I recently returned from a seven-month, winter bike ride from Fairbanks to Washington, D.C. I rode, impelled by the urgency of reigning in carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, motivated by the way of peace, which is the way of love. See www.rideforteplanet.blogspot.com. To get involved, see www.350.org.
In Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 97 percent of the climate researchers published in the field say man-made climate change is real. (“Target Atmospheric C02: Where Should Humanity Aim?” by James Hansen, Makido Sato et al. in Proceedings of the National academy of Science.)
I spoke with those who still believe climate change is part of a natural cycle and not human caused. It lets you off the hook for doing anything about it, if that’s your belief. There are those, of course, who just don’t know or are misinformed. But it’s also convenient if your motives are money-driven and you choose to ignore all the costs to the common good from continuing our addiction to burning fossil fuels. It’s the “what’s-in-it-for-me?” mind-set that places human needs above all other considerations that must change.
Climate has changed in the past but has occurred over the course of centuries, allowing living systems to adapt. The changes we are experiencing now are occurring over a relatively few decades — too short a period of time for plants, animals and humanity to readily adapt.
Riding south through Canada, I was struck by the sight of so many dead trees. I had seen this earlier on the Kenai Peninsula but had no idea it was happening across vast areas of the Yukon, into Alberta to southern British Columbia. Later, I saw a lot more in Colorado. The winters are no longer cold enough to kill the spruce and pine bark beetle infestations causing widespread dying of trees.
Trees are the lungs of the planet, producing oxygen we need to breathe and absorb carbon dioxide. The oceans absorb some carbon dioxide but are becoming more acidic, stressing coral reefs and shellfish fisheries, with consequences for long-term productivity. Acidification in some Alaska waters is already cause for concern.
Climate science is complex, but our understanding and ability to model it is better than any time in history. Perceived deficiencies in data are not a rationale for doing nothing. The present global mean of 385 parts of carbon dioxide per million parts of atmosphere is already in the danger zone. Positive feedback might set in motion dramatic climate changes that cannot be controlled if humans push the climate system far into disequilibrium. The possibility of near-term return of atmospheric composition beneath the tipping level for catastrophic effects practically is eliminated with continued growth of greenhouse gas emission for just another decade.
Everything is connected, and separation is an illusion in our quantum mechanical universe. (“Spontaneous Evolution,” by Lipton and Bhaerman.) We are part of a greater field called the source, universe, all-that-is, God. No structure or thing exists apart from it. Another way of putting it is, we are all one. What we give to another, whether ourselves or other living things, returns to the self individually or collectively because of our interconnectedness.
A “four-alarm fire” is raging on the planet and we are sleep-walking through it. Quantum mechanics acknowledges that the observer creates the reality. We have created a kind of hell on Earth through our misperceptions. Perpetuating the war way and continuing our polluting, plundering and poisoning way of life on the planet is a prescription for extinction.
The good news is people are waking up. I met some of them and was greatly encouraged. A new consciousness is arising. We must change our perceptions if we are to meet the many challenges facing us. If we are to survive as a species on this planet, it will be through strategies and ways of being that foster cooperation and sharing for the greater good, not perpetuating competitive strategies that benefit a relative few at the expense of the many — whether human or the environment.
If your heart’s desire is to end the “madness,” make it your intention to do so by acting on your highest thought aligned with universal values of love, compassion, honesty, integrity, courage and kindness. All thought is creative, actually arranging the particles of matter called reality through our conscious and unconscious beliefs. As improbable as it may seem, it’s through the power of our intention and acts of kindness multiplied a million-fold and more that will end the “madness” and create a new Earth. It is time.
Don Ross, aka Peace Rider, is a longtime Fairbanks resident and Bush air service pilot.