"It's not beyond possibility that warming will actually cause sea-level rises which could threaten the centre of London. The stakes are very high. We know these changes are happening – the evidence is incontrovertible – and if they go on, they will have catastrophic effects on the human race."
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Call me a pessimist, but...
Sometimes I just feel like casting off the lines, hauling in the fenders and getting the hell away.
I'll apologise here and now for following a none too chirpy post with one with a rather bleak outlook, but the timing is rather appropriate for this one and you can blame my piss-poor planning. I promise to publish something far more optimistic and full of sunshine next week.
You see, this weekend saw the politicians of the world gather in Durban, South Africa, for another seemingly doomed climate conference although you'd be forgiven for not being aware of that. The world is rather preoccupied with global economic woes right now and as such the fate of the planet that hosts us and our silly games of gambling invisible money seems to have slipped down the agenda. No habitable ecosystem on planet earth = no venue for our global economy. Seems to me therefore that it ought to be higher up the list of things to do.
Back in September, on or around the 27th, humanity exhausted nature's budget for the year. Earth Overshoot Day signifies the point at which we start using resources that the planet cannot regenerate or absorb the waste from within that year. It's the point at which we humans started spending more than we earnt in the year 2011 in an ecological sense, effectively living off an environmental credit card. Every year the planet can only absorb so much CO2, grow so many plants or support so many fish, however each year we use more than that. In 2007, the last year that data is available for, we used 1.5 planets worth of resources. Since 1966 humanity's ecological footprint has more than doubled.
All of this really, really scares me. I guess I'd be even more scared if I was a penguin or a polar bear though.
So how's about we all pull together and each try to do a little so that together we can achieve a lot. If not then perhaps I'll break the piggy bank and buy this little submarine so that I can visit the cities of the world in 50 years time when they're all underwater. It's quite expensive though...anybody want to go halves?
Sir David Attenborough
Broadcaster and naturalist (The last episode of Frozen Planet, On Thin Ice, will be shown on BBC 1 on Wednesday at 9pm)