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UN Assessment: Global Destruction of Mother Earth on Fast Track


#1

UN Assessment: Global Destruction of Mother Earth on Fast Track

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

With no region of the Earth untouched by the ravages of environmental destruction, the state of the world's natural resources is in a rapid downward spiral, a comprehensive assessment by the United Nations has found.

Published Thursday, Global Environmental Outlook from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) involved the expertise of more than 1,200 scientists and over 160 governments, and exposes through reports on each of the world's six regions that the rate of environmental deterioration is occurring faster than previously thought.


#2

Pretty sure there aren't glaciers in the arctic as there is no land mass in the arctic for glaciers to lie upon. Perhaps the author is using a different working definition than I am?


#3

Who was this report written for? Was it to inform the public? Well we know already. Was it written to convince governments then? Ah, there lies the rub. They know too but corruption rules and counters scientific reports doesn't it?

Maybe the time has come for scientists to start writing reports on how do we get governments to pay attention to reports like this one? Maybe it is time for people to stop waving these reports under the noses of their governmental representatives (who also know by now too but don't care when they are offered money to not care)?

Maybe we need reports on how to get past the stage of trying to convince people who don't want to know anyway and learn how to actually do the things recommended in reports like this one?

Maybe... We have run out of time and need to start doing instead of just trying to convince.


#4

Greenland is covered by glaciers and is in the Arctic. So are some glaciated mountainous parts of Scandinavia and Alaska and Siberia.


#5

There are Arctic glaciers, which is why the report cites "dropping levels of summer sea ice extent" and "glacier ice loss" as two separate categories.


#6

The ground breaking 1972 study "Limits to Growth" details the exponential nature of the feedback loops driving resource depletion and the (then "potentially") catastrophic buildup of CO2 in our atmosphere, and includes an interesting illustrative riddle:

If the number of lily pads in a pond doubles every day, how much of the pond will be covered exactly one day before the pond is completely covered?

The answer, obviously, is one day.

What's happening globally is an untold number of interlockng problems growing exponentially and feeding into each other - hyperexponential growth.

As warmer temperatures cause ageold snowpacks to melt, revealing the dark rock or earth below, the region absorbs more sunlight the white snow used to reflect away from the planet. As the snow becomes water it flows into the oceans reducing the salinity, warming the ocean. The warmed ocean warms the air, causing more snow to melt.

That's just one of countless interlinked feedback loops driving the impending disaster.

Is it too late to turn back? Yes.
Is it too late to plan intelligently for our dystopian future? No, but time is running out.


#7

From the article, commenting on the UNEP report:
"It is essential that we understand the pace of environmental change that is upon us," stated UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

And then:
"If current trends continue and the world fails to enact solutions that improve current patterns of production and consumption, if we fail to use natural resources sustainably, then the state of the world's environment will continue to decline," Steiner said, emphasizing the urgency "to work with nature instead of against it to tackle the array of environmental threats that face us."

i absolutely agree with both Steiner's cited statements, but i cringe at his soft-pedal phrase "the world's environment will continue to decline."

On geologic time scales, the world's environment is in a process of sudden ecological collapse. We humans generally have not been able to grasp the climatic and ecological changes underway until very recently, since we live our brief lives on human time scales. But the fact now that those of us who have been here a few decades can, absolutely unmistakably, recognize experientially that the climate and the ecology are changing, means that these changes are incredibly, amazingly rapid in an ecological frame of reference.

In fact, scientists who study the geological record of life on Earth, say that the pace of today's ecological disruption is faster than took place during Earth's previous 5 "great extinction events."

Again, we can't really grasp this comparison experientially, but the fact that we can all notice clear climate and ecological changes just over the past decade, means the rate of environmental change on the geologic time scale graph has just shot straight upward in a sudden hyperbolic curve.

A process of "decline" sounds like some slow, steady reduction, but the reality is a sharp, sudden, and accelerating dis-integration of the complex ecological web that we are part of.

Red alert, emergency measures, "all hands on deck," and fundamental transformation of the economy - "to work with nature instead of against it," ignoring and overriding the entrenched interests that claim to "own" and "profit from" the economy - are what is called for.


#13

Greenland ice-cap?


#14

"While the UN body said there was still time to address many of the threats, urgent action, it stressed, was key."

Clearly, a report written by an Englishman. Who else but an Englishman could achieve such an understatement about a matter of such importance and urgency?


#15

Sounds to me like what is the difference between a duck.Obviously; one of its legs is both the same.


#16

It is interesting that this is an anthropocentric discussion with many sound comments. However, what society can do in the future is very dependent on the services provided by the irrevocably aging infrastructure that has been built up by using limited natural resources. This development process has been the primary cause of the predicaments discussed here. The fact is that it has had the unintended consequences of rapid irreversible climate change and ocean acidification, pollution and warming was due to lack of understanding. That has happened and the best that society can do is adopt measures, including reducing the use of fossil fuels as rapidly as may be practical, to adapt to what industrialized civilization has done wrong. That will require a profound culture change in all levels of society. The UN assessment and the comments here can help in that process but society at large, especially at the highest levels has yet to wake up.


#18

Mahalo Andrea Germanos and Common Dreams. I shared your article on Twitter and Facebook. I also shared your headline on the public bus today by holding my device on my forehead. This is what I wrote on FaceBook:
//
THE PROBLEMS SURROUNDING SUPPORT FOR HILLARY CLINTON GOES WELL BEYOND POLITICS AND SHORT TERM PRAGMATISM, ITS A MATTER OF UNIVERSAL ETHICS, SURVIVAL AND SUSTAINABILITY - Our Common Evolutionary Challenge Before Us.

Hillary is a bloody war lord murderer, a liar, fraudster and theft - did i mention oppressor and sneak? And apparently this election is filtering USA into birds of a feather casts.

Those who lay Hillary Clinton out for what she really is are a) very concerned for life and all things, and b) truthful.

"Steve" a guy, today in defense of Clinton says: "You make snide and negative remarks towards Hillary supporters. You get what you give."

I expect her supporters think I'm arrogant when I say that such a comment sounds like an outburst to the judge from a convicted criminal who is still in their bubble of self righteousness and indignation - but they are not only guilty but in contempt of court too - perhaps some timeout will wake them up.

I guess if you believe the world can only trade in war, oil lies and corruption then of course your going to be a Clinton establishment supporter - you maybe even be right for the next couple of years but believe me the Earth is going to bite you so hard in the ass you will choose euthanasia or suicide rather than slow suffocation.

And if you think its just Biblical prophesy and you believe in heaven, hell and Jesus Christ's forgiveness then I have contempt for you as a lazy, ignorant, irresponsible creature who has never faced up to your evolutionay fullness and duty let alone the copyright owners of The Bible.

//


#19

True Supporters of Ms. Hillary Clinton?... It is very unclear why the 99% of the population support Hillary. If you are amongst the 1%elite or amongst the Big Corporate Interest of Big Pharma, Big Fossil Fuels, Big Finance, Big Box Corporate Stores, yes I get that. Or if you want to have the 1st women as President (just for the sake of accomplishing that goal) ok (dangerous, but similar to having the 1st "Black" President in office). These two barriers are important, if the person taking office would actually implement certain changes......

So if you vote for Clinton,
1. Everything Corporate will become more so.... the acceleration of a global, corporate model will continue.
2. Climate Change will accelerate and worsen....as she is in full support of Big Fossil Fuel; I don't recall Clinton addressing her view of Climate Change.
3. More War and expansion of the US Global empire. More Weapon sales to the world.
4. No Single Payer Health Care...only the expansion of an Insurance-Based scheme...and continued support of Big Pharma...and thus no room to negotiate drug prices from them.
5. Big Finance.. the creation of more Too Big to Fail situations and organizations.
6. It will be the acceleration of the Status quo and movement way to the right..

Reasons to Vote for Hillary:
1. You do not want Trump to be elected. (Fearful of a greater evil)
2. You want to see the first women elected to this office in your lifetime ( a fear that we may not have another chance).
3. You are amongst the 1% elite and you want to protect your position....


#21

Ah yes, because vocabulary is the important issue here!


#22

Killary is SO disgusting, just speaking the truth about her makes one seem like they're going off the deep end. Same with Trump.

And wow, your last paragraph rings a truth that resonates in my entire extended family. It's positively maddening how so many people in these modern times of evidentiary science can still believe in the invisible man in the sky who's going to come back and take them to heaven. Therefore, it doesn't matter what happens to the Earth because they're going to be walking on streets of gold soon.


#23

This comment was supposed to be under Mossonarock's first comment about "glaciers in the arctic."


#24

"To be innocent in a time of radical evil is to be complicit."
Hanna Arendt


#25

The planet burns while governments fiddle. We're going to have to take this into our hands, people. This really has become a case of acting locally, thinking globally, and forcing political change. It happens in the streets not at the ballot box. Should Bernie win, he needs that movement in the streets as he will be burdened with a recalcitrant Congress. Should someone else win, we will need that movement in the streets because we will be burdened with the corporatist state, whose only purpose is to make profits for their shareholders.


#26

There many types of evil. The ones most people think about are the intentional evils - somebody doing something bad on purpose. Then there are evils that aren't intentional but cause bad stuff to happen like driving while drunk.
And there are evils that are both intentional and at same time unintended like drilling for oil in the arctic even though the risk is great and then an accident occurs.
Are fossil fuel companies doing evil? If so does that include us, their customers with our profligate use of energy?

I think evil has to be intentional but let's be real here. You can't drive at 130 miles per hour and then say you didn't intend to cause an accident. You intentionally risked other people's lives. I think at this point that fossil fuels have to go. It takes time to accomplish that but if you do something specifically to delay that switch or to prevent that switch from happening then you take on responsibility for doing great harm which will result in the deaths of people indirectly.

You may not have intended to cause an accident when you drove so fast but you did choose to drive that fast and that caused the fatal accident. To choose to place others at risk was the evil even though you never intended to cause anyone harm.you did intend to place them at risk of being harmed.


#27

You may want to actually look at a map of the Arctic. Almost all of Greenland is in the Arctic as well as large swaths of northern Europe, Canada, Russia and the United States.