By Dominick A. DellaSala, posted April 22, 2018 at Medford Mail Tribune
In 1992, I was one of 1,700 scientists, including Nobel laureates, who issued the “Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” because of damage humans were inflicting on the Earth. This March, I joined 20,000 scientists in sounding a second alarm as humanity is on an even faster collision with Earth’s life-giving systems.
This is not Chicken Little or “fake news.” Scientists read the planet’s life signs like the warning lights on a car’s dashboard. We use satellites, global weather stations and polar ice measurements to document how humans are altering the global climate and destroying the planet’s ecosystems in unprecedented ways. In the years since the first warning, Earth’s dashboard lights are signaling a pending system-wide failure that threatens life on Earth on a scale soon to rival the epic demise of the dinosaurs.
Consider these alarming trends:
Half of all species on Earth could be extinguished by mid- to late century, mainly from habitat destruction and global warming as more and more people consume finite natural resources and our ecological footprint reaches dangerous levels. For the Rogue Valley, summer temperatures will heat up by 7 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Coastal towns will experience unprecedented sea-level rise from melting glaciers. Health ailments such as Lyme disease, asthma and heat exhaustion, exacerbated by climate change, will increasingly hurt children, the elderly and the economically disadvantaged. Category 5 hurricanes will become the new norm for east coast residents and Alaska Native villages will be displaced by floods and permafrost melting. It’s hard to put a smiley face on Earth Day celebrations after forecasting such alarming trends. But I am an eternal optimist and a parent, so I have to believe there is still time to act for a better future.