Ten Ways Mother Earth Will Strike Back

Ice Age Cometh

Deniers love the aforementioned record-breaking storms, because it’s hard for their tiny brains to comprehend that catastrophic climate change could simultaneously feature both deep freezes and ferocious firestorms. (They just can’t figure out why snow won’t make the words “global warming” go away.) The first decade of this still-new century was the hottest on record, yet our recent winter was wetter and colder than average. That dynamic flux is central to global warming, at least for now, as changing atmospheric flows remake the environmental map of the world. What we end up with once the new normal settles down, no one really knows.

In fact, it could be another ice age, at least for some parts of the world endangered by disruptions in thermohaline circulation and other possibilities. It happened after the Medieval Warm Period, and it can happen again. Which means that deniers pointing to deep freezes as evidence against global warming might be frozen before they realize how wrong they are. Oh well.

Deforestation Dystopia

What’s as bad as global carbon dioxide emissions from planes, trains and automobiles?

Deforestation, which accounts for around 20 percent of the CO2, currently at an all-time high, belched into the air every year.

Cutting down forests, which are carbon sinks, in order to build wood and paper crap like the Wall Street Journal that we’re just going to throw away and burn into the atmosphere later is an unclassifiable kind of dumb.

Magnetic Mourning

Stephen Hawking once publicly worried that runaway greenhouse gases could eventually turn our verdant Earth into the celestial hellhole known as Venus. But what probably helped turn a once-oceanic Venus into that hellhole is a relative lack of a magnetic field, like the one we have on Earth that shields us from the sun’s interstellar ferocity. But for how long?

As recently discovered, Earth’s protective magnetic field is 250 million years older than previously thought. Now a ripe age of 3.5 billion years, our magnetic field could be weakening, and that weakening could turn us into Mars, not Venus, or even lead to the type of geomagnetic reversal that terrorized audiences in Roland Emmerich’s disaster porn movie, 2012.

What’s this got to do with global warming? Well, that depends on who you talk to. Some scientists believe that an already weakening magnetic field is causing global warming, but it’s probably only a matter of time before that arrangement is flipped. Fucking with a planet’s stable temperature and atmospheric flows tends to encourage these things. Who knows what that’s doing to the Earth’s core? Who wants to find out?

Demographics of Death

Tired of the bring-downs? Cheer up, pal! Demographics, not just facts, could be against the deniers as well. The median age of network and cable viewers grows older by the year, as those outlets decide to either avoid covering global warming or, like Fox News, glorify the deniers.

Even U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu admits the denier campaigns are led by global warming’s future losers, who will eventually have to bow to reality. Last year, ad revenue for newspapers and networks continued to decline, while it increased online, where the diversity of opinion and information on matters of great importance like global warming is much greater.

Only Fox News managed to stave off the old media bloodbath, but its viewers are continually dumber than everyone else. The trend is obvious: The more global warming wears on, the more evidence for its ascendancy piles up, and the more skeptics, graying and irrelevant, fall by the wayside. Now that climate-change believers in the White House are teaming up with Hollywood to spread the word, you can practically hear the skeptics aging by the minute.

Cosmological Constant

The list above is compelling enough to convince you that deniers are dancing on the graves of their reputations, to say nothing of reality itself. But we science-minded world citizens share one major commonality with them: The planet will probably outlive us both, no matter what happens.

In a billion years, the sun’s luminosity will likely increase, stripping Earth of its oceans and vegetation. By then, one can hope we have evolved enough to realize that no intelligent design can save us, that we’re lucky to be spinning on a green and blue rock through the void of space. If we do, it’s likely we’ll have worked out a way to migrate to a more suitable planet and save our sorry hides. But that would mean getting through less existentially obvious hoops like global warming, which isn’t currently going so great.

It’s just a question of time, which is ridiculous if you think about it: We wouldn’t even understand time were it not for the gravitational ballet of our solar system. But here we are, at the dawn of the 21st century, trying to avoid the revelation that we are not God’s lucky children, but Earth’s lucky children, and we should be taking much better care of our sandbox. Or else.

This article appeared at AlterNet

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