“So where are we going? And why are we in a handbasket?”
Seeing this bumper sticker on my way home one evening, I chuckled aloud. “Wait,” I thought, “that’s what I’m trying to figure out.” It sure seems like the question we’d all want to answer.
After all, our earth is now warmer than it’s been in 650,000 years, and MIT scientists tell us that our planet’s future heating will likely be twice as severe as estimated less than a decade ago.
So, in this century, higher water temperatures and melting ice caps could raise the sea level by nearly three feet. That’s enough to flood many of the world’s great coastal cities and to inundate much of Bangladesh. A rise of six feet is possible—maybe even more.
But “warming” doesn’t really capture what’s happening. Our climate is becoming more chaotic. Think Los Angeles hitting a record 113 degrees in the fall of 2010, then a few months later Oklahoma’s wind chills sinking to 31 degrees below. Or monsoon rains swelling the Indus River in 2010 to forty times its normal volume, flooding one-fifth of Pakistan’s land and displacing millions. Or Australia in 2006 suffering its worst drought in 1,000 years, only to face flooding over an area the size of Texas just four years later.