Scientists are now confirming what many people have suspected for several years: that there is a connection between global warming and a rise in seismic activity leading to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
As global warming continues to raise the average temperature of our planet, heat waves have become more frequent and thermometers have hit record highs. These high temperatures and the increasing number of heat-related deaths worldwide over the last few decades have given us an alarming picture of the extreme weather conditions and devastating impacts on human health to come if this warming continues unmitigated.
In a hot environment, the body relies mainly on two mechanisms for cooling off and maintaining a safe temperature: evaporation of sweat from the skin and increased skin blood flow. These processes can place strain on the heart and lungs. Excessive heat can result in a range of adverse health impacts, including heat cramps, heat edema (swelling), heat syncope (fainting), heat exhaustion, and life-threatening heat stroke.
Average temperatures in the Arctic region are rising twice as fast as they are elsewhere in the world. Arctic ice is getting thinner, melting and rupturing. The polar ice cap as a whole is shrinking at a rate of 9 percent each decade. If this trend continues, summers in the Arctic could become ice-free by the end of the century. The melting of once-permanent ice is already affecting native people, wildlife and plants.
When the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf splintered, the rare freshwater lake it enclosed, along with its unique ecosystem, drained into the ocean. Polar bears, whales, walrus and seals are changing their feeding and migration patterns, making it harder for native people to hunt them. And along Arctic coastlines, entire villages will be uprooted because they're in danger of being swamped. The native people of the Arctic view global warming as a threat to their cultural identity and their very survival.
The contraction of the Arctic ice cap is accelerating global warming. Snow and ice usually form a protective, cooling layer over the Arctic. When that covering melts, the earth absorbs more sunlight and gets hotter. Melting glaciers and land-based ice sheets also contribute to rising sea levels, threatening low-lying areas around the globe with beach erosion, coastal flooding, and contamination of freshwater supplies.
If world leaders do not immediately engage in a race against time to save the Earth's coral reefs, these vital ecosystems will not survive the global warming and acidification predicted for later this century. The rise of carbon dioxide emissions and the resultant climate warming from the burning of fossil fuels are making oceans warmer and more acidic. This crisis is on our doorstep, not decades away.
Warmer temperatures could increase the probability of drought. Greater evaporation, particularly during summer and fall, could exacerbate drought conditions and increase the risk of wildfires. The 2006 wild land fire season set new records in both the number of reported fires as well as acres burned. Close to 100,000 fires were reported and nearly 10 million acres burned, 125 percent above the 10-year average.
All over the world evidence is stacking up that changes in global climate can and do affect the frequencies of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and catastrophic sea-floor landslides. Not only has this happened several times throughout Earth’s history, the evidence suggests that it is starting to happen again.
Modern humans have been around for at least 200,000 years and during most of that time lived in communities where wealth was shared. Global warming caused by the combustion of fossil fuels began only decades ago. It is not the product of humanity per se, but of a particular socio-economic system, capitalism , that has vastly expanded the scientific-technological and productive apparatus. The human race will survive. It has been through many other catastrophes—both social and natural—and is a supremely adaptable species. But capitalism? It will have to go. Its gravediggers will be those who have the least to lose and the most to gain by breaking the political grip of the privileged few and reorganizing production on a rational, socialized basis to meet the long-term needs of all the peoples sharing this planet.
There are people who run this capitalist society—the moneyed class. Why do they seem paralyzed when it comes to doing anything about the looming disasters of global warming? Do they really think that their money will protect them and their families? That they can buy their way out and the hell with the rest of us