While the world cowers in terror from the approach of a swine flu pandemic, an even more dangerous threat to life on earth is being ignored. This week, for example,the media brushed aside a report that massive ice chunks are crumbling away from a shelf in the western Antarctic Peninsula and concentrated instead on criticizing Vice President Joe Biden’s remark that he would advise family members to stay off airplanes until the flu threat waned. The outrage Joe’s remark elicited from the airline industry was apparently more “newsworthy” than the advancing menace of global warming.
The news item that failed to excite the media told about a 127-square-mile ice bridge that shattered completely. And researchers warned that an even an even more massive tract – 1,300 square miles – of ice in the same area is in danger of breaking off in coming weeks.
Massive ice chunks are breaking away from the Arctic and Antartic shelves! If this trend is not halted, the results will be catastrophic. Huge coastal areas will be inundated, millions of people will be displaced, millions will die. Millions!
“There is little doubt that these changes are the result of atmospheric warming,” David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey was quoated as saying.
How unequivocal is that? Yes, it’s global warming that caused the breakaway. And (despite the mindless nattering of scoffers like the Fox News crowd) global warming will continue to wreak havoc with the ice caps, alter the world’s climate patterns and inevitably bring le deluge. This is not some distant prospect; it’s just a few years away, unless drastic action is taken now to apply the brakes.
Meanwhile, the argument goes on: Is climate change really being caused – in whole or in part – by pollution? Al Gore says so. But there are others who sneer at the idea. Climate change is a natural phenomenon, they say, which occurs at certain intervals with or without pollution. At least, I think that’s the gist of their argument. But it doesn’t matter.
Whatever the reasons, there’s no disputing the effects of climate change – and they are a lot more alarming than swine flu.