|During the last days of the month, in some cities, people walked the streets in short sleeves. Jackets were open. Hats gloves and mitten were put away in hopes of an early Spring. After a long Winter nap, plants, and people were renewed. The air smelled sweet. Buds appeared on trees. Snowdrifts were shrinking. Conditions were slushy. In yards, patches of grass were visible; and oh, did you see the tip of a green leave rising from the flowerbed. Then the news broke, or was it the Wilkins Ice Shelf that melted and crumbled long before humans thought possible.
Most Americans, unaffected by the event that occurred on the Antarctic Peninsula, continued to go about their day carelessly. Apathetic citizens in the most "vibrant" country in the world entered their automobiles, filled up their gas tanks, and drove endless miles to work in an office where the lights never dim and machines hum for hours, even when not in use. Countless laborers, during the lunch hour, again, dash to their cute cars, speed to their Sports Utility Vehicles, and drive a distance more for food. Most dine in quaint restaurants, where a meal is served on Styrofoam plates. Plastic utensils are all the rage. Use them and then dispose of these petroleum based forks, knives, and spoons. Into the garbage they go, off to a landfill, and then poof, all the waste is out of sight and far from the minds of Americans.
Those who are five percent of the planet's population, and consume twenty-four percent of the resources care not for what is invisible. While Americans see the weather from their windows, and are aware of the conditions in their backyards, until the community in which they live experiences a weather-related crisis the public does not think there is reason to worry,
Often, after a catastrophe, neighbors cleanup. The city removes the wreckage. Business and families rebuild. Then, everyone is content. People continue to live as though the earlier episode was a singular incident. Few question the cause beyond what they can easily observe and conclude.
Since Spring is upon us, our countrymen are concerned with floods, just not the an ice shelf shift in the South Pole might cause. People understand the season of overflows is fast approaching. Most believe themselves protected. Insurance is meant to shelter subscribers from the effects of an excessively rainy day. However, what of the storm some "scientists" tell us is no reason for panic.
A chunk of ice the size of the Isle of Man has started to break away from Antarctica in what scientists say is further evidence of a warming climate.
Satellite images suggest that part of the ice shelf is disintegrating, and will soon crumble away.
The Wilkins Ice Shelf has been stable for most of the last century, but began retreating in the 1990s.
Six ice shelves in the same part of the continent have already been lost, says the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).
While the potential for a rise in sea level is high, or at least far higher than it was, for now, in America, we are able to believe all is well. Certainly, our President does not ponder any drastic difference in the climate.
President Bush, . . . has consistently refused to take any significant action to limit U.S. production of carbon emissions, the primary cause of global warming.
Americans, particularly, Progressives may wish to blame George W. Bush for all that ails our planet. However, in truth, most, if not many liberals, happily look the other way when given a choice. Would I rather ride mass transit or cruise in a Hummer. The broadminded among us observe, "A hybrid vehicle might be fine, once the system is perfected."
The public waits for what industry does not invest in. There is no supply, and less demand, for vehicles, which do not allow an adventurous soul to travel to the ends of the Earth. Freedom is not a virtue anyone wishes to sacrifice. Not on a beautiful Spring day or in the summer.
The avant-garde are willing to walk or maybe ride in an automobile equipped with more emission controls. Californians, and those in thirteen  other states have decided to, or have stated an unequivocal intent to do a bit to alleviate some of the erosion of the atmosphere. In Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington there is a some concern for what man "might" have done to the environment and how he can prevent further destruction.
These states account for a little over half the nation's population
We cannot be certain what portion of the people in these territories contribute to pollution. Nonetheless, there is reason for residents to consider cause and effect. In some regions, inhabitants have seen rivers rise higher year after year. While few people contemplate the ice as it melts, when the streets are wet and water seeps through basement walls, a few wonder, might global warming be a problem.
Still, enthusiasm for authentic change is not great. Citizens in California are more interested in compensating for what their lifestyle creates, incredible pollution. People in other areas may accept, if they do nothing, smog will soon color their skies. If modifications are minimal, they are more easily accepted.
Thus, the people in the Golden State have elected to adopt far stricter greenhouse gas regulations for motor vehicles, regardless of what the Federal government mandates. However, in order to vary from Federal standards, California needed to file a formal statement with the Environmental Protection Agency. In December 2005, the Western most submitted a petition.
