Yes, the arctic ice cap is melting. Not long ago scientists were predicting it wouldn't be ice free in the summer until about 2100, far enough away that the deniers could pretend it was a bunch of hyperventilating, Chicken Little, Tree Hugging Hippies that were concerned with such things. The scary thing is that our climate patterns have already been altered, and the positive feedback hasn't even fully kicked in. Things would be scary if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide at record levels today. Eventually things would improve, but it would get worse first. Of course, exactly the opposite is happening.
Most Americans, including most of us that vote Dem, are living in denial. We have these fairy tales we tell ourselves. There will always be an arctic ice cap for Santa. Our lifestyle can continue. Our children will live on a planet similar to Earth with sufficient resources.
If you are still reading, let me say this as gently as possible - We humans are fucked. So are many other species, but certainly life will go on in some form. Worms miles beneath the surface won't be inconvenienced by our demise.
Most will think I am overstating the case. Things might not be perfect in the future, but humanity will be fine. Here are a few things to consider, if you believe this.
CO2 isn't just increasing in the atmosphere due to human activities, the rate of increase is increasing. Things will get much warmer on our planet. The scientists say as much as 10 degrees F by the end of the century. I wouldn't put too much stock in that number though. If you have been watching this whole train wreck unfold closely, you will have noticed that the scientific projections are almost always wrong. They tend to grossly underestimate the disturbing real changes that have been observed.
We are running out of water for agriculture. The Arab Uprising was caused in large part by food shortages. We will have more drought in the future and we are exhausting our ground aquifers. There will be food shortages in America. There will be civil unrest when our heavily armed citizenry experiences the same.
The ocean is becoming more acidic due to our CO2 emissions. This could threaten the base of the ocean's food chain. So as we are overfishing our oceans, creating huge dead zones in them from pollution, and warming them, we are also pulling out the rug from underneath them. If this wasn't bad enough, the rate of acidification is vastly greater than anytime in hundreds of millions of years. A death spiral in the ocean would be very bad news for a hungry planet.
We are at seven billion humans and still rising. We are running out of all sorts of resources, from oil to rare earth elements. As India and China continue to grow their economies, based on a western consumer style economy, shortages will only get worse.
The mainstream media is of course owned by large corporations. Their customers are large corporations intent on selling things like cars, oil, food grown far away and heavily processed, and lots of other stuff. Don't think that because you don't hear about this on NBC or PBS (yes, even they suck at the corporate teat) that it isn't true. There isn't much money to be made on voluntary simplicity.
So, why bother then? Because we can mitigate the suffering. We will likely just dig faster instead, but I can't think of anything more important to spend my remaining years working on than the survival of humanity and the planet. Certainly, Obama is a much better choice than Romney, for the planet. But increasing mileage on our vehicles is just rearranging the deck chairs. We need to be talking about public transit and bikes, not perfecting a very broken system. Cheap natural gas is great, but we need solar roofs all across the world. Buying local is helpful, but we need our lawns replaced with gardens. But mostly, we need to communicate to all that will listen, we are living in an environmental crisis. The planet is our most important resource and we are destroying it. It is too late to prevent suffering, but we can still stop making it worse.
I am sure many readers will dismiss this. If you think there is even a one percent chance my fear mongering is true, then we must all act now. Santa already is moving to Greenland. Let's not force him off the planet.