Huffpost Hawaii
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Joseph Carlisi Headshot

What Do You Believe?

Posted: Updated:

2014-04-02-BalanceofPower.jpg

A recent Gallup poll indicates that most Americans do not believe that global warming and extreme weather are connected. The March 6-9 poll included 1,048 adults selected randomly from all adults living in the United States.

Chester Davis of Gallup:

A general lack of concern with global warming might be why so many Americans explain the bad weather in terms of normal weather variations. The latest poll showed that two-thirds of Americans think global warming is happening now or will happen in their lifetimes. And only 36 percent of those people see it as a serious threat to their way of life. This is an increase from 25 percent in 1997. More people now do not think global warming poses a serious threat to their lifestyles now, compared with 1997, with the number going from nine percent then to 18 percent in this latest survey.

Juxtaposed with the results of this poll, are numerous, credible media releases reporting international/global instances and patterns of gross environmental change that scientists are associating with human activity. These instances of change are generally negative and involve severe climatic/weather related events including: catastrophic weather, rapidly diminishing sustainable habitats, decreasing crop yields, rising sea levels, declining biodiversity... extinction of a growing number of species, etc.

The Nature Conservancy says: "one-fourth of Earth's species will be headed for extinction by 2050 if the warming trend continues at its current rate."

Leaked draft report from UN panel seen by The Independent is the most comprehensive investigation into impact of climate change ever undertaken -- and it's not good news. Climate change will displace hundreds of millions of people by the end of this century, increasing the risk of violent conflict and wiping trillions of dollars off the global economy... the warming climate will place the world under enormous strain, forcing mass migration, especially in Asia and increasing the risk of violent conflict... climate change will reduce median crop yields by two percent per decade for the rest of the century -- at a time of rapidly growing demand for food. This will in turn push up malnutrition in children by about a fifth, it predicts. The report also forecasts that the warming climate will take its toll on human health, pushing up the number of intense heat waves and fires and increasing the risk from food and water-borne diseases... by the end of the century 'hundreds of millions of people will be affected by coastal flooding and displaced due to land loss...' It finds that climate change will 'reduce renewable surface water and groundwater resources significantly in most dry subtropical regions,' exacerbating the competition for water. Terrestrial and freshwater species will also face an increased extinction risk under projected climate change during and beyond the 21st century. -- The Independent, Wednesday, March 9, 2014

This week the world's largest general scientific society released a stark report on global warming that shows how dire, and how urgent, the problem is 'Based on well-established evidence, about 97 percent of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening...' 'The evidence is overwhelming: Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising,' says the report. 'Temperatures are going up. Springs are arriving earlier. Ice sheets are melting. Sea level is rising. The patterns of rainfall and drought are changing. Heat waves are getting worse, as is extreme precipitation. The oceans are acidifying.' -- New York Times, March 20, 2014

What about here, in paradise? Noticed any changes lately? Sneezing, coughing, nosebleeds, irritated sinuses, itching eyes? A few weeks ago, I met an airline pilot, friend of mine, at a favorite Waikiki beach. "When I flew in yesterday," he said, "I had the scary feeling that I was coming into LAX. It looked like that familiar, rusty LA haze." More often this winter, the trade winds have stopped and triggered extended periods of poor air quality, caused by volcanic smog or vog, created by sulfur dioxide and solid particles erupting from Kilauea volcano on the Big Island. This aggravates and produces a wide spectrum of respiratory problems.The loss of trade winds, along with a separate drop in winter Kona storms, is one reason parts of Hawaii are in drought. Maui, for example, just had the driest April on record.

So just a lot of alarmist noise from the radical fringe, overblowing short term weather trends and coincidental anomalies, or the new program for reality: looming environmental and societal collapse, relentlessly denied and suppressed by the giant corporations, wealthy elite and their political stewards, who have vested interests in maintaining the status quo?

Is our house of cards caving in, collapsing around us? Is it clear that the conditions of death and destruction that we have inflicted on the world are killing us as easily and indifferently as they are killing everything else? Do we choose to believe the science only when it suits us? There is nothing speculative or uncertain about our extraordinary error in failing to grasp the reality that (oops!) nature includes us. The environmental collapse that we have set in motion is no longer merely sending a signal. The wake-up call has escalated to a blaring, continuous alarm that mandates choices.

An unsparing examination of environmental collapse and human behavior can be found in Joseph Carlisi's book, Playing God on the Eve of Extinction, available from Amazon: here . Carlisi's paintings can be viewed here.