Why is only one day, each year, set aside to pay homage to our Mother Earth? Is it, so that for 364 other days we can turn a blind eye, or worse, rape her with impunity?
Our kith and kin, the animals, are terrified because ghastly man-made heatwaves, climate fires, climate droughts, climate floods and the GDP-driven Age of Extinction are accelerating at breakneck speed. Ladies and gentlemen, we need all the animals, old-growth rainforests, coral reefs, wetlands, salt marshes, mangroves, peatlands, kelp forests and marine grass meadows in-tact to survive and cohabitate on this hallowed blue planet.
The elephant in the room is human consumption and the insatiable fossil fuel and wood pellet combustion energy required to make more. Do you really need more?
While you are pondering that question, allow me to share the results of a horrid new ocean study. In order to keep up with the Joneses and all their confangled widgets, Earthlings are supercharging the oceans with heat from burning fossil fuels and old-growth rainforests chopped up into tiny wooden pellets. That heat is equivalent to detonating 10 Hiroshima atomic bombs every second of the year. The oceans drive the planet’s climate, hence the climate is in crisis.
On a global scale, it’s so bloody hot in the equatorial oceans that 50,000 marine species have moved away. Unprecedented.
In part, the animals are fleeing because their homes (coral reefs) are razed. Man-driven marine heatwaves have bleached just about every coral reef ecosystem in the world. Twenty-five percent of all marine life species depend full-time on thriving reefs and many other species seasonally use the corals as nurseries, e.g., cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises), sharks, sea turtles and many others. No reefs. No life.
If that doesn’t make you nauseous then try this one on. Around the globe, fisheries, godawful fossil fuel seismic surveys and extraction, pernicious poisons from golf courses and luxury home developments are annihilating a soccer field of sea grass meadows every 30 minutes, 24/7, 365 days a year.
Along with salt marshes and mangroves, these verdant marine meadows are known as rich ‘blue carbon’ zones because they store, deep within the seabeds, five times as much carbon as the old-growth tropical rainforests.
China’s One Belt One Road, $8 trillion global spending spree, will sear whatever is left of our Mother Earth.
These astonishing saltwater systems are Earth’s kidneys. They filter and protect the oceans’ edges from storm surges, and provide crucial habitat for seabirds, sea turtles, sharks, cetaceans and so many more of our oceanic brethren and sistren. No sea grasses. No life. No carbon storage. Uninhabitable planet. Ugh.
Meanwhile, each day more man-made combustion heat is being absorbed into the broiling, sick oceans. Chunks of ice, two times Canada’s largest city, Toronto, continue to cleave away from the continent of Antarctica. One-third of the Antarctic’s ice shelf is now in dire jeopardy of collapsing, including 67 percent of the Antarctic’s Peninsular ice shelf area.
And there’s more. Hideous heatwaves are now melting 1.2 trillion metric tons of Earth’s ice annually (enough each year to cover the state of California in 8.5 feet). By the way, that meltwater has increased 60 percent since the 1990s. It is going to get much worse and every coastal city and town is on the highway to hell. Unlivable.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s economy is roaring by 18.3 percent over a year ago. It’s all stoked by new coal-fired power plants and Russia’s massivePower of Siberia liquefied natural gas pipeline. That economic spike is the largest surge since China first began divulging their growth rate. In fact, Beijing has now eclipsed New York City with the highest concentration of billionaires on the globe, 100 to 99, respectively.
Every 17 hours there’s a new billionaire in the world. What are a billionaire and their corporation without at least one new gas-guzzling jet? Currently, there are 4,600 private jets in operation. Another 8,000 new private jets will take to the sky this decade, gulping 40 times as much carbon per passenger as regular commercial flights.
In 2017, Bill Gates (a self-professed climate crisis expert) took 59 flights, wracking up an astounding 200,000 air miles. That’s the equivalent of encircling the equator eight times. It’s morally repugnant, especially from someone who is privy to the inside track of the climate catastrophe.
Over the previous 25 years, Gates along with the other mega affluent crowd have spent over one-third of the global emissions growth. I wonder which planet their children will occupy if this deranged planet-killing continues?
China’s One Belt One Road, $8 trillion global spending spree, will sear whatever is left of our Mother Earth. Which planet do the Chinese Communist Party muckety-mucks and President Xi Jinping intend to conquer next?
This Earth Day, do anything other than latch onto apathy. Do not pay lip service to our Mother. Instead, become a planet-defender. Join direct-action conservation groups like the Bob Brown Foundation and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and protect our heavenly home, planet Earth!
Agitate. Disrupt. Defend.
Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster, distinguished conservation biologist and author.
Dr Reese Halter’s latest book is now available!