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PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. — A new United Nations report projecting the extinction of one-eighth of all animal and plant species should rattle the cages of any remaining skeptics regarding climate change and the central role humans have played in Earth’s accelerating destruction.

Kathleen Parker mug

kathleen parker

The report is by far the most-depressing and frightening bit of news among an exhausting list of dire predictions and seemingly incessant fire alarms, from threatened increases to U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports and market plunges to North Korea’s missile tests and President Trump’s affronts to the Constitution.

Just when you thought you couldn’t take any more.

Finding out that 1 million species face extinction without radical, corrective changes in human behavior is akin to finding out you have a fatal disease. One day you have a thousand problems; the next, you have just one. Nothing in today’s headlines compares to the catastrophic potential posed by climate change and the decimating effects of careless consumerism around the globe.

The four horsemen of the Apocalypse — generally considered to be Conquest, War, Famine and Death — weren’t far off the mark. Today, we might revise the New Testament version to include Plastics, Emissions, Deforestation and Homo sapiens.

Lest some folks become incensed by this apparent disparagement of man’s great works (see war and conquest), be assured that such evidence is everywhere abundant and noted.

But men and women who can create plastic (my own great-uncle/chemist played a part) can surely find biodegradable — and profitable — alternatives.

Dustin Hoffman may not don flippers and scuba gear to unwillingly celebrate the future of plastics, as famously portrayed in “The Graduate,” but perhaps a young congresswoman from the Bronx will lead a confetti parade driving a cardboard convertible.

It’s time to change our habits and, pending a better cliché, save the planet. It’s dying and we’ll die with it, eventually.

The report, a summary of which was released Monday by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, was the result of a three-year study by 145 authors from 50 countries.

Robert Watson, a British chemist who served as chair of the panel, wrote in a statement that “the health of ecosystems on which we and all species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

But, Watson also said, it’s not too late to repair and sustain nature — if we act now in transformative ways. It won’t be enough for individuals to recycle their Dasani bottles or tote their own shopping bags, though these are helpful and keep us mindful. But big companies have to sign on and governments have to create incentives and policies to advance sweeping change. Needless to say, this won’t be easy.

In certain quarters, resistance to policy and procedures will be seized upon as a noble counter to regulatory zeal. Already, some so-called “conservatives” are gearing up to treat the report as a globalist attempt to hinder America’s return to greatness via more burning of fossil fuels, drilling for oil offshore and declassifying conservation areas. But conservatives by definition should lead the imperative. To conserve what is good — isn’t that the point?

The report makes the essential connection to human wellness, as opposed to merely caring about the horrors endured by sea creatures dying with their stomachs packed with plastic or Arctic animals starving to death as the ground melts beneath their feet. If something hurts economies and schoolchildren, we eventually get around to paying attention. As Watson himself noted, “We need to link it to human well-being; that’s the crucial thing. Otherwise we’re going to look like a bunch of tree-huggers.”

If only there were enough trees to go around.

What’s clear is that there’s no time for delay or partisan bickering. What’s different now is the degree of acceleration. Everything is speeding up, including the temperature and acidification of oceans, which contribute to the loss of coral reefs, themselves underwater ecosystems essential to more than 25% of marine species.

Meanwhile, the world’s population is expected to reach nearly 10 billion by midcentury, according to the U.N. Already, it has tripled since 1950.

Collectively, we humans have altered 75% of Earth’s land and more than half of the marine environment. More people require more crops, require more land, require fewer trees, which ultimately results in warmer temperatures and you know the rest.

Who knows? The end of the everything may be the great unifier we’ve been looking for.

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Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker can be reached at kathleenparker@washpost.com.

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(59) comments

Cassandra2

Here's an important read for all those climate change deniers who gripe about the cost of changing their polluting ways. "Broken down to an individual level, fossil fuel subsidies cost every man, woman and child in the United States $2,028 that year."
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/fossil-fuel-subsidies-pentagon-spending-imf-report-833035/?fbclid=IwAR0-7auZuD6Eh2kzkjY3KI78cNiE0mo0rdQG_C4chgtVDpdNnkbD0zjb-pw

DMoney

Your existence is completely, 100% neutral to the environment? If not, you are a hypocrite.

oldhomey

Don't be so asinine, D. I know that is hard for you, but despite your oddball world view, you are not that stupid to take the sort of position you take in your 3:07pm post.

