I have a little tickle in my throat today. And I feel a tad slow. I'm not sure what that's all about. I suppose it could be one of four things: 1) just a tickle, 2) a cold or flu, 3) allergies, 4) something more serious. I'll have to wait and see.
When you think about it, we're at a similar crossroads with the current climate crisis. Except in the case of our planet, we've already been to the doctor and he says it's serious, damn serious. Doc, who represents climatologist in this little metaphor, claims it's nothing he's ever seen before. But he believes beyond a doubt that human activities are causing some pretty troubling symptoms to emerge.
He's going to have to run some more tests.
The disease, as we'll refer to it, has continued to spread from the air to the food chain. Bees, for example, are dying in some kind of hidden plauge. Bees, as you know, are an integral part of our little food web as they enable a lot of the fruit and vegetable production. Their colonies are collapsing (in some areas 70% are disappearing) under the pressure of climate, pesticides, urban sprawl, poor nutrition, and disease. Is any of these things the direct result of the primary symptom - climate change? We can't be sure. We're running some tests.
What we can be sure of is there are a lot of strange things happening to the basic infrastructure that makes up the food web. Crabs populations, to give another example, off the coast of Oregon were completely wiped out last year due to disturbances in the winds patterns. Now wind, as you know, is caused by the constant interplay between hot and cold air. Fundamental changes in temperature will effect wind patterns which apparently will effect some of our food sources right the fuck out of existence.
These stories, symptoms really, are popping up on a daily basis with quotes from scientists like these (taken from the above referenced stories):
"It was unlike anything that we've measured."
"I have never seen anything like it."
The science community, the medical community, and the academic community have all started to look at these trends more broadly to try and gain an understanding. In some cases they are working together. And in the case of some European countries, they are working together with the political community to try and do something about what everyone has identified as the core symptom of the disease: CO2. Is it too late? We can't be sure. Everything, at this point, is an experiment.
Noticeably absent from global efforts to do something has been a major contributor to the environmental emergency: the United States. The US government under GW Bush and the Republicans have spent the past six years going in the opposite direction and is only now starting to embrace the problem - a hard-core oil addict whose glorious toot was suddenly harshed when he started to puke blood on a daily basis.