“Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice.” Robert Frost wasn’t referring to weather when he wrote these famous words, but as time passes and we are forced to watch our planet disintegrate in front of our own eyes, weather is exactly what we think of when it comes to devastation and the potential woes that face this Earth. Hurricane Sandy was not a surprise, we saw her coming from literally hundreds of miles away. The question that we must ask ourselves, however, is whether or not there was an underlying reason for her existence? A means by which we, as the dwellers of this planet, could assist to lessen the frequency of disasters we have recently had to endure?
The WWF’s Living Planet Report 2002 states that the Earth has about 11.4 billion hectares of productive space on land and sea, which means about 1.9 hectares for each of the 6 billion people on the planet. The average consumption per head of population is equivalent to about 2.3 hectares per person. Are you doing the math?? Scary isn’t it. This “ecological footprint” varies according to lifestyle. For example, the typical African consumes resources equivalent to 1.4 hectares of land. The average European consumes 5 hectares and it rises to 9.6 hectares for the typical American. This doesn’t look good for future generations, who will see a massive decline in living standards and will be forced to pay for the environmental abuse of their ancestors.
Are we foolish to believe that one act of environmental kindness per day could save our planet? Probably so (though it wouldn’t hurt). Is it crazy to think that our next president can turn things around for our children and our children’s children? Definitely. The uninformed conventional way of thinking is that “if we switch to clean energy we can turn things around.” Sadly, that isn’t true. The most important thing we can do now is continue to study our climates and stay educated about the current standing of our atmosphere. Seemingly, we will only be able to make decisions today to affect the latter half of the century. The oceans will continue to rise over the next 50 years no matter what we do; however the mega-hurricanes we can prevent will have to be prevented through study, careful observation and effort from us all. We must work to enhance the resilience of our
communities and their infrastructure.
Since the 1980’s the use of natural resources has consistently increased to supersede supply, and the rate at which resources are depleting is directly related to people chasing a higher standard of living, at the expense of “environmental degradation.” We simply cannot continue on this path to self-destruction. Unless the government and the people who embody this planet take urgent action to find and support a more sustainable way of life, human welfare will decline.
Claude Martin, the director of WWF International, said it best when he said “By continuing to abuse the biosphere, and through the inequitable sharing of the Earth’s resources, we undermine the chances of eradicating poverty, and put the whole of humanity under the threat of global climate change.”
It is with this “climate change” that we see storms such as Katrina and Sandy, or the 1035 tornadoes in just the United States this year alone. Whether you believe it or not, the natural disasters plaguing our planet are directly correlated to climate and how we treat the environment. If we continue on this path of destruction, within 50 years we will be exploiting resources equivalent to two planet Earths. Our children and grandchildren will not prosper under those circumstances. The east coast is slowly but surely pulling itself back together post Sandy, but as you look at the horrifying images of the damages caused in the low lying areas of New York or the Jersey shore, I ask you to look closely at the detail of those pictures. Look at the garbage floating in the water. Look at the shimmer of oils and toxins as they rise to the top of the flood waters and ask yourself, are you doing everything you can to protect your planet?
Robert Frost was referring to love when he wrote those famous words. As a human race, we are conceived in love, and we are taught to love all things, why shouldn’t that love extend to our planet? I urge you to decide…fire or ice? Personally, I choose neither. I choose love.
Earth Spinz contributor