Little more than two years ago, when California first requested the waiver, long after most scientists acknowledged global warming was a reality, there were no federal standards regulating greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles or any other sources. The EPA declined to respond to the appeal. Apparently, protection of the environment was not a priority. The construct exists in name only.
The official word was, the Clean Air Act did not cover greenhouse gas emissions. Hence, there was no need to alter the provisions. According to the bureaucrats, accepted theory, even when endorsed by the Administration, must be rejected. Since 2002, each Spring day when the ground is saturated and roads become rivers Americans recall a time in June when . . .
The US Government has acknowledged for the first time that man-made pollution is largely to blame for global warming.
But it has again refused to shift its position on the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty designed to mitigate global warming which the Bush administration rejected last year.
In a 268-page report submitted to the United Nations, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) endorsed what many scientists have long argued - that human activities such as oil refining, power generation and car emissions are significant causes of global warming.
Notwithstanding, the Environmental Protection Agency refused to consider the Golden State's waiver, that is not until the EPA was forced to do so. In the interim, the people were not outraged. Throngs of individuals did not pour out on the streets in protest. Torrential rains, sunshine so intense hills were scorched, ice shelves adrift did not disturb the public enough to move them off of the couch or away from the computer. As long as luxurious forms of leisure were sustained, the populace, for the most part was content to stay silent.
The body that required the Environmental Protection Agency to act was the Supreme Court. In April 2007, the most prominent Jurists in the most powerful nation handed down a decision in Massachusetts versus the Environmental Protection Agency. The edict stated carbon dioxide could be regulated as an air pollutant under the clean air act. Yet, almost a year after the judgment, ample public hearings, and a time to gather comments, the . . .
EPA denies California global warming emission standards for cars
In an extremely unusual response to the waiver request, Administrator Johnson sent a short letter to Governor Schwarzenegger explaining that EPA intended to deny California's request for a waiver. California, along with other states that adopted California's standards and a few that have not adopted the standards, have sued EPA on its denial of the waiver request.
Now the agency has published its final notice denying the waiver. EPA makes the argument that the circumstances of California are not "compelling and extraordinary." Basically, EPA argues, because the effects of global warming will be felt globally, the actions of California are not warranted because the catastrophic effects EPA projects for California will be felt all over the country.
Since last December, a cascade of revelations have been made about the political climate under which Administrator Johnson made a unilateral decision to deny California's request for the waiver. Recently released internal memos from the EPA show that Johnson's staff sided with California. They gave him materials in support of the California waiver, but after meetings with the White House, Johnson chose to ignore them . . .
An appropriate response would be to set stringent federal standards for greenhouse gas emissions. The gross indifference of EPA's actions are unconscionable in light of the effects global warming including changes in precipitation trends, sea level rise, desertification, and increased frequency and severity of wildfires to name just a few.
When the political climate changes people may notice. Some may complain, demonstrate, and dissent; however, these are few in number. When the weather wields Mother Nature's distress, only a whimper is heard from the masses. An article may appear in the newspapers. Broadcasters may offer a comment. Most of the people, particularly in America continue to stay settled in. Even in the Spring, citizens in the United States mentally settle in for a long "winter nap." They remain asleep and do not attend to the environment and how our actions destroy it.
Bees are unable to ignore what humans in a consumptive society do. These sensitive insects feel the effects to their core. Hives are disturbed; colonies collapse. Bee colonies expire and no one knows why. Few are aware of how this impacts the Earth, inclusive of selfish human beings. The planet may be in peril, but people are able to take pleasure in plasma television, and other playful pursuits.
Meanwhile, the bees are burdened. Ultimately, they die en masse.
In 24 states throughout the country, beekeepers have discovered bumblebees have begun to disappear without explanation. The loss of insect life is great. The livelihood of farmers is at stake. More importantly, numerous crops are threatened. Few Americans recall that food is not magically found in supermarkets. Fruits and vegetables are grown in fields. All that sustains human life is effected by the sun, the moon, tides, sea levels that rise, rain, snow, or the environment as a whole. The whole is what is worrisome.
