From Florida to Western Australia, our brethren and sistren, the bottlenose dolphins, are dying horribly. The culprits are the moneyed, banker-backed, government subsidized villains: Big Oil, Big Gas and Big Coal.
Each second, the heat from combusting fossil fuels is the equivalent of dropping five Hiroshima-style bombs into the oceans. Since 1994, that’s 3.6 billion atomic bombs worth of fossil fuel heat absorbed by the oceans. The oceans drive Earth’s habitable climate.
For every 1oC (1.8oF) increase, Earth’s atmosphere holds seven percent more moisture. Hence there are more extreme climate rain events today compared with a quarter century ago.
That means when climate hurricanes, cyclones, typhoons and other behemoth low pressure climate cell’s park themselves and dump trillions of gallons of precipitation all at once, the oceanic salt content surrounding the continents plummets.
The intensity and frequency of these extreme climate rainfall events is wreaking havoc. In 2020 alone, flooding across China and India caused more than $40 billion in damages.
Though, it is not just about people. We share our beloved and unique home with a couple million other interrelated earthly kin. Our first cousins, the bottlenose dolphins of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Australia’s rare Burrunan dolphins of Victoria and Western Australia are crumbling away in the midst of the planet literally cooking alive. The dolphins are washing ashore with godawful third degree-like burns covering 70 percent of their bodies.
My colleagues at The Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito, CA, diagnosed this man-inflicted curse as the fresh-water skin disease (FWSD). Torrents of freshwater are severely diluting the coastal salinity thereby causing the dolphin skin cells to burst.
More specifically, a sudden dramatic and prolonged exposure to extreme climate rain events is triggering this ghastly death sentence. Quite simply, our brothers and sisters, the dolphins, cannot adapt quickly enough to this fossil fuel-stoked global heating.
Within 48 hours of freshwater deluges, the dolphin’s cells swell, inflame and erupt. Their pocked skin resembles that of seared bloody Swiss cheese. These horrifying ulcers and lesions ooze with bodily fluids, salts, electrolytes and other essential minerals. Then slowly but surely, one by one, their organs fail. Excruciating torture.
The dolphins, like the bees, birds, old-growth forests, coral reefs and countless other planetary relations, are unequivocally showing the ‘experts’ surrounding the world’s leaders that all 195 countries must decarbonize now. This also spells the ending of the obscene annual $5.3 trillion fossil fuel subsidies to the biggest, wealthiest and sanctimonious polluters.
We have the technology to walk away scot-free from filthy, water-contaminating fossil fuels. Mimic nonillion leaves. Tap into the sun, store it and hunker down to survive what’s in front of us, climate instability.
Eavesdropping on nature reveals that our planet is going eerily quiet.
Support the vital conservation work of Sea Shepherd’s Operation Milagro (Operation Miracle) in the Gulf of California and help protect the dozen or so remaining vaquitas.
Bottlenose dolphins are playful, affectionate, curious, intelligent, social and vocal. Are they the creatures that humans would have been had we not left the water? Unless we demand a zero-combustion economy to protect the dolphins, we will be left lonesome on a silent fricasseeing planet.
Join author Reese Halter and Gen Z-influencers Johnny Keach, Slater Jewell-Kemker and Dr Letef ‘DJ CAVEM’ Vita from the Southern Rockies as they examine the effects of global heating, the Age of Extinction, and how increasing environmental degradation in the coming decade(s) is they key determinant of new diseases & future pandemics. Roll up your sleeves and lend a helping hand as they delve into many solutions to save our planet in peril. It is a narrative loaded with passion and sprinkled with optimism.
Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster, distinguished conservation biologist and author.
Dr Reese Halter’s latest book is now available!
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