DMoney

No, you can't berate others for "their" transgressions when you yourself are behaving the same way. That would be asinine. But for the left it appears to be a normal behavior. It blows my mind that I can be the bad guy for highlighting that.

DMoney

Look at my post about the rapper Drake. Here's a person with more money, more of a voice, more reach than any of you will ever have. He could do more to fight climate change than any of you times 1000. What does he do? Buys a private massive jumbo jet. This is the SAME thing that Cassandra/Physics are doing, in principle. They don't have the millions Drake has, but darn it, they view it the same way.

oldhomey

D, am I giving you more credit for intelligence than I should? We live in a world that our history presents us. The only way up until now to keep ourselves warm in the winter, to power our vehicles of conveyance, to buy and store what we eat is to use carbon-based fuels and products. Many of us do what we can reasonably do right now to minimize this while supporting efforts to find a back solutions that will free us from fossil fuels, but we have to live in the meantime. I know that disappoints you and Crank and Climate and new2, but our reality is on the way in and yours is on the way out. I hope our reality arrives in time to get us back to a healthier Earth.

Now if you suggest that I am using argumentative tactics that I should not use, you are free to point them out, but don't think a surly accusation that I, myself, am "behaving in the same way." Convince me with a bill of particulars. I don't know that you are a bad guy, per se, but you certainly act like a foolish one much of the time.

capedcrusader

Baloney.

PhysicsIsFun

Here is an important book to read on this subject, "Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis". It discusses how we might avoid the looming environmental collapse. The first step is to acknowledge you have a problem and resolve to do something about it. Our country can not even do that. Unless we put our immense know how and will into solving this existential threat our children and grandchildren are going to inherit a world of hurt. (http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/05/jared-diamond-on-his-new-book-upheaval.html?utm_source=pocket-newtab)

DMoney

Have you, individually, acknowledged that you have a problem and resolved to do something about it? If you answer "yes", then the steps you've taken must be absolutely and completely transformative. I'm talking no car, no beef products, no air travel, no packaged consumer goods using any plastic. You better have rebuilt all your homes both domestic and internationally with green and carbon neutral standards. If you haven't done ALL of this, you are being a hypocrite.

DMoney

Another day, another liberal celebrity hypocrite. Here's a guy rapping about climate change who then buys his very own personal Boeing 767. Because OTHER'S must curb their behavior... not him!

https://www.climatedepot.com/2019/05/10/superstar-rapper-drake-who-rails-against-climate-change-buys-massive-private-jet/

DMoney

First, we're getting what we deserve. Humans are inherently destructive, wasteful and consuming. We won't fix this problem--but there WILL be a solution and the earth will be just fine.... once we go extinct. This is a certainty and actually quite calming to consider. Earth will be pure again.

Second, nothing brings out hypocrisy on the left like climate change and the environment. From the top (celebrities, politicians) down. Leo DiCaprio lives on an estate that requires probably more energy than Later Crosse county. I've seen his house--no solar farms, hydroelectric or wind turbines. Gore is famous for jet setting across the country on private jets. Corrrrrrrtez personal aide busted a hamburger a month after she denounced beef and their flatulence. In reality if you are participating in this economy and culture, you are participating in the degradation of planet Earth.

Lastly, why are liberals waiting on federal/global law? Just like with healthcare--if liberals weren't hypocrites they would unite, pool resources. They could have a major impact. But nooooo..... that would require ACTION. After all, socialism is for the people, NEVER the socialist. Fact.