"I have never seen anything like it," Mr. Bradshaw, 50, said from an almond orchard here beginning to bloom. "Box after box after box [of bee hives] are just empty. There's nobody home."
The sudden mysterious losses are highlighting the critical link that honeybees play in the long chain that gets fruit and vegetables to supermarkets and dinner tables across the country.
Beekeepers have fought regional bee crises before, but this is the first national affliction.
Now, in a mystery worthy of Agatha Christie, bees are flying off in search of pollen and nectar and simply never returning to their colonies. And nobody knows why. Researchers say the bees are presumably dying in the fields, perhaps becoming exhausted or simply disoriented and eventually falling victim to the cold.
The drones are not the only species to vanish as if into thin air. Millions of animals in various classes have disappeared and Americans simply move on. Some take note, and say, "Tis the nature of things." Every entity has it season. Organisms live; and then they die. In time we will all go.
Now, the bats take their turn. A few are baffled, those who take a moment to notice the interdependence of life. The persons who see beyond the city, the concrete, the cars, or the comfy sofa, on which we sit when it is just too cold to venture out, study the bats as they pass away and ponder.
Bats Perish, and No One Knows Why
By Tina Kelley
The New York Times
March 25, 2008
Al Hicks was standing outside an old mine in the Adirondacks, the largest bat hibernaculum, or winter resting place, in New York State.
It was broad daylight in the middle of winter, and bats flew out of the mine about one a minute. Some had fallen to the ground where they flailed around on the snow like tiny wind-broken umbrellas, using the thumbs at the top joint of their wings to gain their balance.
All would be dead by nightfall. Mr. Hicks, a mammal specialist with the state's Environmental Conservation Department, said: "Bats don't fly in the daytime, and bats don't fly in the winter. Every bat you see out here is a 'dead bat flying,' so to speak."
They have plenty of company. In what is one of the worst calamities to hit bat populations in the United States, on average 90 percent of the hibernating bats in four caves and mines in New York have died since last winter.
Only one in ten of these winged New York creatures survive what is meant to be a time to sleep. Bats in Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, and Virginia are also thought to be affected. The bats awaken only long enough to fly to their death. Perchance, these mammals in the order Chiroptera foreshadow the future of humans. We will scurry about, see little, and sleep. Then, rouse long enough to realize it is too late. One day soon, we may die moments after we leave our cozy caves. High seas from melted ice may be our doom.
Perchance, the public might consider there are options; opportunities are made. Rather than purchase what is supplied and accept that these commodities must be what we demand, tell proprietors, restaurateurs, manufacturers, and members of Congress convenience does not mean as much to you as Mother Nature does. When you dine out, as a patron, you have the right to bring a washable plate if the bistro provides only Styrofoam. Travel with utensils. Store them in a backpack if you use mass transit or in the glove compartment of a vehicle, that does not guzzle gallons of gas.
Complain of built in obsolescence. Write your Congressman or woman. Telephone tycoons. Repair what you are able to restore.
Create communities which actively demonstrate care. Insist city leaders build recycling centers. Speak out. Silence is not always golden. When your Mother, Earth, is being tortured, it is time to ask yourself, can I remain remiss. Our Mom, nature cries out each day. Please let us listen to her call. America, it is past time to wake up. We can only hope that it is not too late.
References, Realities of a Threatened Environment . . .
- New twister kills 2 northwest of Atlanta. MSNBC News. March 15, 2008
- Consumption by the United States. Mindfully.org
- EPA denies California global warming emission standards for cars. Public Citizen.
- Another warning - Antarctic ice melt shows warming is speeding up. The Salt Lake Tribune. March 28, 2008
- Antarctic shelf 'hangs by thread,' By Helen Briggs. British Broadcasting Company. March 25, 2008
- Humans cause global warming, US admit. . British Broadcasting Company. Monday, 3 June, 2002, 21:58 GMT 22:58 UK
- Honeybees Vanish, Leaving Keepers in Peril, By Alexei Barrionuevo. The New York Times. February 27, 2007
- Bats Perish, and No One Knows Why, By Tina Kelly. The New York Times. March 25, 2008
- Is Humanity Suicidal? By Edward O. Wilson. The New York Times Magazine. Resurgence.