This week, the New York Times reports that a scientific panel warned that “continued global warming poses a risk of rapid, drastic changes in some human and natural systems…[such as] the possible collapse of polar sea ice, the potential for a mass extinction of plant and animal life and the threat of immense dead zones in the ocean.”
The panel recommended the creation of an early warning system and greater preparation, so that humans will not be taken entirely by surprise. Though global warming and resulting changes have been a reality for some time, the panel appointed by the National Research Council said, we must come to terms with the fact that more changes are inevitable in the future, due to human impact on the environment. At the same time, they hope that we can slow or delay these changes to give people time to adapt.
Though the report rules out the kind of extreme and sudden collapse portrayed in post-apocalyptic action movies, they did cite some real looming threats. Some changes have already occurred, such as an infestation of beetles that ravaged North American forests, and the drastic decline of sea ice in the Arctic, which severely impacts humans and wildlife in the region and beyond. The researchers were most concerned about the possibilities of a sharp increase in the extinction of plants and animals in the future. They also warned that rising heat in the ocean could result in less oxygen in the deep, creating zones where no living creatures could survive. These sorts of drastic impacts have unknown consequences on the larger ecosystem, and in turn, the globe.
Protecting the Amazon rainforest is vital to preventing global warming. While the greenhouse gases released by human activities are rising fast and warming the earth, the rainforest acts as an immense carbon sink, storing billions of metric tons of carbon in tree leaves and roots. The world’s largest remaining tropical rainforest, the Amazon is estimated to store the equivalent of nearly 11 years of annual global carbon emissions. Every time those trees are cut and burned, that carbon gets released to the atmosphere and contributes to climate change.
That’s why we’re fighting to keep the trees standing. Join us and protect an acre.