Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore may not yet be running again for the Presidency, but his message is definitely clear, unless immediate steps are made to protect the environment and reverse global warming, our continued life on Earth is definitely at risk. Speaking during a recent hour long interview on CNN’s Larry King Live program, Mr. Gore related in depth his opinions on how lack of intense effort on the part of the present U.S. Administration is spelling disaster to our quality of life, if not life itself.
Mr. Gore’s Academy Award winning documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, gave a not very optimistic account on how the worlds’ eco-system has been severely damaged by Man’s obsession with the use of fossil fuels and other dangerous pollutants, which, in Gore’s opinion, is largely responsible for the state of our environment, including melting Arctic and Antarctic ice shelves at an alarming pace. Gore’s concern for world environment problems goes back many years when he became concerned with many species of animals becoming extinct including a small species of owl that used to inhabit the redwood forest regions of Oregon and Washington State. That concern as well as for the decrease in the atmosphere’s ozone layer (that protective layer against the sun’s damaging radiation) gave him the title of “Mr. Ozone” and made him the brunt of jokes by entertainment comedians including NBC’s Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien.
Judging from current realities regarding severe changes in our environment, particularly weather patterns, people are laughing less at “Mr. Ozone” and are now beginning to listen to his warning. Gore’s severe criticism of the Bush Administration’s lack of attention to this increasing problem is one the former VP’s main topics these days. That President George Bush has refused to have his country join the global effort to curtail use of fossil fuels “because it would be damaging to the U.S. economy” is most likely due the President’s own family interest in the oil business, as well as that of his Vice President, Dick Chaney, whose long career with the international oil well servicing company Halliburton has been in the news several times. The Bush family also appears to have close relations with the Saudi Royal Family, from whose country the U.S. still receives nearly 20% of its total petroleum supplies. Although some current attention is beginning to filter out of the Oval Office of the White House, especially in the aftermath of American eco-disasters like Hurricane Katrina, this attention is far less than it should be to help reverse what may become an irreversible ecological trend.
America isn’t the only ecological culprit though, as fast developing nations such as China are consuming fossil fuels in alarming amounts with little or no ecological controls. China’s number of private automobiles alone has more than quadrupled in past five years alone; and its heavy industries have become one of the world’s prime consumers of fuels such as coal and fuel oil, and has turned this country housing more than a fifth of the world’s population into one of the worst polluted.
The melting of Arctic and Antarctic ice is expected cause the worlds oceans to rise at least 7 to 10 meters in the next 10 to 20 years. That’s enough to inundate most world coastal towns and cities, in which at least a billion of the world’s population live. Outside of the possible extinction of many varieties of animal species, including polar bears, seals and walruses, and many species of birds, The oceans themselves will be less able to support marine animals and vegetation as they will become too acid in their content, thus killing the marine vegetation on which many marine animals thrive, and reducing the water’s oxygen content by as much as 25%.
Whether of not Gore does decide to throw his hat into the Democratic Party Presidential race, his message is certainly worth listening to and acting upon. Despite the current Administration’s apprehensions, a few years of ecological ‘adjustment’ is paramount, including drastic curtailment of the use of fossil fuels and switching over to more environmentally friendly energy sources, such as solar energy and hydrogen based fuels. If this doesn’t occur, our future on this planet, an “island we cannot leave”, may be very unpleasant indeed.
We simply have to listen before it will be too late.