and differing approaches to the problem which will eventually carry the day. Right now ‘our’ goal is to shorten the time it takes to get everybody on board about climate change. That will of course happen eventually when things get bad enough but in the meantime each of us needs focus on where we can help as activists and people of good will towards the future of our planet in those areas where we can do the most good.

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Humans want stuff. They drill and dig and burn to get stuff. They worry about consequences later.

If at all.

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I do not know why it never seems to be reported, but as an Alaskan,resident I can tell what is not being reported, to my knowledge, is that millions of acres of Alaskan, forests are dying from beetle infestations which many claim is due to climate change, and whether true or not, it is a fact that is never seems to be addressed. I would like to see a headline:
ALASKA’S FORESTS ARE VANISHING.

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It could be the great North American forest is shrinking on both ends. Recent studies confirm what more and more Californians are seeing with their own eyes: the forest isn’t able to regenerate into these epic burn-scars, from San Diego up. Seedlings aren’t getting a foothold there.

Walking is pretty close to the meaning of my life (particularly since it usually involves dogs), and my enduring horror is seeing many Bay Area parks denuded of whole species at a sweep, for one reason or another. The Monterrey Cypress is a particular favorite of plein air oil painters, with braiding limbs and foliage perfect for dabbing in with a filbert brush. I haven’t heard anyone explain why the Monterrey Cypress is collapsing as a species.

I’m with you. I’d like to hear from some knee-deep arborists.

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Thank you for your reply.

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Our northern forests here in the lower 48 along the Great Lakes and New England are disappearing, too. Our forest experts have been seeing our northern forests retreating slowly northward for decades, now, and they have the data to back it up, as climate change allows more southern species to compete, along with more diseases and invasive species from the south. No area has been untouched by global warming.

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Here, too, in NE Washington State lower Selkirk Range, the forest is getting eaten by the beetles that aren’t being killed by winter cold. It used to get -35’F every winter which would wipe out the larva and that isn’t happening anymore. Instead of one generation every summer, we get two or even three due to the slow start of winter. They fly around in swarms!

And it isn’t just the pine bark; there is a Douglas Fir beetle that is now chewing into the Colville Nat. Forest (where my snowboarding hill is). Add in the seriously industrialized ‘investment’ corporate logging ops that are making the ridgelines look like a meth-head’s smile in every direction I look in. It’s brutal what they are doing to the mountains.

And it’s not just corporate, it’s the ‘private owners’ that are clearing off their property for cash.

Butchered is perhaps a more accurate word for both kinds of logging ops.

The ridgeline I live at 3,400 feet on was logged behind and above my property line in 2004 by an East Coast-corporate hedge fund investment firm and then again in 2008. They sold out to another East Coast investment corp who butchered it in 20012.

Everything that the state DNR (who seems to be mostly controlled by corporate money not good forest policy) requires to be left alive, the small stick trees and single standing, has pretty much died in the increasingly dryer and dying blown-off topsoil and hotter earlier Springs & hotter later Falls. What was left, the Red & White firs and Ponderosa pine mostly (as all the cedar etc etc were clear-cut years ago) are falling over. When they came back in 2012 they even took the dead firs that time. Nothing is growing above me and I now call it the Bald Knob.

raydelcamino: at 1,000,000 new mouths to feed every three or so days… The only comparison I can think of it that old bacteria in a petri dish experiment. How’d that turn out, eh?

Get Radical? Ain’t gonna happen because nobody wants to be shot, beat, or thrown in prison fighting the corporate state run by an oligarchy of very rich families. They don’t care about hurting you…never have as history shows how the wealthy owners treat dissidents to their policies.

As I’ve said before, this isn’t going to end well. We stepped off the cliff decades ago and are just now realizing it…Freaking scary it is.

sealintheSelkirks

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Not all of the invasive species have moved into turf that is suddenly exploitable due to warming temps, although many are. Global shipping is doing it, too. The emerald ash borer is one example. It arrived in Michigan within a wooden pallet. It’s spread to lots of other states since. Many millions of dead ash trees later, it’s a sad story.

Let’s face it, we wrecked the place.

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Great reply…thanks.

Yes, and it may be too late to stop it.

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Most certainly too late. We’re in an officially designated extinction event.

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No doubt about it at this point. The science is rock solid except for the absolutely radical acceleration of climate deterioration that the majority of ‘reputable’ scientists were far too conservative and fearful of being ridiculed and/or losing their status/university standings to admit the possibility of in the last 30 years. There were a few that were absolutely covered in slime that are now being listened to…sort of. The site Arctic.blogspot has 15 of them working together posting climate…really scary science. Don’t go there unless you want to read the reality and see the charts. Oh my.

We are far too late to stop it. And the way our species in general is heading obviously there won’t be any mitigating factors introduced by our wealthy masters. It would cut into the quarterly profit statements of the major corporations that own all the politicians. Wouldn’t want that.

We will (and already are) get to experience the full effects of this ongoing disaster in, as they say, realtime. I guess I should say disasters plural since there are so many happening coming at us from all directions.

This planet is a very small petri dish.

Most people I come in contact with refuse to connect the dots around the world since they are presented to them as separate events by the corporate MSM…and 90% or more get all their ‘news’ from corporate tv. It’s just too disturbing to read about and besides somebody twittered at me or texted or my FaceBelch just popped up and…distraction! Nobody has more than a 3-second attention span. That is truly disturbing.

Really, this isn’t going to end well.

sealintheSelkirks

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I’m old enough that I probably won’t see the worst of climate chaos.

Then again, at the rate it’s picking steam, as you note, faster than timid scientists were willing to admit, who knows what tragic events I’ll be around for. The drop in numbers of wild mammals has been just terrible.

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Profound condolences on your loss. As I get older, I get accustomed to my body heading downhill. Seeing the decline of a mountain mate who should be there as many more generations as it has already stood, alive – that’s a new depth of grief.

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When will the wrongful death and injury suits begin? First it will be one at a time. Then…

834 million standing dead trees in Colorado, mostly due to insects:

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I did a conference presentation today on why industrialized capitalism is incompatible with healing the planet, but not seeing forests regenerate is a fresh new thing to worry about. We desperately need to be able to re-forest hundreds of thousands of square miles, just in the US, to sequester carbon and protect biodiversity, but this makes healing even harder. The soil is getting dried out to to warming–because warmer air can hold more moisture.

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