martian2

I would disagree that humans are inherently destructive and wasteful and consuming. It is true that today's society does much of that but if you look at history of mankind that wasn't always the case. Native Americans lived with nature, not dominating it and trying to bend it to their will. Many people around the world are trying to save animal species that are on the brink of extinction, and in many cases have been hugely successful. Our consumer driven economy has been hurtful and destructive to the environment and many are finding innovative ways to counter act it. I don't know what carbon foot print DiCaprio's house leaves or Gore's house does, and it sounds like you are just guessing. You don't know if their power comes from wind towers or solar panels miles away, you just want to criticize them because they care about the environment and are progressive. that type of thinking is just what we don't need if we are to clean up this planet and leave it a better place for the next generation than we found it. There isn't a much nobler goal to strive for.

capedcrusader

[thumbup]

DMoney

The evidence of our existence on this Earth proves you are wrong. Even small tribes, living nomadically within their environment become gluttonous once they embrace industrialization. People want resources to secure prosperity for themselves and their families. Multiply that mindset times about 10 billion. Simply ain't enough earth available. But that won't stop people from trying, regardless of political identity.

oldhomey

Well, if you are a more careful reader of tribal lifestyles through history, D, they were gluttonous well before the advent of the industrial age. They sent nearly ever large mammal species -- mammoths, sloths, sabre toothed tigers -- to extinction on every continent by over-hunting them, except in Africa, where humans first evolved and animals evolved with them, able to alter their behavior to survive gradual increments to human weaponry from clubs to spears to bows and arrows and pikes. African mega fauna didn't get into trouble until Europeans introduced firearms to Africa. But then, tribal societies were small and didn't overwhelm the environment until large scale agriculture became the norm. And no, tribal societies did not get along with each other peacefully. The evidence shows they practiced genocide, too. The social democratic societies in Europe and Japan probably are the best human efforts to date to see to the well-being of all people while working to preserve and restore our natural resources. We have had an amazing period of relative peace in Europe for the last 70 years, but Trump America seems to be leading the effort to destroy all of that, with cheerleading and assistance coming from Putin's Russia.

PhysicsIsFun

yes Leo DiCaprio and Al Gore are perfect examples of ALL liberals. I thought you were the data wonk.

DMoney

Even your most visible, vocal and wealthy advocates are raging hypocrites. Is your average income, working class socialist supposed to be better?

Cassandra2

D-Bag gets to the nub of the wingnuts' psychopathic misanthropy with this latest post. He shows the willingness of the crazy right wing to commit a mass murder/suicide, taking out the human species (and many others) rather than changing behavior for the benefit of all. And THAT, right there, is the core of the republican philosophy.

DMoney

Oh, like your side is so much better. At least we have the dignity to be honest.

capedcrusader

So today your word is hypocrite. I'm proud of you. Yes, your side has Trump, Cheney, Nixon, Bush, Ford, Agnew. Your side apparently has the market cornered on dignity and honesty.

Rick Czeczok

The sky is falling, the sky is falling. Book bought to you by the nutty socialist on this board and sub authored by Henny Penny. The chicken had the brains in the bunch.

Cassandra2

The Comrade once again proves he is completely impermeable to facts. He's only here to spread misinformation, sow dissent, and undermine American institutions.

PhysicsIsFun

Deep Thoughts by Rick Handey. (https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/deep-thoughts-1/2859832)

oldhomey

We won't mobilize until we begin to see massive deaths of humans from the effects of climate change, and by then it will be too late. The world is populated by people who care only for what they have in their own larder and could care less about the rest of us. It is truly depressing, but that is what passes for "the Christian way" these days, as led by that great spiritual leader, Donald Trump.

Climatehoax

So, Great Savior of the Earth and it’s Inhabitants, I demand a detailed list of what you and the other wacko libs on this site are doing to combat this irreversible phenomenon?
Climate change, and, now specie extinction are your Bible, you live and die by it.
Remember, this is your mantra, educate me, PLEASE!
Just hold on, I’ll save you the trouble of responding to my demands. You’re doing exactly the same as I am, a non believer, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
So, don’t be calling people out, don’t tell me my house is dirty UNTIL you’ve cleaned yours, hypocrite.

johnnybragatti

Hey climatesdope . Your house is filthy dirty...at least your sorry geezer-butt admits it.
Now why not do all us Americans, a real superb treat and refrain, from EVER posting on Lacrosse Tribune. I am positive you are killing their subscription sales,for all time.
Get your GD bigboy pants and make your daddy proud.

martian2

your house is dirty hoaxer! Mine is clean. Stick your head in the sand, hear and see no evil. Don't get involved, don't believe, don't clean up your act, and most of all don't do any research on your own, just follow the far right wing sites. And for Pete's sake don't listen to the experts on this subject, how could they know any more than you. Keep you mind closed, and never waiver. The mantra of the ignorant right.

