Category: Alerts 2014
- Created on 24 February 2014
- 24 February 2014
By David Edwards
An epic struggle is currently taking place that will determine the fate, and perhaps the survival, of our species. It is a collision between natural limits and rational awareness of the need to respect those limits, on the one hand, and the forces of blind greed, on the other.
Over the next few years, fundamental questions about who we are as a species really will be answered: Are we fundamentally sane, rational? Or are we a self-destructive failure that will end in the evolutionary dustbin?
As former Conservative energy minister Charles Hendry says, the recent UK floods 'have ended political debate about climate change impacts'. Indeed, recent global weather extremes suggest that something of 'enormous magnitude is happening'.
Even taken in isolation, the UK floods may constitute an 'absolutely devastating environment incident', a recent study by conservation scientists reports:
'Noxious hydrogen sulphide fumes and lead poisoning are among the threats from floodwater contamination – while animals at almost all stages of the food chain, from insects to small mammals and birds, are already thought to be drowning or dying from lack of food.'
And these floods are merely the latest in a very long list of extreme events, including the ongoing, record-breaking Californian drought. Of this, University of California, Irvine, hydrologist James Famiglietti has said: 'We are standing on a precipice here.'
In addition, we have seen the vast US 'polar vortex' and 'Frankenstorm' Sandy. Last year, Australia 'recorded its warmest year on record,' while Supertyphoon Haiyan, 'the strongest tropical cyclone on record to hit land', devastated the Philippines. India was also afflicted by massive floods. 2013 was 'the 37th consecutive year with a global temperature above the 20th century average'.
Tony Juniper, former director of Friends of the Earth, commented to us: 'The period of consequences is evidently upon us.'