Friday, May 29, 2009

The health effects of climate change

Today, various sites discussed the Global Humanitarian Forum report as found here

warning that climate change is already impairing human health and will to do so to a far greater degree in the future. Following are my comments to a couple of websites in response to this study:

1 The climate has already changed and will continue to become ever more destabilized and chaotic. This is killing the ecosystems all over the world which evolved to live in the climate that existed before humans started burning fossil fuels on a huge scale. Anyone who possesses a rudimentary familiarity with Darwinian evolution should be able to see this is obvious and predictable. Ecosystems are a balance of organisms that occupy very specific niches. As soon as one factor changes, such as temperature or precipitation, everything else must adjust. The problem is, we have changed both temperature and precipitation patterns faster than long-lived species can adapt. Trees that live decades or even centuries are simply going to die, along with everything else that depends on their shade, fruits and nuts.

2. to ZS, (who posted this at

The GHF report is important because it strongly supports the message that climate change is happening NOW. It’s crucial that we communicate that reality to people because there is a mainstream perception that this is a problem that will only affect our grandchildren, or that is at least 20-30 years in the future. I think that action on climate change is directly correlated with perception of the distance of the threat, whether temporally or spatially - if people think that climate disaster is several decades away, or that it won’t really make much of a difference where they live, the chance of a meaningful response is close to nil.)

I wrote:

I couldn't agree more with everything you said, thank you for putting it so concisely. This is why I am making as much of a fuss as I can about trees (the other is that losing trees especially among other forms of nature is personally heartbreaking to me).

I keep hoping that once people with the highest carbon footprint in the world notice that they are destroying their own backyard (not to mention any possibility of passing on to their children the world they are accustomed to...the one with trees, birds, butterflies, maple syrup and apple cider, nuts and peaches) maybe they will start taking seriously our collective and individual obligation - which is to force our elected officials to legislate measures to save us from runaway warming before it's not just the ecosystems that collapse (that is already a given) but human civilization as well.

Okay that was a run-on sentence.

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