Climatehoax

Your list, please. Put up or shut up, what are you doing that I’m not?

DMoney

I'd like to see this list as well.

martian2

list??? what list? I am suppose to answer to the great hoaxer on what I am doing to help use less carbon fuel? Who the heck are you that I should answer to. I could write out a long long list, but you would just twist around in some sick way and use it against me. You have no authority on these boards, and you have no credibility. No one, and i mean no one cares about what you think hoaxer, maybe D does, but that's his problem.

oldhomey

Well, Climate, you don't know a thing about me and what I might or might do to combat climate change. Suffice it to say, if I listed what I do, you would sneer at how insignificant it is. Perhaps you would even be right. But I know that the key to turning things around is to organize people into the political will to the major, life-changing steps that will be needed to begin to rectify the deficit we have created with Mother Nature and the planet. So I support politicians who campaign for these changes. It is the only way it will be be done. It's rather easy to call you out, amigo. It begins with your screen name, Climatehoax. In a glance, we all know and understand the ignorance within which you operate, and the thick-headed stupidity with which you will resist the truth, because you are so invested in your ignorance. I have no idea if you live in an untidy house, but it is easy to imagine you live in a very unhappy one.

Cassandra2

OK, Hoaxer, I'll bite. Here's a few things I'm doing. I have a solar powered home. I don't have a car. I try to avoid buying overpackaged products or single-use plastics. I get on line regularly to refute your lies and disinformation in an effort to educate people about what trained scientists are telling us we are doing to the planet.
You, on the other hand, revel in and brag about your belligerent ignorance and expect to be congratulated for doing "absolutely nothing." Your children will be happy to pull the plug on you. Hopefully they get the opportunity soon.

Climatehoax

How much of a tax rebate did you get on your solar panels? How much of your electricity do they provide?If they’re like the Chevy volt, tax payers are footing a substantial amount of their cost. You don’t drive, good for you, do you work, how do you get around? Most people need a car to be productive members of our society ,or are you on the dole?
It doesn’t matter what you’re trained scientist says, they have an agenda, remember the past 2 years? The trained media, and all the libs said Trump colluded, well, we know how that ended.
My belligerent ignorance? I agree, there is climate change, you ignore that whenever I say it. My problem, climate change has ALWAYS been going on, how convenient to blame man, it’s just some rabel rousers idea, like Odummy blaming the US for every evil in the world. We can’t stop the almighty, powerful climate from changing, so I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. Compared to the life of the earth, man has been on earth for the time it takes to blink your eye in a human life, and your looneys say that’s enough time to destroy something WAY more powerful than minuscule man.

DMoney

Assuming this is true--great for you! But not enough. When you are voluntarily living the green new deal, which is required by all Americans if we will reverse global warming--let us know. You're about 5% there.

martian2

there you go Cassy, you just can't please these idiots on the far right. Hoaxer is no expert on anything, especially the environment. and D is now his side kick talking about a new green deal that has no bearing on anything. just more jibber jabber from those who want to stick their heads in the sand and stand up for the oil companies.

oldhomey

I take it, D, that you in your inimitable optimistic fashion, the guy who has given up and says its hopeless, let the billionaires walk all over us, is now saying that we are doomed as a species because our destructive behavior is going to cause lethal climate change. And being the cheerful guy that you are, you are advising the rest of us not to try anything to slow down our destructiveness and try to reverse it. What a scenario. At least the billionaires, who won't be satisfied until they're eating everbody's lunch, won't survive, either, huh?

Cassandra2

The Hoaxer is determined to revel in his misanthropy, demanding purity tests for everyone else while he brags about his willingness to destroy his neighbors. Please, Hoaxer, tell us your real name so that your neighbors know what a horrible excuse you are for a human. You are completely devoid of any kind of caring about anything except for yourself, and then you brag about it. You are the very definition of a psychopath.

