There are many misguided politicians like Sarah Palin who believe they’re refusing to submit to peer pressure from the majority of world leaders who agree that global warming is dangerous. It’s not a good sign when non-experts like her are under the illusion that they are on the same level as individuals with a strong scientific background – Yes, she once said that she knows as much about science as Bill Nye. Even more worrying is her promotion of Climate Hustle, a film that rejects the threats posed by climate change altogether. Is it any surprise that this film was funded by the fossil fuel lobby?
Then we have Wei-Hock Soon, an aerospace engineer and researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who has testified before the US Congress that global warming can largely be explained by variations in the sun’s energy. According to him, humans have played a small role in causing climate change. But public documents state that he has received more than $1.2 million from the fossil-fuel industry over many years. The scientific papers he’s published have conveniently omitted this conflict of interest. He claims that corporate funding has not influenced his scientific findings, but can we really trust him? And how many more scientists are mere puppets of the fossil-fuel industry?
Climate change is real. Global warming is happening. How’s this for an example: Alaskan bears are becoming vegetarian, choosing berries over fish. Bears in a particular region of Alaska are choosing elderberries over sockeye salmon because warmer temperatures are causing the berries to ripen earlier than usual, at exactly the same time as the freshwater streams are overflowing with salmon. Bears in that particular region typically first feed on salmon early in the summer, followed by elderberries in late summer. But because the berries are ripening earlier and earlier over time, bears are choosing berries because it’s less energy-intensive than catching salmon. However, eating too many berries can cause rapid weight gain, not to mention they have less protein than salmon.
You might think, “Who the hell cares about some vegetarian bears up in Alaska?” But you should care because this is the start of a domino effect. This is simply one domino that has fallen, and a devastating chain reaction will follow. This small dietary change of Alaskan bears will eventually affect the entire ecosystem. Firstly, this will lead to an overpopulation of sockeye salmon. Unsustainable growth of one species is never good for an ecosystem as a whole. Secondly, when bears catch and eat salmon, they dispose of the salmon carcasses in the forest itself, which fertilizes and enriches the soil in the forest. But if bears aren’t eating salmon, then the soil doesn’t benefit. Time will determine what the other consequences are.
A simple google search will yield many, many more consequences of climate change. I myself have blogged about this issue before. The bottom-line is that we must all accept responsibility for what happens to our planet because if we don’t, we will be the first ones to suffer the consequences. Even if we do manage to colonize other planets in the future, we shouldn’t leave Earth in shambles, because it’s not like most species that live here will accompany us to other planets and they deserve better than to inherit a broken planet. A part of me hopes we don’t expand beyond Earth unless we clean up our act.