Saturday, June 18, 2016

In case Donald Trump and Big Sugar's dirty political war in Florida hasn't fried your brain: a few words from Greenland ... by gimleteye

July 2013, Eqi glacier photo by Alan Farago
Later this morning, a friend in his small plane is picking me up in Maine. Four hours later, we will be in Labrador, a province on the far eastern coast of Canada. Another four hours, we will have reached a remote mining town in northeastern Canada, and four hours beyond that, on the other side of Baffin Bay: Greenland.

A group of friends made a similar trip to Greenland four years ago.

Here is a link to posts from that visit in July 2013.
To those who can't go, the beauty and serenity of Greenland is readily available through photos and videos on the internet. What these don't capture is the remoteness and distance between civilization and the polar extremes.

The northern route on a passenger jet to Europe flies over or within site of Greenland. Because passengers fly by at an altitude of 30,000 feet, Greenland is little more than an afterthought between international airports, baggage carousels, and anticipated destinations that have nothing to do with ice or snow, glacier melt and icebergs. Moving slowly in a small plane from the urbanized east coast, a few thousand feet above a vast Canadian wilderness, the weight of geography begins to sink in. Greenland leaves it imprint on what we take for granted.

According to "May Marks One More Record Hot Month For The World", the warmest May on record blew through the temperature target of 2 degree celsius; established by scientists as a metric to keep the climate from spiraling into the unknown.
"Through April, the global average temperature was 2.6°F (1.45°C) above the average from that earlier period. Nations have agreed to limit carbon dioxide emissions to keep warming under 2°C (4°F) by the end of the century, but have discussed trying to achieve an even more ambitious target of 1.5°C (3°F)."
It is not going to be 113 degrees where I am traveling, but it will bring the dissonances swirling around the refusal of the Republican Party of Florida to acknowledge global warming. GOP leaders including Marco Rubio, Pam Bondi, Gov. Rick Scott and Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam are part of a brilliantly coordinated disinformation campaign -- straight out of the Donald Trump reality TV / political horror show. They ignore the realities of climate change in our backyards, on our coastlines, and through the massive rainfall and flooding events that are wrecking our rivers, estuaries, bays and Everglades.

To some, it may seem I write only about the Everglades and global warming. Here is how the two are connected. Global warming is the greatest story in the history of the world.  Fixing the Everglades should be the model of science and engineering in the service of a sustainable economy and restored natural resources. That is what is at stake in Everglades restoration. That is the ideal and principle on which billions of taxpayer dollars are being invested.

However, the reality is dismal. Like so many, I am watching the figurative conflagrations within the Republican Party and the literal fires consuming iconic California with a sense of anxiety and alarm.

What is happening in Tallahassee is that politicians afflicted by addiction to campaign cash from Big Sugar -- the same flood of Dark Money the Koch Brothers have been paving the road for anti-science ideologues in the Republican party -- are all-in on the game of kicking the can down the road. The unwillingness and inability of politics to shape itself to an efficient, clear outcome on the Everglades portends poorly for our existential fight on climate change.

There is no Plan B, says the bumper sticker. One of our Everglades advocates, Joe Podgor, said it another way: "Restoring the Everglades is a test. If we pass, we may get to keep the planet." I'll be writing about what the planet looks like from the perspective of Greenland next week.


Geniusofdespair said...

Take another photo of the Equi Glacier. After one generation after you die, you are all but forgotten and no one much that owes their existence to you remembers you. Memory of you might last 2 generations. Maybe that is why people - parents - don't care about the future because the future does not include them in memory. The Indians respected their ancestors and thus, respected the earth.

Enjoy your Father's Day and know in 40 years you will be a speck on your ancestors' memory. Heck, my husbands uncle was a respected lawyer in the community and an extreme liberal. He knew he was going to die so he bought rental buildings to provide for his children who he loved dearly , his grandchildren -- Have embraced the Conservatives in marriage from an alternate bloodline --with not much thought to the legacy of this great man and what shaped his beliefs. I am not a blood relative and respect him more. They call my beliefs liberal in an accusing way without a thought of who put them on this planet and the genes that made them who they are: it was a liberal war hero and a public servant.

Happy Father's Day. They remember you today and not tomorrow. And apparently, if you don't care about global warming you don't care much about the future of your bloodline either. Stay merrily in the present. Plenty of bliss to go around for the deniers tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Good comments from both of you. Great work! Keep it up. Educating the masses is the only way we will get headed in the right direction.

Gayle Ryan said...

Always share on Facebook - thank you ALL for ALL you do!!!! We need you.....

Science Teacher said...

Even more so than Greenland, most of Canada, the Upper Midwest, and New England were completely covered by ice and glaciers less than 20,000 years ago. When the great ice age was at its peak, the land area of Florida was three times the size it is today.

But the fact that there is any land above water in Florida is always of significance to geologists. That's because the Florida peninsula has been submerged beneath the ocean for most of the earth's history (and within the next 50,000 years, it likely will be again).

The bottom line? Climate change is completely natural and there is nothing man can (or should) do to stop it. Go on with your life. Live it to the fullest and stop compulsively worrying and feeling guilty about climate change, something out of mankind's control.

Anonymous said...

Personally i think that if we start with the smaller projects, reducing pollution ect, and focus on fixing those first we will have a much clearer understanding of what the big projects must entail to be successful. Is it possible for you to do a piece on the waste management companies that are dumping their sewage all over our landscape?