.

Background

Climate change is not new. For over tens of thousands of years, climate has changed with some species dying out and new ones evolving, based on temperature, oxygen availability and weather patterns.  Historically climate change happened naturally and gradually with natural systems having the time, space and environmental support to adapt. Today’s dilemma is different from past climate change. Today, because of overuse and abuse of resources, many eco-systems are already vulnerable because of layered challenges to their survival, such as desertification and stripped agricultural lands depleted of top soil, nitrogen and other nutrients needed for life to proliferate.  The addition of human-imposed insults exposes the planet to erratic, unpredictable weather patterns. The planet Earth has already warmed by at least one degree Fahrenheit over the past century with the potential for a rise of 11 degrees Fahrenheit during this century; of the ten hottest years recorded, most occurred in the last decade.  A growing number of reports predict that by 2050 as many as 150 million or more people will migrate because of adverse environment. Climate change is caused primarily by an over-concentration of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is by far the most abundant of these gases that comes primarily from the burning of fossil fuel, such as oil, natural gas and coal; carbon dioxide may remain in the atmosphere for as long as a century or more.  Once in the atmosphere it lingers for hundreds of years and as it builds up it is absorbed into tree foliage and into the oceans. As the oceans become more concentrated with CO2, water becomes acidic, changing the environment for sea life and creating risk of the extinction of sea plants and animals. This in turn endangers the economic situations of families who earn their living by fishing, crabbing, and shrimping.  Restaurants globally fall short of these delights on their menus, losing business and their livelihoods as well. The impacts of climate change spread far and wide and threaten human welfare, economic trends and livelihoods, as well as ecosystems throughout the world.  After years of denial, suspicion, and argumentation, scientists now agree that the accumulation of CO2
emissions from past decades has contributed heavily to the negative impacts on our global societies and our environment.  Indeed, there are some positive impacts but they are overpowered by the negative impacts we are experiencing. To name a few: Changing sea levels and temperatures threaten all forms of life and habitats. Extreme weather events occur, including increasingly frequent floods, droughts, and tropical storms; rising seawater temperatures create heavier and more extreme cyclones and typhoons all of which bring disruptions to populations, plants and animals. Land-living plant and animal species are now threatened and at increased risk of extinction with 30% of known species already eliminated. Marine life is imperiled due to the increased acidity of oceans that absorb CO2 and react with water forming carbonic acid that decreases the capacity of marine organisms to form their shells. Marine life is also endangered because of its ingestion of plastic from disposable, discarded water and soda bottles. Drinkable water and food deficits are already resulting from changing weather patterns that disallow familiar food growth and patterns of farming that have sustained whole groups of people. A lower resistance of plants and animals to disease and infection is already occurring. As temperatures warm and move to higher altitudes, disease-carrying mosquitoes, as one example of thriving species benefitting from a hot humid environment, infect more populations. Rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns force trees and plants around the world to move to more polar regions. Rainforests, lacking water, will be reduced creating further extinctions of plant and animal species. Methane, another gas that is twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide, does its share of over- insulating the planet as well.  Methane gas is emitted from agricultural sources such as farm animals and their excrement as well as from leaking fracking wells. 

Background

© Copyright Franciscan Federation 2015
Climate change is not new. For over tens of thousands of years, climate has changed with some species dying out and new ones evolving, based on temperature, oxygen availability and weather patterns.  Historically climate change happened naturally and gradually with natural systems having the time, space and environmental support to adapt. Today’s dilemma is different from past climate change. Today, because of overuse and abuse of resources, many eco-systems are already vulnerable because of layered challenges to their survival, such as desertification and stripped agricultural lands depleted of top soil, nitrogen and other nutrients needed for life to proliferate.  The addition of human-imposed insults exposes the planet to erratic, unpredictable weather patterns. The planet Earth has already warmed by at least one degree Fahrenheit over the past century with the potential for a rise of 11 degrees Fahrenheit during this century; of the ten hottest years recorded, most occurred in the last decade.  A growing number of reports predict that by 2050 as many as 150 million or more people will migrate because of adverse environment. Climate change is caused primarily by an over-concentration of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is by far the most abundant of these gases that comes primarily from the burning of fossil fuel, such as oil, natural gas and coal; carbon dioxide may remain in the atmosphere for as long as a century or more.  Once in the atmosphere it lingers for hundreds of years and as it builds up it is absorbed into tree foliage and into the oceans. As the oceans become more concentrated with CO2, water becomes acidic, changing the environment for sea life and creating risk of the extinction of sea plants and animals. This in turn endangers the economic situations of families who earn their living by fishing, crabbing, and shrimping.  Restaurants globally fall short of these delights on their menus, losing business and their livelihoods as well. The impacts of climate change spread far and wide and threaten human welfare, economic trends and livelihoods, as well as ecosystems throughout the world.  After years of denial, suspicion, and argumentation, scientists now agree that the accumulation of
CO2 emissions from past decades has contributed heavily to the negative impacts on our global societies and our environment.  Indeed, there are some positive impacts but they are overpowered by the negative impacts we are experiencing. To name a few: o Changing sea levels and temperatures threaten all forms of life and habitats. o Extreme weather events occur, including increasingly frequent floods, droughts, and tropical storms; rising seawater temperatures create heavier and more extreme cyclones and typhoons all of which bring disruptions to populations, plants and animals. o Land-living plant and animal species are now threatened and at increased risk of extinction with 30% of known species already eliminated. o Marine life is imperiled due to the increased acidity of oceans that absorb CO2 and react with water forming carbonic acid that decreases the capacity of marine organisms to form their shells. Marine life is also endangered because of its ingestion of plastic from disposable, discarded water and soda bottles. o Drinkable water and food deficits are already resulting from changing weather patterns that disallow familiar food growth and patterns of farming that have sustained whole groups of people. o A lower resistance of plants and animals to disease and infection is already occurring. As temperatures warm and move to higher altitudes, disease-carrying mosquitoes, as one example of thriving species benefitting from a hot humid environment, infect more populations. o Rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns force trees and plants around the world to move to more polar regions. o Rainforests, lacking water, will be reduced creating further extinctions of plant and animal species. Methane, another gas that is twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide, does its share of over-insulating the planet as well.  Methane gas is emitted from agricultural sources such as farm animals and their excrement as well as from leaking fracking wells.