An Inconvenient Truth

Global warming has become an inconvenient truth for the world's governments and some of its businesses. We the people must rise up and solve the crisis.

| October/November 2006

  • an inconvenient truth - earth as seen from the moon
    The Earth as seen from the moon. Photos taken during the Apollo 8 mission in December 1968 were the first to give humankind this perspective on its home planet. It's now an inconvenient truth that humanity's collective impact is threatening the other life forms that depend on the planet.
    Photo by Fotolia/Mopic
  • an inconvenient truth - illustration of greenhouse gas effect
    The Basics of Global Warming: Normally (the left image), some of the sun's energy re-radiates back into space and some is trapped by the Earth's atmosphere, which keeps our temperatures within stable bounds. As human-generated greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere (the right image), it traps more infrared radiation. As a result, the temperature of the Earth rises. And is doing so to dangerous levels.
  • an inconvenient truth - graph of atmospheric CO2 levels
    The relationship between CO2 and temperature is complicated, but the most important point is this: When there’s more CO2 in the atmosphere, the temperature increases.
  • an inconvenient truth - map of warm and cold ocean currents
    About 10,000 years ago, when the North American glaciers melted and rushed into the North Atlantic, the Gulf Stream shut down and Europe quickly went back into an ice age. Scientists worry the same result may reoccur in the near future because of accelerating melting in Greenland.
  • an inconvenient truth - graph of world population growth
    It took more than 10,000 generations for the human population to reach 2 billion. Then it began to rocket upward to 9 billion in the course of a single lifetime: ours. We have a moral obligation to take this dramatic change into account in terms of the relationship between our species and the planet.
    United Nations
  • an inconvenient truth - world map of precipitation changes
    Over the last century, the effects of climate change on precipitation have not been uniform. The blue dots mark the areas with increases, the orange areas with decreases. Sometimes the effects of such a large shift can be devastating.

  • an inconvenient truth - earth as seen from the moon
  • an inconvenient truth - illustration of greenhouse gas effect
  • an inconvenient truth - graph of atmospheric CO2 levels
  • an inconvenient truth - map of warm and cold ocean currents
  • an inconvenient truth - graph of world population growth
  • an inconvenient truth - world map of precipitation changes

Some experiences are so intense while they are happening that time seems to stop altogether. When it begins again and our lives resume their normal course, those intense experiences remain vivid, refusing to stay in the past, remaining always and forever with us.

Seventeen years ago my youngest child was badly — almost fatally — injured. This is a story I have told before, but its meaning for me continues to change and to deepen.

That is also true of the story I have tried to tell for many years about the global environment. It was during that interlude 17 years ago when I started writing my first book, Earth in the Balance. It was because of my son’s accident and the way it abruptly interrupted the flow of my days and hours that I began to rethink everything, especially what my priorities had been. Thankfully, my son has long since recovered completely. But it was during that traumatic period that I made at least two enduring changes: I vowed always to put my family first, and I also vowed to make the climate crisis the top priority of my professional life.

Unfortunately, in the intervening years, time has not stood still for the global environment. The pace of destruction has worsened and the urgent need for a response has grown more acute.

The fundamental outline of the climate crisis story is much the same now as it was then. The relationship between human civilization and the Earth has been utterly transformed by a combination of factors, including the population explosion, the technological revolution, and a willingness to ignore the future consequences of our present actions. The underlying reality is that we are colliding with the planet’s ecological system, and its most vulnerable components are crumbling as a result.

I have learned much more about this issue over the years. I have read and listened to the world’s leading scientists, who have offered increasingly dire warnings. I have watched with growing concern as the crisis gathers strength even more rapidly than anyone expected.

10/16/2007 3:23:18 PM

Al Gore didn't invent the internet but he "did" invent Global Warming...or so goes the bumper sticker crowd. Climate change is a fact. Just as is rain, snow, and sunshine. How long have weather patterns been recorded? What's that? Maybe a generation, or so? I believe my Viking and First Nation (& Inuit) ancestors encountered balmy conditions many years ago... The "true" inconvenience is: Mr. Gore isn't presenting "all" the facts, i.e. he's neglecting a sorely needed balanced perspective of educated opinions. As a former student of environmental economics, I recognize it is prudent to make thoughtful and logical choices with respect to wasteful behaviour. However it is utter nonsense to scaremonger without evaluating all the facts. True it's a cheap shot, but perhaps Mr. Gore should tend his own backyard for "living excess" before he starts rallying the parade of chicken littles. Ah, but where would the world be without another religion and a throaty evangelist to lead the masses... Sign me, Pleasantly cynical with humour intact.

Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: February, 16-17 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters