Written by Sarah Kitteringham
This morning the BBC reported "Polar ice loss quickens, raising seas". Apparently, ice loss from Antarctica and Greenland has accelerated and Earth is losing about 3 mm of coast per year. While this seems a minuscule amount annually, it will add up. If this loss of land mass continues at the present rate, in 8-9 years we will have lost an inch of land. And in just over 300 years, we will have lost one meter. Despite this being a reality far enough away that none of us will live to see, it creates vast issues for future generations both in terms of population demographics and monetarily.
It's irrelevant whether you believe in global warming or not. The fact remains that nations worldwide will lose landmass in the upcoming years. What makes this so disturbing is the population concentration. As reported in Scientific American, "200 million people live within one meter above the present sea level, including eight out of 10 of the world's largest cities and all the megacities of the developing world." It goes on to report the sea level will eventually rise "by at least 65 meters." However, that first meter alone will result in $944 billion in loses to the world's Gross Domestic Product.
We've all been beaten to death with claims over global warming, and we're all encouraged to change our ways so we can prevent the catastrophic changes. Perhaps the ice loses are caused by natural fluctuations in the earth's mean temperature, then again, maybe not. Regardless of what you choose to believe, you can do nothing, make simple changes, or make significant changes and encourage others to do the same. For those in the hopeful boat, there is a plethora of things one can do to reduce their environmental footprint. From eating locally, taking transit, recycling, using incandescent light bulbs and a clothesline, reducing your waste, reusing more ... the list goes on. For those who don't care, there's no changing your mind, so I won't even bother trying.