Goodbye, Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, is the largest single structure on earth built by living organisms. A 2012 report showed that thirty percent of  it had already been killed off by ocean warming. Another 20 percent was lost in 2018. Half of the chain has disappeared into bleached, skeletal form, and this entire 2,600 kilometre chain of reefs off the northeast of Australia will all be dead within a decade. Eventually, (at least within this century) at least 90% of all coral reefs on earth will be dead. This is just one of many current signs that tell us how little time (if any) remains to avoid just some percentage of climate change's worst case scenarios.

A few days ago, I watched a video where the Swedish 'school strike' activist, Greta Thunberg, was asked what message she would give to other children and teenagers who might be watching. She said that her message would be (paraphrasing ...) 'Hope is not what is needed now. What's needed is action.' I have taken this fact about action over hope to heart, and this post is just one little way I feel I can take action, by sharing my grief and alarm with anyone who has ears to hear, whether they have come to the same realizations or not.

I recently saw Chris Hedges interviewing Dahr Jamail, the author of 'The End of Ice'. I believe this was the original catalyst which caused my understanding of "Climate Change" to switch -- from a somewhat abstract and amporphous intellectual knowledge of a very serious "problem" (amorphous, partly because I sensed it as a gradual worsening of effects) -- to a more grounded, embodied realization of what terms like "catastrophic" and "Abrupt Climate Disruption" actually mean for us all -- right now, and in the coming decade(s). This deeper realization, backed up by investigating other sources, has involved various stages of the process of grieving for what is being so quickly destroyed and lost, and at the scale of loss, and the potential chaos and suffering, that lies ahead -- that is, what lies ahead even if humanity were to immediately change course and stop burning fossil fuels within a decade. ( The chances of such a quick, thorough course change may seem to be practically nil. However, transformative revolutions do happen. For example, the complete overhaul of U.S. manufacturing towards the war effort in WWII. )

I will give links below to three videos:
(1) The interview mentioned above.

(2) A presentation given a year ago by Dahr Jamail just before "The End of Ice" was published. The first part of this talk presents a good, eye-opening account of some of the recent scientific research and reports he used for the book. It shows pretty convincingly, in my opinion, just how far the reality of what is actually happening now diverges from the common picture you get from main-stream media, and from the common perception that catastrophic change is something that "could" happen -- "sometime in the future." The second part shows how Jamail has personally chosen to act in the face of this, and then he takes some audience questions.

(3) A 'talking heads' documentary, but I found it quite good. The speakers are all identified at the end of the film. ( It begins with the intriguing possibility that the 'human experiment' of intelligent, conscious life may actually be unique, or extremely rare in the universe (requiring billions of years of evolution, plus several specific geophysical conditions coming together); it then moves on to the climate crisis. )

Lastly, I've transcribed Chris Hedges' introduction to his interview of Dahr Jamail:

"We have begun the sixth great mass extinction, driven by our 150 year binge on fossil fuels. We are pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at ten times the rate of the mass extinction known as "The Great Dying", 252 million years ago. The glaciers in Alaska alone are losing an estimated 75 billion tons of ice every year. The oceans, which absorb over 90 percent of the excess heat trapped by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, are warming and acidifying, melting the polar ice caps, and resulting in rising sea levels and oxygen-starved ocean dead zones.
We await a 50 gigaton 'burp', or pulse, of methane from thawing arctic permafrost beneath the east Siberian arctic shelf, which will release [the equivalent of] about two thirds of the total carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial era.
Some 150 to 200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal are going extinct every 24 hours -- 1000 times the natural or 'background' rate. This pace of extinction is greater than anything the world has experienced since the disappearance of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago."

- from "On Contact: Climate emergency with Dahr Jamail"

"On Contact: Climate emergency with Dahr Jamail"

A talk by Dahr Jamail, titled "Are We Already Off the Precipice?: The Progression of Anthropogenic Climate Disruption: A Sober Look at the Numbers"
(Takes a short while to stream in at first. Use on-screen controls to enlarge the slides section.)

Climate Documentary: The Cross of the Moment