TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Editorials

October 1, 2012

Destroying our earth and ourselves

CORBIN — The belly of the Titanic was ripped open with a 12 cubic foot gash; a fatal wound that the ship could not endure — within 160 minutes this beautiful vessel so full of life and pleasure was permanently plunging into the frigid depths of the North Atlantic.

Similarly, you and I as fossil fuel users are ripping an irreparable gash in the belly of our home, this planet earth. According to the U.N. Human Development Report, “There is new overwhelming scientific evidence that the world is moving towards the point at which irreversible ecological catastrophe becomes unavoidable…” A study conducted by the Global Humanitarian Forum found that our present climate change (increased temperature of the earth and its water, due principally by burning fossil fuel) is causing over 300,000 deaths a year, along with 325 million people suffering for the necessities of life, as well as world economic loss (crops, cattle, fish) of over $100 billion a year. These losses are most often in developing countries already stressed to sustain life; and the ones who are innocent — too poor to own a car to burn fossil fuel.

In the coming decades climate change (continued increase of temperature) will bring deadly famine and disease to large sectors of the earth’s population, along with the extermination of many species of plant and animal life. Could we imagine people in a small boat watching water gush through a hole in the boats bottom and at the same time drilling an additional hole? This is an accurate picture of our human behavior on planet earth today. It is hard to believe. The governments of the world, including us, the people of the world, engrossed in economics (making money) and militancy (making war) are persistent in ignoring the demise of our planet. Influenced by coal and oil lobbyist, our world governments rigorously hold the human race on its suicidal course. Daily our atmosphere is pumped with more noxious gases — carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. As these gases increase, corn, wheat, rice crops decrease at 10% for every 1.8 degree Fahrenheit increase. As these gases increase, ice melts on mountain tops (Alps have already lost 50%) and at both poles, expanding ocean waters three to six feet in the next century (submerging portions of New Orleans, Tampa, and Maine). As these gases increase, there will be a continued increase in floods, droughts, hurricanes and extreme temperatures.

 International scientists have long agreed that the carbon dioxide level in our atmosphere must not exceed 350 parts per million to sustain healthy life. It is already at 391PPM!

A new form of human living with new forms of non-fossil energy is urgent. We all need to be “prolife” to stop the runaway climate change. “This is what God the Lord says — he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people and life to those who walk on it: I the Lord have called you into righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.”

Might we take his hand to be pulled from our suicidal course?

The Rev. John Burkhart Ph.D, is a retired Episcopal priest and professor of psychology

jandmburkhart@yahoo.com blog at inspirationsandideas

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