Global warming is causing massive changes to the Earth's climate. Humans are responsible for most of the warming.
This is the consensus of 97% of the world's climate experts. Anyone who doesn't take these facts seriously is a danger to humanity.
Here's a quote from Elizabeth Kolbert's book, "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History." I found it in an Amazon reader review when I was trying to decide whether to order the book. (I did order a copy.)
"If you want to think about why humans are so dangerous to other species, you can picture a poacher in Africa carrying an AK-47 or a logger in the Amazon gripping an ax, or, better still, you can picture yourself, holding a book on your lap."
Actually, the problem of extinction is even worse than this.
Humans are not only causing countless other species to go extinct, matching the record of past global disasters like a large asteroid hitting our planet, our trashing of the environment through carbon pollution and other activities threatens Homo sapiens as well.
We need to protect many species to help our own.
It is often forgotten how dependent we are on other species. Ecosystems of multiple species that interact with one another and their physical environments are essential for human societies.
These systems provide food, fresh water and the raw materials for construction and fuel; they regulate climate and air quality; buffer against natural hazards like floods and storms; maintain soil fertility; and pollinate crops. The genetic diversity of the planet’s myriad different life-forms provides the raw ingredients for new medicines and new commercial crops and livestock, including those that are better suited to conditions under a changed climate.
For this reason and many others, human-caused climate change is the biggest problem facing humanity. Yet a disturbingly large number of people either refuse to admit that global warming is happening, or deny that humans are the cause.
Even more disturbing: among these global warming skeptics and deniers are public officials who have a big say in governmental policy decisions that affect our carbon footprint (huge, and trampling on the environment more powerfully with every passing day).
It's important for citizens to know who they are. It's long past time for a "coming out" on global warming. Public officials need to be transparent about what they know and believe on this super-important issue.
I don't care about their sexual orientation, drug/alcohol use, or other personal habits and characteristics. I do care about whether they agree with the scientific consensus on global warming.
After all, what is more important for life on Earth than having a planet that supports the sort of human living we've been accustomed to? And not just for we who are living today, but also our children, grandchildren, and generations to come.
So I'm planning to ask our local public officials, elected and appointed, whether they agree with the scientific consensus that (1) global warming is occurring, and (2) humans are mostly responsible for this. I might also ask those who answer "yes" if they think we need to do something about global warming/climate change.
Tonight I tried this notion out on a group of friends.
Most thought it was a good idea. Maybe a great idea. (Probably was me who said that.) But one person said, "Many public officials won't respond to you. What will you do then?"
My response: "Declining to openly agree with an essentially indisputable scientific fact would be an act that speaks for itself. It would be like saying no comment to someone who asked if they believed in gravity or electromagnetism. Shunning an opportunity to agree with a scientific consensus reveals a person's mindset almost as clearly as if they directly stated their disagreement with that consensus."
I'm looking forward to learning how Salem's Mayor, City Manager, Public Works Director, and City Councillors respond to my simple two or three question survey. Also, how the Marion County Commissioners and other top county officials do.
Hopefully they are in tune with one of the most important findings of modern science. If not, some education is in order. And some kicking out of office, if the educating isn't embraced.