By Roberta Russell
There is a 1.1-degree Celsius rise in the global temperature. This is not a barely noticeable difference, requiring just the removal of your sweater. What does this much-examined thermometer rise mean?
To answer, Dr. Noam Chomsky, the founder of modern linguistics, author of over 100 books, and one of the most influential public intellectuals in the world, appeared online on March 16th, 2023 at the age of 94, clear as a bell pealing for our salvation. Under the aegis of the University of Arizona where he teaches, he presented a profound, dire, and publicly accessible message on the causes and consequences of climate change. Directly following Biden’s approval of drilling for oil in the Alaskan wilderness, Chomsky’s video, The Future of Our World, was posted at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUOvpIOAmYk-, where you can hear his sage presentation. Please share it with your friends.
“The climate crisis, the environmental crisis…has to be dealt with in the next few years or else human society is essentially finished,” Chomsky said. Asked if we will muster the will for change, equity, prosperity, and sustainability, he said: “There is no answer. We have maybe a couple of decades in which we can control the heating of the environment, the destruction of habitat, which is the destruction of the oceans, which is just going to lead to total catastrophe. It’s not that everybody is going to die at once. We are going to reach irreversible tipping points. After that it is just steady decline. Look at the Middle East region, one of the most rapidly heating areas of the world. Projections by the end of the century…are that the sea level in the Mediterranean will rise about 10 feet. South Asians are now trying to survive temperatures in the 120s F. Less than 10 percent of the population even has air conditioning. It’s unlivable. There is going to be enormous migration with people fleeing from areas of the world which are now uninhabitable. What’s coming is completely unspeakable.”
According to climate.nasa.gov, while earth’s climate has changed throughout its history, the current warming is happening at a rate not seen in the past 10,000 years. Climate change alters the water cycles of the earth. For every one-degree centigrade rise in temperature, the atmosphere absorbs seven percent more precipitation.
Chomsky implores, “Destroying the world is much more profitable to fossil fuel companies than sustainable energy. Do we have the will to change that?” he asks rhetorically. “The answer had better be yes, or else the human experiment is finished, not in the distant future, but in the lifetimes of our grandchildren,” he answers. He is not talking about eons from now. It’s up to us to decide.
You may be surprised to learn that the cattle and livestock industry plays a more important role in global warning than transportation and buildings do. Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Age of Resilience, Reimagining Existence on a Rewilding Earth (2022, St. Martin’s Press) and 21 other books, passionately tells us that there are 1.5 billion cows on this planet. More than emissions from transportation, the methane (25 times more potent per molecule than CO2) and nitrous oxide (298 times more potent per molecule than CO2) given off by farm animals have an even greater effect on climate change. These animals inhabit 26 percent of all the available landmass on the earth.
There is a mysterious silence about this major cause of global warming. The focus has been on fossil fuels, even though according to the legendary T. Colin Campbell, PhD, author of The China Study, with Thomas Campbell, MD, at least 70 percent of climate change is caused by animal farming. The most dedicated, high-minded, and accomplished climate scientist whose findings I have read, Sailesh Rao, PhD, has since published that this estimate is closer to 80-90 percent. His video, The Surprising Truth About the Leading Cause of Climate Change, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2hjjHXKUQA&t=2899s, reveals the evidence.
In a world in which double the meat production is expected by 2050, Dr. Rao, founder and executive director of Climate Healers, warns that this is not sustainable. He offers some achievable solutions at www.climatehealers.org, complete with a phone app that will plug you in.
Because we are attached to a beef culture, discussion of substituting more foods that are “lower” on the food chain has not been considered as seriously as it should be. This is leading to catastrophe. Let’s raise our consciousness and get connected. Learn what is true and what is right.
Eat more whole plant-based food, and less or even no meat. Call your neighbors, join activist groups, pressure Congress. There are endless opportunities to combat climate change.
© Roberta Russell, March 22, 2023, New York City
Roberta Russell is the founder of the New York Calorie and Exercise Logging Group and author of R.D. Laing & Me: Lessons in Love with R.D. Laing (Hillgarth Press, 1992), Report on Effective Psychotherapy: Legislative Testimony (Hillgarth Press, 1981, 1984, 1994), and Report on Permanent Weight Loss (Columbia Academic Commons, 2017).
©Roberta Russell, March 22, 2023