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Living in a Fish Bowl

I rarely allow myself to get caught up in the world of politics but all of the work of The Sacred Earth Foundation is based on my love of Mother Earth and the absolute state of awe I feel in her deepest wilds. I worked as a research scientist for many years at The University of California and I started really researching global warming to my greatest alarm. So I feel it is my duty to share some of what I have learned as well as where our greatest solutions lie. We do have solutions but we much act now.

We are living in a time where there are so many causes in the world needing our support. Where do we put our energy? We are also living in a time of global warming or climate change. Without our beautiful earth, none of the other causes will matter. Our country is still divided about this issue but it’s not about beliefs, it’s about facts. 97% of the world’s climatologists know that global warming is here and its affects are already being felt worldwide.

Almost without fail, those who deny climate change are paid by the fossil fuel industries. For example, one of the major deniers hires scientists to disavow the truth of global warming. This is the Heartland Institute and it was started by one of the Koch Brothers, the richest fossil fuel family in the world.

Currently 50% of our coral reefs have died. This is not only due to the warming of our seas, but to the fact that the addition of CO2 to our oceans also makes them more acidic. The shell fish industry on our NE and NW coasts is being decimated. Just put an oyster shell in vinegar and watch what happens. Our corals are becoming osteoporotic which also means that storms that they used to endure now level them. 0.1% of the ocean floor is coral and yet it supports 25% of the world’s fish. We have now lost 80% of the corals in the Caribbean Sea.

Currently about 40% of the world’s population lives on the coast. Many of these people are subsistence fishermen who find their usual fishing traditions are no longer feeding their families. Our reefs also provide a buffer against severe storms and their demise means the coasts they protect will be far more vulnerable.

The oceans are rising my friends, just ask the Mayor of Miami. They have spent millions raising their roads as the sea is encroaching right through their sewer systems. They believe this massive project will only help them for around 50 years and then the sea will be in their homes.

Islanders from around the world have had to abandon their entire islands, not because they are completely flooded but because they are severely hit with storms and rising seas that devastate their environments.

Currently 17,000 people globally are on the move weekly and become refugees because of climate change. If you draw a line horizontally across the center of Africa, you will find devastating droughts that are forcing people to move in order to stay alive, Sierra Leone, Syria, Niger just to name a few. If you look along this same line you will find the sources of both ISIS and of Al Qaeda. The war in Syria began mostly because of a 5-year drought. When people are hungry and thirsty they will fight to live.

Many people argue to me that there are places on earth that are becoming colder. This is true and it is due to climate change. For example, the melting ice in the north is interfering tremendously with the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic. When these currents can no longer travel their usual path, the warmth they provided to areas in the north no longer exists.

The droughts that are hitting the Central Valley of California are severely threatening the food supply for the US. 50% of all of our produce comes from this area alone.

There is hope for us but we must demand a carbon tax now. This carbon tax must be placed on, not only the use of fossil fuels, but on the emissions from the fossil fuel industry. We must demand an end to the subsidies currently offered to the fossil fuel industries to the tune of 20 billion dollars annually. British Petroleum spent billions on cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico and was permitted to write off the entire amount in their taxes so, basically, we paid for their damage. Get a moratorium on the fracking in Longmont and Berthoud right next door to you. I am appalled that the people living in those towns have not demonstrated against it before their water is polluted.

The other thing that will help immensely is for all of us to reduce our consumption of beef. One of the biggest reasons we burn down the Amazon forests, besides for fossil fuels, is to grow beef. The rain forests protect us from CO2 by storing it in their leaves, roots and bark but, when we burn it, it is like a carbon bomb releasing years of what the trees held. Cattle also produce a huge amount of methane through ruminating and digestion of their food and this is one of the most dangerous carbon emissions. Many of us are addicted to beef and if we can just cut our consumption in half it will make a huge difference for our planet. The other product we must dispense with is palm oil. This industry is wiping out the forests of Sumatra to be used in processed foods, cosmetics and many more things. It doesn’t require a huge amount of effort to check the ingredients in the products you consume. If it contains palm oil, find an alternative.

I am a 65 year old woman and when I was born there were only 2.5 billion people on our planet. Today we are home to an estimated 7.4 billion. If you have a 10 gallon fish tank and you add more than 10 small fish to this tank, they are likely to all die. A tank is a closed system. The Earth is a closed system. I urge you to reach out to your local politicians and to your representatives in Congress and demand locally and federally a carbon tax. I love my children and hope you do too. I urge you to become informed. Watch Leonardo Dicaprio’s film “Before the Flood”. Tune into “Years of Living Dangerously” which is a series offered by National Geographic. Our future depends on us.

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