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In late August the International Geological Congress meeting in Capetown, South Africa received a recommendation from a world-renown group of scientific experts that the world has entered a new geological epoch because of human impact on Planet Earth. The experts say we passed through the Holocene Epoch that had lasted 12,000 years in about 1950 because of nuclear bomb tests, plastic pollution, heavy soot from coal power stations, concrete covering more and more of the earth, sea-level rise, the global mass extinction of species because of climate, and primarily the ever-increasing carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel powered vehicles. The Holocene Epoch of 12,000 years was known for its stable climate which allowed human civilizations to develop without major climactic interruption. The recommendation states that the new epoch, the Anthropocene, is so named because it is the first epoch to be affected by human activity that is dramatically changing the environment around the world. A few signs of our new geological epoch:
1. In the recent storm in Central Minnesota that brought a tornado to Hillsboro, ND and wind damage to Gary, MN, we experienced three inches of rain in 45 minutes, ten inches over just two days, and 5.5 hours of constant lightning at our home on Pelican Lake near Detroit Lakes. We have never experienced a downpour and light show like that.
2. The excessive rain in the northern Red River Valley will probably force potato growers to lose 30% of their crop compared to other years.
3. Many coastal cities on the East Coast are installing flood measuring sticks along streets and highways so drivers can check to see if they can drive or park on streets through the waters at high tide or during rain storms. Dead trees in the ocean appear like ghost forests.
4. The Pentagon and many retired military officers have become so concerned about climate, storm surges, and sea-level changes that are affecting military bases around the world they have asked that the next president create a cabinet position to deal with climate change and its impact on national security.
5. Miami is now under constant siege from flooding, with once wide beaches almost covered with water at low tide, coastal roads often underwater, and high tides often pushing water into beachfront condos.
6. The melting of Greenland’s glaciers and ice is proceeding at a rate much faster than predicted. When totally melted the sea level will have risen about 20 feet. Greenland lost an estimated 40 trillion tons of ice in 2015.
7. Many areas of the Gulf Stream register 85 degrees, about four degrees warmer than usual. That’s why we have such heavy rains along Texas, Louisiana, Florida, the Middle West, and up the entire East Coast. Southern Louisiana and Mississippi just suffered a once-in-500 years rain when 630 inches of rain, or more than 50 feet, fell during a four-day storm. Baton Rouge, LA, received more rain in five days than Bakersfield, CA has received in the past five and one-half years.
8. California is in extreme or exceptional drought. Excessive pumping of aquifers and other waters for irrigation and household purposes has lowered wells so much the state has been forced to truck water to towns daily that can’t drill deeper wells for water.
9. Increased amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the resulting temperature change has increased the number of private and passenger planes going through severe turbulence. Dr. Paul Williams of Reading University says turbulence is now causing dozens of small private plane crashes with fatalities and hundreds of injuries to passengers in jets. Severe turbulence is now being encountered thousands of times a year. Turbulence now costs $500 million a year for delays and disruption of service, not counting the repair of aircraft.
10. When Henry David Thoreau wrote his “Walden” in 1852 he identified 300 plant species and other facts about climate, birds, and growing seasons. Biologist Richard Primack of Boston University recently compared Thoreau’s facts to facts 160 years later discovered by his students. First, the temperature of the Concord area is five degrees warmer. Second, many plants bloom at least two weeks earlier. Third, leaves emerge on trees 18 days earlier. Only the birds return at the same time.
The Deniers, Doubters, Disbelievers, and Dunderheads Of Climate Science
Deniers say: “Well---I’m not a scientist.” When 98% of environmental and climate scientists in the world say global warming, climate science, and all other descriptions of change indicate humans do affect climate on a global basis, that’s a lousy excuse. When you go to a primary doctor and she says you have lung cancer and a respiratory specialist confirms it, do you say it’s just a collection of snot? The two have used a lot of medical science to confirm the diagnosis. When 98% of the experts think the world needs more than an enema we had better pay attention. On September 21, 375 0f the world’s top scientists, including 30 Noble Prize science winners, said the facts of climate change are “incontrovertible. It is the truth.”
Perhaps the most famous denier-dunderhead is Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma who was infamously appointed chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee by that great cheerleader-scientist George W. Bush. I would imagine those two billionaire fossil fuel scientists, the Koch brothers, actually made the selection. Inhofe emphasized his scorn of science when he defiantly threw a snowball to the Senate floor while testifying that global warming was a complete hoax. He also claims schools are brainwashing children about climate change—so “we have to unbrainwash them when they get out.” The state of Oklahoma used to have about three earthquakes a year, none of them powerful. Now it’s up to over 900 a year—with many of them breaking houses, wine bottles, and lots of other things. Most of the geologists studying the dramatic increase say it’s caused by oil fracking and the pumping of water and wastes deep in the ground through wells. Many states are beginning to have wells poisoned by the chemicals used in fracking. I wonder what out-of-season reason Inhofe would use for the increase in earthquakes. He’s a religious guy. Maybe God is an earth-rocker. It’s quite evident Inhofe has never learned elementary physics.
