Saturday, August 23, 2008

Climate Crisis & Sustainability Update: Today, the Polar Bears, Tomorrow, the Humans

Frida Kahlo's Roots

Climate Crisis & Sustainability Update: Today, the Polar Bears, the Day After Tomorrow, the Humans

By Richard Power

The polar bears as struggling for survival as their hunting grounds melt away from underneath them. Meanwhile, from Spain to the Himalayas, there is stark and immediate evidence that it is the humans who will soon be struggling.

It is in your own enlightened self-interest to be concerned about the possible extinction of other species. And it is a disturbing sign of human ignorance and spiritual immaturity that climate related stories do not lead the mainstream news every day.

Here are excerpts from four important and developing stories, with links to the full text. Read them, ponder their implications and then act with courage and urgency.

Scientists patrolling the skies off Alaska’s northwest coast say they observed nine polar bears swimming in open water, prompting some environmentalists to raise concerns about the species’ survival in a warming world. ...
”One of the bears was seen swimming at least 60 miles from the shore ..." the WWF quotes Geoff York, the polar bear coordinator for the advocacy group’s Arctic Programme, who says that polar bears that stray too far from land are at risk of drowning, especially if there is a storm.
Christian Science Monitor, 8-22-08

Spain is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years. Climate experts warn that the country is suffering badly from the impact of climate change and that the Sahara is slowly creeping north - into the Spanish mainland.
Yet in Spain itself there is little consensus about what is to be done. Indeed, such is the disagreement that journalists and politicians alike are calling it "water wars".
A farmer and politician, Angel Carcia Udon, said: "Water arouses passions because it can be used as a weapon, a political weapon, just as oil is a political weapon".
And water in Spain has set region against region, north against south and government against opposition.
Sue Lloyd-Roberts, BBC, 8-18-08

Climate change poses a serious threat to essential water resources in the Himalayan region putting the livelihoods of 1.3 billion people at risk, experts said Thursday.
The mountainous region, home to the world's largest glaciers and permafrost area outside the polar regions, has seen rapid glacial melting and dramatic changes in rainfall, experts at the World Water Week conference in Stockholm said.
"Himalayan glaciers are retreating more rapidly than anywhere else in the world," said Mats Eriksson, programme manager for water and hazard management at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development.
Agence France Press, 8-21-08

A spectre is haunting the cities and villages of most developing nations, warns a senior official of a World Bank-affiliated organisation.
"It's the spectre of a food, fuel and water crisis," says Lars Thunell, executive vice president of the Washington-based International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group.
"I believe we are at a tipping point," he said, because the scarcity of water poses a threat to the food supply just when the agricultural sector is stepping up production in response to riots over food prices, growing hunger, and rising malnutrition.
Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service, 8-22-08

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, click here.

Click here for access to great promotional tools available on The Eleventh Hour action page.

To sign the Live Earth Pledge, click here.

For analysis of the US mainstream news media's failure to treat global warming and climate change with accuracy or appropriae urgency, click here for Media Matters' compilation of "Myths and Falsehoods about Global Warming".

Want to participate in the effort to mitigate the impact of global warming? Download "Ten Things You Can Do"

Want to join over one million people on the Stop Global Warming Virtual March, and become part of the movement to demand our leaders freeze and reduce carbon dioxide emissions now? Click here.

Center for American Progress Action Fund's Mic Check Radio has released a witty and compelling compilation on the Top 100 Effects of Global Warming, organized into sections like "Global Warming Wrecks All the Fun" (e.g., "Goodbye to Pinot Noir," "Goodbye to Baseball," "Goodbye to Salmon Dinners," "Goodbye to Ski Vacations," etc.), "Global Warming Kills the Animals" (e.g., "Death March of the Penguins," "Dying Grey Whales," "Farewell to Frogs," etc.) and yes, "Global Warming Threatens Our National Security" (e.g., "Famine," "Drought," "Large-Scale Migrations," "The World's Checkbook," etc.) I urge you to utilize Top 100 Effects of Global Warming in your dialogues with friends, family and colleagues.

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