By State Representative, Leon D. Young
Call it what you will: “Global Warming” or “Climate Change.” The issue is real and portends to only get worse, as evident by this most recent climatic shift.
Just last week, NASA confirmed that a chuck of floating ice roughly the size of Delaware broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula, producing one of the largest icebergs ever recorded and providing a glimpse of how the Antarctic ice sheet might ultimately start to fall apart. Granted, Delaware is a relative small state in comparison to others but, in this context, it’s hard to fully comprehend the enormity of this sheet of ice. By way of perspective, the crack that produced this gargantuan iceberg measured (an astonishing) 120 miles in length and 2,200 miles in actual surface area.
Unfortunately, the current human assault on our planet doesn’t stop there. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia has long been one of the world’s most magnificent natural wonders, so enormous it can be seen from space. However, huge sections of the Great Barrier Reef, stretching across hundreds of miles of its most pristine northern sector, were recently found to be dead, killed last year by overheated seawater. The damage to the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s largest living structures, is part of a global calamity that has been unfolding intermittently for nearly two decades and seems to be intensifying.
Moreover, there are some more frightening environmental concerns on the horizon. With modelling studies projecting a warmer and drier environment for the Amazon, climate change paints a bleak future for the region – a future where both people and biodiversity stand to lose. Over time, global climate change and more deforestation will likely lead to increased temperatures and changing rain patterns in the Amazon. Moreover, a warmer and drier environment for the region could convert from 30% up to 60% of the Amazon rainforest into a type of dry savanna.
Here are some other notable facts to mull over concerning this vital planetary ecosystem:
• More than 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest.
• More than half of the world’s estimated 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live in the tropical rainforests.
• One-fifth of the world’s fresh water is in the Amazon Basin.
At the end of the day, climate change and its subsequent analysis constitute real science, which must be taken seriously for the sake of humanity. If we continue our current head in-the-sand path, this planet will be rendered uninhabitable — with no viable place for the world population to go.