Monday, September 04, 2006

It's Gettin' Kinda Warm 'Round Here

Sultry - is this the future of life on Earth? If you had to deal with heat 24/7, would you prefer your heat to be humid or arid?

Sultry has long been synonymous with Southern summers. There is something je ne sais quoi about the word sultry. It sounds sexy. It makes me think of Paul Newman in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or The Long, Hot Summer. The definition given at is for the most part anything but sexy:
sul‧try  /–adjective, -tri‧er, -tri‧est.
1. oppressively hot and close or moist; sweltering: a sultry day.
2. oppressively hot; emitting great heat: the sultry sun.
3. characterized by or associated with sweltering heat: sultry work in the fields.
4. characterized by or arousing passion: sultry eyes.
According to An Inconvenient Truth, "humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb." The time bomb is Global Warming. The EPA lists what Global Warming means for specific areas of the United States. For the lowcountry and all other coastal zones, studies estimate

"that along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, a one foot (30 cm) rise in sea level is likely by 2050. In the next century, a two foot rise is most likely, but a four foot rise is possible; and sea level will probably continue to rise for several centuries, even if global temperatures were to stop rising a few decades hence...

Rising sea level inundates wetlands and other low-lying lands, erodes beaches, intensifies flooding, and increases the salinity of rivers, bays, and groundwater tables. Some of these effects may be further compounded by other effects of changing climate. Measures that people take to protect private property from rising sea level may have adverse effects on the environment and on public uses of beaches and waterways....

Nationwide, a two foot rise in sea level could eliminate 17-43 percent of US wetlands, even if no additional bulkheads or dikes are erected, with more than half of the loss taking place in Louisiana alone."

Recently, both of my parents have been reflecting upon this topic. My father just replaced his main car with a Toyota Prius (Way to go, Dad!) and my Mom became more concerned after she saw a TV special called The Seven Deadliest Threats to Humanity. I could not find that program, but believe she watched a 20/20 special entitled Last Days on Earth. The doomsday scenarios explored are:

    1. Death of a Star: Gamma Ray Burst and Black Hole
    2. Machines - Artificial Intelligence
    3. Super Volcano, including one in Yellowstone National Park
    4. Asteroid Strike
    5. Nuclear War
    6. Germs/Disease: Plague and Bioterrorism
    7. Global Warming/Climate Change

ABC's website does not give details on this list, but I did find a great article entitled Ways to Destroy Life that covers Climate Change (Greenhouse & Snowball Effect), Asteroid Strike and the Super Volcano.

Even if you doubt the way information on Global Warming has been presented to you, don't you owe it to yourself to get the facts? We all inhabit this planet called Earth, we all are dealing with rising temperatures, and we all need to care for her together. It starts with one simple step: educate thyself.

I'll sign off with the poem Fire & Ice by Robert Frost.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

1 comment:

Vera said...

Great post. So much to consider.