The Blue Marble

On June 23, 1988, James Hansen, director of the Godard Institute for Space Studies, in reply to a congressman who asked him when global warming would arrive, replied that it had already arrived. I don’t remember that hearing. Do you?

Since the hearing, conservatives and liberals alike, kowtowing to Business and fighting nearly all attempts to reign in human greed and behavior, have spent careers denying global warming. Chances are you have heard some Republican at some party explain the feeble analogy of ice in a cup. Fill a cup with ice and water, let the ice melt. The melted water takes no more room than a similar cup of water. Therefore: Melting ice in the arctic regions cannot raise sea levels. Logic! Right Paul Ryan?

Except, glaciers are on land. Earth’s glaciers have lost 279 billion tons of ice, creating 67 trillion gallons of water, from 2002 to 2017. Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica melted 455 billion tons of ice into water. The oceans have risen three inches in 25 years. That is 6,500 cubic miles of extra water, enough to cover the entire United States with water nine feet deep.

Why isn’t this news? It is. The trick is, you have to read the news. New York City and New Jersey are quietly redesigning and raising the height of all seaports. So are the major Navy shipyards. Parts of coastal Florida go underwater at high tide every day. Government entities have been preparing for global warming even as the Trumpuppets says it doesn’t exist. The Army is most concerned; global warming will affect our very security.

What? You haven’t seen the videos of apartment lobbies filling with water, the little old ladies demanding their mayors stop it? Coming soon: Ground Zero underwater for major parts of each year. Half of Florida—gone. Louisiana—gone. South Texas—gone.

America and Europe have warmed 1.89 degrees. Heat is rising faster in the north than in the south. A climate denier has his hand up: Couldn’t this be natural change? No. The sun has been going through a period of weakening. Natural change would mean Earth is slightly cooler right now.

In fact, the early climate change warnings are off by fifty years. Climate disruption is fifty years ahead of 1988 predictions. Earth is hotter, weather stormier, wildfires rage at record pace—twice the rate of thirty years ago. The Arctic Ocean is now navigable: Business rejoices.

Here is the problem I hope you will pose to your beautiful kids. Earth already has three times the amount of people it can support. Factor in the above statistics. In thirty more years, how many people will die from starvation, exposure, thirst, violence, etc. due to a global disaster? If you answered: the entire Third World, so you don’t care, you may be a Republican. You child will get it immediately.

Remember the Dust Bowl? Of course you don’t. John Steinbeck told us all about it. But Dust Bowl 2 will be dustier, hotter, more arid; the Joad family that rides Dust Bowl 2 out will lose everyone.

Oh yeah: no butterflies, bees, coral reefs, peaches, fish, eagles, blueberries, hummingbirds. There will even be a last tree, for people to post selfies next to. Then the tree will be cut down for lumber.

God opened up a chemistry set and unleashed the Big Bang—to see what would happen. A blue marble way off from the center of the universe coughed itself into existence. Then, after a puny four billion years, the blue marble died coughing. There was no vaccine.

No way?


For: Finn, Veronica, Katie, two Matties, Amanda, Mikey, Declan, Ellie and her sister, Abigail, Davey, Elise, Bekira, Tali, Vanessa, Sophie (who just might change the world), Skylin, Zoe, Luke, Morgan, Charlie, Jason, Stephen, and David. With love.

About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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