Year 4, Month 9, Day 16: Because The World Is Round

The Miami Herald sends intrepid reporter Nancy San Martin to Greenland:

QAQORTOQ, Greenland — — On an inlet nestled between soaring cliffs, huge chunks of ice shimmer from a distance like precious stones on a cocktail ring.

The icebergs take on various formations — a swan, a whale, a ship, a floating island. Some are as white as the shaved ice on a snow cone. Others as glaring as Superman’s kryptonite. The thickest blocks look utterly alive with blue lines running through them like veins, the result of melting and refrozen crevices within the layers of ice that broke away from the glaciers that once covered the nearby cliffs.

Amidst the slow-moving icebergs, the sound of lapping water is interspersed with cracks and pops, similar to the noise that comes from pouring warm water over a frozen ice tray. Up close, one can hear the drip, drip, drip of melting ice. As the sun gets hotter, the drips become a trickle, then a steady flow like rain pouring through a gutter after a heavy storm.

This is a snapshot of climate change.

The melting is taking place thousands of miles away, but its effects can be felt in South Florida in the form of rising sea levels. According to recent studies, the sea level has risen nine inches since the 1920s and if the sea-rise trend continues to accelerate — as some predict — parts of the state could eventually be submerged under water.

Since Miami is populated by retirees, they’ll all be dead by then, so who gives a shit? September 9:

Nancy San Martin’s report on how Greenlanders are coping with a radically changing world makes for compelling reading. It is self-evident to all but the willfully deluded that the transformations they see around them are harbingers of unwelcome and dangerous changes for those of us in more temperate latitudes.

For too long, climate change has been seen as a problem only affecting people and nations far from us, or times far from now. Given the effect rising sea levels are likely to have on Miami within our children’s lifetimes, this type of denial is no longer a viable option.

As droughts, extreme storms, heatwaves, and wildfires make clear, the greenhouse effect’s consequences are not going to stay comfortably outside American borders; we’re all starting to feel the hangover from our civilization’s century-long carbon binge. Soon enough, Floridians will have more in common with Greenlanders than either group can imagine.

Warren Senders


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