What does the sand smell like?

In Atlin, a significant river has vanished. In Austin, Texas, nocturnal bats are starting to fly during the day because it has become so freakishly dry there are no pests for them to eat at night. Put simply, they are starving.

In Atlin, a significant river has vanished.

In Austin, Texas, nocturnal bats are starting to fly during the day because it has become so freakishly dry there are no pests for them to eat at night. Put simply, they are starving.

As well, enormous lakes in the state have dried up this summer, leaving the carcasses of freshwater crabs and fish in the dust.

Fed by melting glaciers, global sea levels rose six inches in the 20th century and roughly one-quarter of the oceans’ coral reefs have died.

Greenland, once snow-white with ice, is now dirty brown.

And there is not one scientific body of national or international standing that disputes or challenges the assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which states the world is warming and the evidence shows the primary cause over the last 50 years is human activity.

Not one. Not anymore.

One national scientific organization had opposed the panel’s findings as late as four years ago – the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

But, in the face of the solid accumulated evidence, its obstinacy began to make it look both willfully blind and stupid. In July 2007, in the face of the accumulated evidence, it formally withdrew its criticism of all other scientific organizations’ research and joined the pack.

So, today, there is not a single credible scientific organization that doubts humanity is causing global warming. Not one. Not even the oil scientists.

We note this because we still see people, after they read that rivers are gone, or coral is vanishing or bats are flying in daylight, pooh-poohing climate change by saying the scientific community is not united in its belief humanity is cooking the planet.

They’ll often cite some website, or other, that will list “scientists” or people with PhDs who assert humanity isn’t responsible for climate change. Or it won’t be catastrophic.

It makes one wonder what the sand they’ve immersed their head in feels like. Is it warm? How does it smell?

In some ways, we are envious of their colossal ignorance.

Because for those of us still living in the real world, things are getting weird and frightening.

Lakes are vanishing and forests are dying and coral reefs and rivers are disappearing and starving bats are fluttering around in broad daylight alongside sparrows.

For decades, scientists have been chronicling this and warning us to take action. Plans were drafted, and then ignored.

And, now, we’re starting to see the effects of a warmer world for ourselves. Every day.

And, yeah, it is more than a little scary.


This week, it was revealed the Harper government is going to kill a monitoring network that assesses the Earth’s ozone layer.

It will end ozone measurements that have been collected without interruption for 45 years.

It’s being done to save money. Environment Canada won’t say how much will be saved, or what it will do with the archived data.

The network provides a third of the measurement data on the Arctic ozone layer.

A hole was discovered in the Northern Hemisphere’s ozone this spring. This has occurred despite regulation of ozone-depleting substances, baffling scientists.

Ottawa is also considering shutting down an archive of ice cores collected since 1970 by federal scientists.

It is part of massive layoffs in the Environment Department provoked by the government’s stated goal of cutting the structural deficit it created by buying fighter jets, building super jails, subsidizing business and cutting taxes.

The cuts to the department are eroding international agreements on ozone monitoring and research.

And they are crippling Canada’s ability to monitor the environment and discover and respond to problems that crop up, according to national and international scientists.

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