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Davis Journal

A slow burn

Sep 02, 2022 12:09PM ● By Peri Kinder

If Al Gore is crying alone in a rainforest, does he make a sound? I’m gonna say no, because he’s been warning us about the devastating effects of climate change for 40 years, but no one can hear him. 

So here we are, surrounded by rising temperatures, severe storms, wildfires, drought, species extinction and the demise of the Choco Taco. If I was getting hotter each year, I’d be okay with that, but when our planet gets even a touch warmer, things start to go awry. 

Our Great Salt Lake is facing some dire global warming effects. With the lake shrinking, Antelope “Island” has to use air-quotes. The brine shrimp industry could go the way of the dinosaurs. And the lake is now officially called the Great Salt Lick. 

Scientists say a toxic dust cloud rising from the dried-up lake bed will prompt a new line of citrus-scented Pledge products to “Remove deadly arsenic from your home because you didn’t address this problem decades ago, idiot.”

Remember in the ‘70s, when it was discovered that chlorofluorocarbons from aerosol hairsprays were destroying the ozone layer, that thin layer of protection that absorbs radiation so we don’t get microwaved by the sun?

Everyone used aerosol hairspray to get big hair and sky-high bangs. In fact, Aqua Net was our school mascot. But when we learned the chemicals damaged our atmosphere, there was a worldwide campaign to ban them – and it happened. Everyone agreed the ozone was worth protecting and did something about it. Crazy, huh?

Where’s that cohesion now? 

Remember in the spring of 2020, when people actually cared about trying to stop the spread of COVID-19? We isolated in our homes, playing endless games of Uno, Clue and Cards Against Humanity, until getting the disease didn’t seem so bad. 

Flights were canceled, millions of cars were off the roads, and introverts were having big celebrations. By themselves. In their closets. 

During those brief weeks, cities around the world showed an improvement in air and water quality. Even in Utah, the sky was bluer and the air was cleaner. Now we’re back in our cars and the air is trying to kill us.

I recently walked through the Room of Extinction and Forewarning at the Utah Museum of Natural History, where dinosaur bones are displayed, like the 90-foot-long Barosaurus that was all neck and tail, and died 150 million years ago. A trophy wall of triceratops’ skulls stared down at me with hollow eyes and gaping jaws. Giant sloths and massive bears wandered this area 12,000 years ago.

Of all the species that ever existed on Earth, 99.9 percent are now extinct. We could soon lose mountain gorillas, black rhinos, African forest elephants and orangutans.

Here’s the thing, the Earth will be fine. It’s gone through climate cycles for 4.5 billion years. It’s watched civilizations rise and fall, and specialty soda shops fade into extinction. However, humanity is in a spot of trouble.

“But the climate is going to change anyway. Why is it our problem?” annoying people ask. 

Shut up. Yes, climate change happens naturally, but thanks to humans, the process has sped up like a meteor breaking the sound barrier.

I don’t want my grandchildren to worry about water and food and sharknados. We need to elect leaders who promote green solutions. We need politicians who care less about their pocketbook and more about the planet’s future. 

I believe in global warming because I’m not a knucklehead. It’s my fear that one day my skeleton will be displayed in a museum as an extinct species, with the sound of Al Gore quietly weeping through the speakers. λ