DMoney

You can only "give up" when there is an alternative outcome available and you've failed. Our fate has been sealed from the moment our species figured out the means to fulfill our insatiable demands. The issue is now compounding as population and industrialization explodes exponentially. There's no turning back. Embrace the fact and adjust accordingly.

DMoney

It's incredibly smug to discuss this topic as an "us vs. them". You are guilty. I'm guilty. 99.8% of humanity is guilty.

Climatehoax

“Radical, corrective behavior by humans” OMG, the sky is falling!! Animal and plant extinction goes hand in hand with climate change, and that has been going on since the earth was created, blah, blah, blah.

PhysicsIsFun

"Blah, blah, blah", describes your comment perfectly.

random annoying bozo

does anyone else think it's odd that people get all bent out of shape about 'climate change' which is a naturally occurring process that has been around since the earth developed an atmosphere....yet these same people don't care when there are proposals to go to Mars and artificially change the climate of that planet?

capedcrusader

You think it's odd that humans want to exercise their naturally occurring thought process of exploration? Humans are curious creatures bozo. Some people want to explore and make things habitable so that the human race can continue on even if there's people like you radical rightwingers that don't care one way or the other. It's looking more and more like it's you rightwing Limbaugh/Jones followers are the ones who are really "out there". Maybe you should move to another planet and do with it what you may. You could actually save mankind a lot of lives as well as money.

Cassandra2

Bozo, enough with your tired old trope about constant climate change. The FACTS show that, due to human activity, the climate is changing at a rate only previously seen during cataclysmic events like a comet colliding with the earth. You're a fool and it shows.

random annoying bozo

there you go using that word 'facts' again, but when pressed on the issue of you providing any scientifically repeatable 'facts', not generated by a computer program, which may or may or may not have faulty data, you always disappear...why is that?

Cassandra2

Bozo, the facts have been presented to you, but you willingly reject them. You truly are a bozo, and you proudly prove that on these forums.

PhysicsIsFun

You see when dealing with serious situations typically we listen to experts who spend their lives studying it. With the climate and our atmosphere and man's effect on it there are numerous scientists much smarter than you and I who do just that. These scientists (The qualified ones) almost unanimously agree we have a serious problem with climate change caused by man. What we need is the political will to try to fix it. This is hard to do when a large group of willful idiots refuse to even listen, but instead throw up the same stupid arguments. You are a bozo and it is too bad that millions of others just as sanctimonious and stupid.

capedcrusader

Buggs Raplin/Climatehoax has all the answers.

PhysicsIsFun

No unfortunately.

johnnybragatti

No

Cassandra2

Those who care to recognize facts are already awake. The fact deniers are a hopeless case. They simply don't care.

Mr Wizard

Instead Cassie, those who put any stock in anything put out by the corrupt United Nations are the hopeless cases.

oldhomey

I wish Don Herbert could return from his grave and sue you for assuming his screen name as your own, Wizard. He represented the best in curiosity and the human impulse for discovery, while you represent a moldering pile of ignorance.

PhysicsIsFun

I thought the same thing. The new "Mr Wizard" is an insult to everything the original stood for. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Herbert)

capedcrusader

Next it will be Mr Rogers that they desecrate. They absolutely don't care if it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood or a beautiful planet in the solar system. Their world as well as their minds are pretty small.

Mr Wizard

You know what you windup with when you s### in one hand and wish in the other don't you, Homely.

oldhomey

Well, gosh, Mr. Wizard, that is another experiment I have never tried. Could you demonstrate it first, so I can see how it is done. You seem to be full of excretion, and since you are the one who brought this up I suspect you have your hands full of it all the time. On the other hand, I don't know how you would literally place a wish in a hand like you do with your excretions. I and many others, I am sure, eagerly await your demonstration of that trick. If we ever actually meet, by the way, you'll have to excuse me if I am reluctant to shake hands with you.

capedcrusader

Your 1:43 post made my day! [beam][thumbup]

Cassandra2

The "wizard" proves my point.

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