North Dakota Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer is another documented doubter-dunderhead who makes a good partner for Inhofe. Of course, he’s in love with coal, oil, and his own survival in Congress. He also is a supporter of that great scientific intellect Donald Trump who has adopted the climate stance taken by Rupert Murdoch , that political climate changer who owns Fox News: “Climate change has been going on as long as the planet has been here. There will always be a little bit of it. We can’t stop it.” Tony Schwartz, the actual writer of The Donald’s “The Art of The Deal,” says: “Trump has severe attention problems and simply cannot take in complex information.” I think Trump fits all of the descriptions of a psychopathic asshole and congenital liar. I do admire famed anthropologist Jane Goodall’s comparison of Trump with all of the chimps she has worked with: “The performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimps and their dominance ritual. In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays, stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks. The more vigorous and imaginative the display, the faster the individual will rise in the hierarchy.” There goes Donald, throwing rocks and stamping around!!
We can be a pretty ridiculous people. The Guggenheim Museum in New York just installed an operable 18-karat solid gold toilet under the name of “America.” How much is it worth? How much does it weigh? No one has that information. Private donors supplied the loot. Is it a joke? It really sparkles during flush process, according to users. Is it the ultimate putdown for the widest income gap in U.S. history? What’s next? A gold dildo for trophy wives? Ok, Ok……
More Evidence That Climate Change Is Real
11. The city of Phalodi in India has had high temperatures between 113 and 122 degrees for weeks this year. The number of deaths has not been counted yet, but last year a heat wave in the same area killed 2,500 and 1,400 in neighboring Pakistan.
12. According to the U.S. Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, if we don’t change our ways, we may have a six-foot rise in sea level by 2100 which will force 13.1 million people in eastern coastal regions to change homes. Florida will have to move over six million people.
13. The same organization said global temperatures smashed records for the 10th straight month by 2.18 degrees. Usually those records have been broken by hundreds of tenths of degrees. The U.S. has had 16 consecutive months of rising temps.
14. Floods caused by climate change affected 2.3 billion people in 2015, 95% of them in Asia.
15. The U.S. has 412 national parks and Corky and I and our kids have been in 90% of them. We visited Glacier National Park in Montana when it actually had many glaciers. They will all be gone in about 25 years. The Yosemite National Park in California used to have a mile-wide glacier. When we visited Half-Dome and Yosemite Falls about 15 years ago the glacier had disappeared along with some waterfalls. We have camped in Joshua Tree National park in California where those trees don’t grow anymore. We have camped in Jamestown, Virginia where Pocahontas and Captain John Smith had a thing. Much of that area is now under water. There are 24 national parks in Alaska, dominated by the six million acres of Denali and we have been in many of them. Beautiful open spaces filled with species not in Minnesota or North Dakota—now with melting permafrost. Towns on the western coast of Alaska will have to move or be swallowed by the ice-free Arctic Ocean. They are now losing 150 feet of land each year. Some people have been living on those shores for 9,000 years. Yellowstone now as 30 fewer snow days compared to the 1960’s.The huge Sequoia trees in California’s national parks are dying off because of a warmer, drier climate. Over 305 million Americans visited the national parks last year.
16. It will be too hot to work to a full schedule in many areas of Southeast Asia in coming years. It’s estimated that as much as 15-20% of work time will be lost, and that by 2050 that could double. The reduced labor productivity will account for billions of lost dollars in the Gross National Product of large countries. And the extreme heat will put the health of many workers in danger.
17. Research at Princeton University and the University of California at Berkely indicates that rising temperatures or extreme rainfall around the world increases human conflict by four percent for each degree of increase in temperature. The fights over water and water rights will definitely increase.
18. Arctic sea ice is at its second lowest level since monitoring began by satellite. Climate scientists say it’s another “ominous sign” of global warming.
19. Normally the tropics produce the highest and thickest air mass in the world which keeps the northern jet stream and the southern jet stream at home. For the first time in recorded history the northern jet stream has crossed into the southern hemisphere. Scientists say this crossing will produce “weather weirding” in both hemispheres, possible changing the seasons to some extent on both sides of the equator.
20. In Wales, Alaska, planes can no longer land on a runway flyers have used for many years because the permafrost runway has melted so much the runway has turned to mud.