Glaciers Are Quickly Melting, as Global Warming Inches Closer
As the heat in Southern California rises well above 90 degrees in April, striking both Los Angeles and the national news, dire reports are certain to confirm widespread suspicions about global warming.
In fact, U.S. and British government researchers found that an ice shelf the size of Connecticut, called the "Wordie" ice shelf, which had been disintegrating since the 60's, has now completely disappeared. The Wordie ice shelf was adjacent with the northern portion of the Larsen ice shelf, which was three times the size of Rhode Island and has also disappeared. An ice bridge connecting the Wilkins ice shelf to the Antarctic continent broke off, consequentially making scientists believe it is going to completely come loose from Antarctica.
It may be easy to ignore these alarming messages, but just a simple look at the news headlines of even the most prestigious news organizations suggest that something apocalyptic is coming.
According to a United Nations panel of scientists, sea levels may rise from 24 inches to 215 feet by 2100 as a result of the melted ice sheets of Greenland, Antarctica and others. In addition, Montana's National Glacier Park will be gone by 2030, causing an endangerment of the animals that live there, according to National Geographic news. Glaciers across the Tibetan plateau have become a climate change hot spot, and with its accelerated melting rate will be gone in less than 50 years and will increase river flows globally. The Arctic's summer ice will be gone in 30 years, new winter ice is quickly lessening in amount, and the ice caps are thinning out. Wild polar bears are becoming cannibals because of lack of food in the arctic. Even Switzerland and Italy are considering changing their mutual borders because of melting glaciers in the Alps.
These unusual weather patterns seem like a message from Mother Earth, warning us of the global warming to come. Indeed, reading too much into these "end of the world" headlines can make one a little crazy with worry.
These headlines may not relate directly to Santa Monica or L.A., but so far L.A. is ready for an intense climate change. Our governor Arnold Schwarzenegger even boasted California's progressions when the Environmental Protection Agency came to L.A. to learn from our city and state's policy of passing laws to stop greenhouse gas emissions since 2002. As for the U.S., President Barack Obama is planning to put the nation on a path that will slash over 80 percent of greenhouse emissions, according to the L.A. Times, which will prevent intense climate changes that are bound to happen if problems go unnoticed.
L.A. may be aware of what is happening with our planet, but many still believe that global warming is a myth and unimportant. According to an ABC News Washington Post poll, 34 percent of Americans believed global warming was a serious topic, and it was ranked the last in a list of topics of interest to Americans.
Even though many scientists assert that global warming is a reality, Americans may not be concerned now, but when will they? When people start to die from droughts? When the polar bears become extinct? Or when a major metropolitan city suddenly becomes wiped out?
Yes, it is a horrible topic to talk about but it is a reality that must be confronted and dealt with before anything horrific happens, not just to ourselves but to families that some of us want to have someday and the children of the future. Indeed, these children may face the most problems of any generation yet, if we do not do something now.
This week the U.S. is celebrating Earth Day, meant at its creation in 1970 to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. Do not let this year's Earth Day pass by without doing something for the Earth: conserve energy, recycle, and live in moderation. Before you know it, you will be skipping out on bottled water in exchange for containers, re-using plastic bags at grocery stores, unplugging appliances when you're not using them, and realizing how simple it is to go green.