“Miles of ice collapsing” as disintegration fears mount
In the first of three recent dispatches from Antarctica, The New York Times led with this: “The acceleration is making some scientists fear that Antarctica’s ice sheet may have entered the early stages of an unstoppable disintegration.” “Unstoppable disintegration.” Of a continent.
Will the climate change deniers claim that we’ve seen Antarctica come and go so many times that it’s hardly worth mentioning? I, for one, have never seen a continent disappear, have you? Yet, the story is conspicuously missing from mainstream news media. Even in the Times, it’s depicted as a “boutique” story, not necessarily for mass consumption.
Yet, mass consumption (of fossil fuels) is what has gotten us to the point where “the world’s great coastal cities—Miami, New York, Shanghai,” face extinction. We Americans have simply been too exceedingly slow in reducing our consumption of petroleum. We don’t want to. The developing world has followed our “lead.”
Doubtless that if or when the time comes that our great cities are flooded by the rising seas, the drivers of gas-guzzling SUVs and vanity pick-up trucks will be the same ones wondering how it ever got so bad.
It’s perfectly clear how it got so bad. Every step of the way has been documented thoroughly, but we pay attention to what we want to, or more precisely what the marketing forces want us to.
The article in the Times is a work of art. Well-worded, firsthand accounts are deepened by beautiful graphics of a disturbing process: ice shelves shifting and eventually breaking off from the rest of the continent. Here on my ULTIMATE ERROR blog, I’ve used the description “the size of Delaware” regarding just how much of Antarctica is breaking off.
Beneath the political dissonance in the U.S. on climate change (the widely used euphemism for global warming), are we really facing a crisis between cultures? The country is certainly big enough for differences of opinion and custom, but aren’t the problems really in the willingness (ability?) to tolerate the differences and accept the customs of others? Isn’t the solution the common ground and crossover among the cultures?
The crossover is particularly fascinating to me, partly because it doesn’t often come up in broader discussion. What I’m referring to is the observation of, for example, where the conservative who drives the biggest pick-up on the market actually reads the New York Times article we’ve been talking about. The liberal in his Prius who enjoys the Wall Street Journal. People who dare to go against stereotype, or who simply do so without knowing or caring, can be extremely helpful in bridging the communication and culture gaps.
Why is this important? Because the cleaving of the Antarctic continent began with the rifts among the people of Earth.
My upcoming novel, ULTIMATE ERROR, places responsibility for humankind’s survival on humankind. Earth makes no errors. Our own errors, however, are many: blinding avarice, shortsightedness, cynicism—and the list goes on, with perhaps more items on it than there are years left for us here.