A little more than thirteen years back, A T.V. movie entitled: The Fire Next Time gave a chilling preview of what the world might be like in the year 2017, as a result of the consequences of global warming and severe depletion of the earth’s ozone layer. The movie, directed by Tom McLoughlin, depicted an environmental disaster in the United States, with much of the Continental 48 states in a disastrous situation due to severe drought, literally burning by raging forest fires, or plummeted constantly by hurricanes and similar severe storms. The film’s main characters, a Louisiana family engaged in a dwindling shrimp fishing business, have both their livelihood and their home literally destroyed by a monster hurricane similar to Hurricane Katrina which hit the city of New Orleans and much of the U.S. Gulf Coast in August, 2005.
Global warming and the so-called “greenhouse effect” are definitely issues being dealt with in our present time, 13 years after the above movie was first shown. Events happening in countries all over the world, give testimony to the present state of the earth’s environmental problems that appear to be getting worse as time goes on.
Numerous hurricanes have already created mayhem in the Caribbean. These events, combined with several typhoons and similar severe storms in Asia, have resulted in billions of dollars in property damages, economic loses, and hundreds of human lives. Huge forest and brush fires in California, Colorado, Arizona, and other western states, as well as in Australia and Southern Europe, have wrecked their havoc as well during the past few years.
Where is this all heading? Scientists and environmentalists have been warning us for some time that the continuous abuse of our environment by over use of petroleum based ‘fossil fuels’, including coal, fluorocarbons from aerosol cans, air conditioning systems and the like; would someday result in global warming, melting of glaciers and Artic/Antarctic ice caps, resulting in serious consequences to the inhabitants of this planet. Only recently, it was discovered that a huge Arctic ice shelf had broken loose off Alaska’s Northwestern coast after having been in place for more than 5,000 years. Polar animals, including whales, walruses, polar bears, and other artic creatures are now on the endangered list due to changes in their habit as a result of global warming.
This reality coincides with the recent documentary movie An Inconvenient Truth written and produced by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, in which the effects of global warming were graphically noted, and the dire warnings Mr. Gore is presenting are still being unheeded by many world governments, including his own. The movie must have effected many, however, as it received an Oscar at the 2007 Academy Award ceremonies in Hollywood California.
Alternative energy sources, such as hydrogen fuels, fuel cells, electricity produced by natural gas and hydro-electric generators, wind and solar power, just to name a few, will result in a much better environment and eventually reduce the damage created by over-use of fossil fuels. The technology exists, and at whatever the costs, it must be implemented before it is too late to reverse the present effects of global warming.
And if not, the consequences, as noted in The Fire Next Time, and An Inconvenient Truth will result in science fiction becoming a tragic reality, for you see, we are only looking at the world in ten years time. And you don’t believe this keep watching your TV’s to see what result might be in this year’s hurricane season. Many living in Florida and New Orleans, for example, are still picking up the pieces after previous bad storms, now attributed to the effects of global warming.