8 Oct 2011, 12:01am

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  • Year 2, Month 10, Day 8: “Consumption” Used To Be A Name For Tuberculosis, Remember

    The Montreal Gazette notes NASA’s just-released figures on the decline in Arctic ice:

    MONTREAL — Sea ice in the Arctic declined last month to the second-lowest level ever recorded, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration said Tuesday.

    Satellite data showed the summertime sea ice coverage in the north narrowly missed the all-time record low, which was attained in 2007, NASA said in a statement.

    The Arctic sea ice recedes every summer as the sun’s rays reach higher into the northern hemisphere and sea ice reaches its annual minimum each year in September.

    Joey Comiso, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said the sustained low minimum sea ice levels are part of a large-scale decline over the past three decades.

    I’m taking a break from chastising idiots; I can’t do it every day without a few minutes of relief. Sent Oct. 4:

    NASA’s report on the Arctic’s dwindling sea ice offers us an all-too-visible reminder of the damage wrought by our civilization’s exuberant fossil-fuel consumption. If humanity is to survive and prosper in the coming centuries, we can no longer operate under the ignorant assumption that our consumption-based lifestyles can be sustained indefinitely. While the world’s poorest nations have negligible carbon footprints, their futures in a warming world are far more precarious.

    When contemplating a future without fossil fuels, the question is not “if,” but “when” and “how.” The sooner we stop burning our planet’s stored carbon reserves, the more likely we are to avoid triggering irreversible climatic tipping points; we can make the transition willingly and thoughtfully, or have it forced on us by the catastrophic consequences of a runaway greenhouse effect. The choice is ours, and NASA’s news makes it clear that there is no time to waste.

    Warren Senders

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