Author: Daniel, Bert

Is It Too Late?

Every morning I walk down our driveway to pick up the morning newspaper. Iíve enjoyed reading it for many years. Thatís mostly how I stay informed about whatís happening around me, especially on a local scale. But recently I have come to a point where I am almost afraid to open up the generous pages of the local paper to discover what a mess our planet has gotten itself into.

I donít know if we humans are responsible for this mess, but I think we probably are. The planet is warming to an alarming degree. Just this week two independent groups of researchers established that the west Antarctic glaciers are on a course to melt irreversibly over the next couple of centuries and raise the global sea level by more than four feet.

These unprecedented changes in the climate of our planet cause me deep concern. And as David Suzuki said in the quote, itís not like we havenít been warned. Our own Vern and Ray tried to warn us too:

Listen my brother. This worldís gonna fall
Itís hard to believe no one cares at all
They just made the dollar any way that they can
To hell with the people. To hell with the land

Can this whole world be saved?
Have we gone too far? Is it too late?
Have we reached the point of no return?
Lord what will it take? Will we ever learn?

It scares me to think about what we might be up against here. Climatologists warn about instability in the climate caused by extreme perturbations like weíre having now with the recent warming of the planet. Over time the changes in ocean currents and weather patterns could precipitate another ice age. No one knows what will happen but we could be in for some devastating consequences. Our planet has experienced several mass extinctions of species during its four billion year history. The one everybody knows about is the demise of the dinosaurs but there was another mass extinction earlier which was even more devastating. Might we someday join all those extinct species?

Our cities are bigger than ever before
And thereís not enough air to go around anymore
And what are we doing to help ease the pain?
Weíre building more cars and bigger airplanes

Whether or not we humans are the cause of climate change, there is no doubt that we contribute to it in a big way. We generate tons and tons of carbon emissions every day. Greenhouse gasses warm the planet and the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen along with the temperature of that atmosphere.

A sawmill stops burning and the smoke clears away
But the victories keep falling day after day
Oh tell me my brother, why canít that see?
Theyíre destroying the source of the air that we breathe

What can we do to stem the tide of this terrible warming of our beautiful planet? That might depend on where you live. I live in the country and my internet is not very good, but maybe I can cancel my newspaper home delivery which I have enjoyed for many years. That saves some energy to print the paper and gasoline to drive it all the way out to my mailbox. Maybe I can opt for internet download only for my favorite newspaper of all, the Bluegrass Breakdown.

Thereís something special about holding a book in you hand. Especially a new book. You can smell it. Itís pages beckon in a special way that Iím used to from an era when we didnít think about things like global warming. Maybe the small things that we do wonít make any difference in the long run. But maybe they will. The stakes are high. I think Iíll opt out of home delivery for my paper and my PAPER (the BB). Save some energy and extra gas to deliver it.

Have we gone too far? Is it too late?
Posted:  5/19/2014

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