The Climate Elephant


Today’s post is from my friend and guest blogger David Faltenhine. What is the connection between “mastering the skill of consciousness” and the environment? Simple: without humans, there’s no consciousness, and without climate-change mitigation, there won’t be humans. It’s an easy syllogism to point out that doing something about the climate is vital for the very future of consciousness.

David writes:

There is an elephant in the room, and we’ve all been taught that we shouldn’t directly acknowledge it.

The elephant poo gets deeper each day – it’s becoming harder and harder not to step in it!

I admit that I when I first heard about Global Warming & Climate Change, I scoffed – it just seemed ludicrous! So did Y2K, for that matter, even though I had written computer programs that I knew would stop working properly on Jan. 1, 2000…

We openly discuss the strange weather that is happening nearly everywhere lately and becoming stronger and more extreme every year. Weather forecasters on TV and radio, and the media in general, rave about how wonderful it is to have record high temperatures during the winter. They speak gravely of heat waves and record high temperatures during summer. Almost daily, live eye reporting brings us to the doorstep of extreme weather events, then shows the aftermath and suffering. All around the world, extreme weather events are happening, in places like Britain, Australia, Africa, USA, Germany, Canada, Russia, China, The Philippines and on and on… However, the news media rarely ever connect the dots between the extreme weather events that they cover and what is causing and/or making many of them worse – the elephant – Climate Change.

Scientists are now 95%-100% certain that human influence has been the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century. The primary cause of Global Warming and Climate Change is a buildup of greenhouse gases, mostly from the burning of fossil fuels as we add carbon to the atmosphere far more quickly than it can be absorbed by natural processes. Greenhouse gases act like an electric blanket – trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere. Every year smokestacks, exhaust pipes, farming & other human activities pump billions of tonnes of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere – the effect is similar to turning up the thermostat on the electric blanket. You can clearly see historical levels of CO2 for yourself, here. (hover your cursor over the various time periods).

The United Nations and over 200 governments have agreed that we must limit Global Warming to 2°C to avoid disastrous consequences, however, current initiatives are not sufficient to meet this target.

Greenhouse gases can stay in the earth’s atmosphere for a very long time – over 200 years, so we must work quickly to avoid catastrophic effects such as tipping points – irreversible changes in major ecosystems.

Some facts:

  • Sea levels are rising – this threatens millions of people who may have to flee their homes
  • drought and high temperatures decrease our ability to grow crops and feed ourselves
  • Severe flooding from more intense storms overwhelms infrastructure that was not designed for current conditions – the cost of repairs uses up funding slated for upgrades
  • The world’s ocean’s are absorbing about 93% of the excess heat from Global Warming
  • Higher levels of CO2 are contributing to ocean acidification – causing serious harm to coral reefs and other marine ecosystems

It is abundantly clear that if we are to avoid the worst impacts of Climate Change – aggressive, immediate action is called for and that a coordinated approach is required. We must protect and manage our forests better and reduce air pollution. We must demand that our governments completely eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies and implement effective legislation such as taxing carbon emissions thus reducing fossil fuel usage and spurring deployment of renewable energy systems and other technology.

We’re often told (falsely) that the cost to take effective action against climate change would cripple our economies.

More truthful statements are that effective action against climate change would negatively-impact wealthy companies who are large polluters. Effective action against climate change would drive innovation & new technologies that would benefit the environment and the economy.

Two, of many, groups with simple yet powerful ideas to get us moving in the right direction are Our Horizon (great intro video) and Citizens Climate Lobby.

It’s time that we wake-up and become aware that the cost of not acting will be infinitely greater.

David can be reached at