“Childhood is Over: We’re All in this Together”
As the last of my winds and rains ebb I wish you a complete and climate-wise recovery. Our planet is not as it once was. You have seen some of the changes in your lifetime: the superstorms, floods, drought, heat waves, and the melting of the Arctic.
Other changes are invisible such as the 30 percent increase in the acidity of the oceans. This rising acidity is harming coral reefs, fish and many other inhabitants of the oceans. One third of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from burning fossil fuels has been absorbed by the oceans. When CO2 dissolves in seawater it makes them more acidic.
All of these changes and far more with only 0.8C (1F) rise in global temperature. You want to believe all of this is natural. It is true I am part of nature but I have felt and fed off the extra heat energy in the oceans and additional moisture in the air you have unintentionally put there. The air, oceans, landscape have changed. Some call this time of major human impacts on the planet “The Anthropocene”. A big word to describe a big change: the era when humanity is influencing every aspect of life on the planet.
This reality means humanity’s childhood is over. That means accepting that we are all part of nature. It means accepting that humans are no more important to the planet than any other form of life. And it means understanding that in order for humanity to flourish, nonhuman life must be able to flourish as well.
My winds destroyed tens of thousands of trees. You may kill as many to clear wires, homes and property. Some will want to kill many more trees in cities, towns and along roads to prevent future disruption and damage. I say move the wires, keep the trees. Trees cool the planet, slow winds, trap climate-heating CO2, filter air pollutants and provide you and many other creatures with life-giving oxygen. Where trees flourish, humans flourish.
And for humans to flourish end the wasting of invaluable reserves of oil, gas and coal by burning them. Fossil fuels are a one-time gift of the planet’s long history and made from plants and trees that flourished over 100 million years ago. Paints, plastics, fertilizers, asphalt, cosmetics, clothes, medicines, inks and thousands more products are made from fossil fuels. Potential and future uses stretch the imagination.
Goodbye and Kia orana. (May you live well)