I often think that humans are a sort of virus that the earth is dealing with, an STD that has gone fucking wild on Mother Nature. How is the planet reacting? By doing its best to get rid of us or, at least, force us into a more symbiotic relationship.
Let me put this into perspective for you via a CNN story with the (brilliant) headline “In 200 years, humans reversed a climate trend lasting 50 million years, study says.” What does this story (and study) say?
During that ancient time, known as the mid-Pliocene epoch, temperatures were higher by about 2 to 4 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) and sea levels were higher by roughly 20 meters (almost 66 feet) than today, explained Kevin D. Burke, lead author of the study and a researcher and Ph.D. candidate at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Today is “one of the most difficult scenarios we’ve ever found ourselves in,” Burke said. “This is a very rapid period of climatic change. Looking for anything that we can do to curb those emissions is important.”
Climate scientists say that our globe is about 1 degree Celsius hotter today than it was between 1850 and 1900 and that this is due in part to gas emissions from cars, planes and other human activities. Some gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, trap heat in the atmosphere, producing a “greenhouse effect” that makes the planet warmer.
On the bright side, we’ve “been here” before. The not-bright side? Our cars are a big part of why we are having this problem.