A sign of things to come?
noun [ S or U ]UK /ˈtɪp.ɪŋ ˌpɔɪnt/ US /ˈtɪp.ɪŋ ˌpɔɪnt/
Amsterdam, Sept 2019.
It might come as a surprise to many people but if we could hold their concentration span long enough we may shock them into learning our planet is on the brink of collapse and there is no planet b. Many scientists and a growing number of environmental activists are claiming our planet has crossed the “tipping point.” Our climate has changed, which means, our world has changed and the change has happened much faster than previously thought. As we enter 2020, the years 2015 to 2019 have been the warmest five-year period on record, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have also increased to record levels, locking in the warming trend for generations to come. Extreme weather, heatwaves, country-size wildfires, droughts, flooding and water-stress are commonplace across the globe and are increasing yearly. This summer Europe smashed heat records in many countries, here in my back garden in North Holland I was astonished to record a temperature of 41 deg C (106 deg F) in the shade during July, just down the road from me, Paris, France hit temperatures in the high 40’s C (around 115 deg F), unheard of in this part of the world.
Summer 2019 was hottest on record for the Northern Hemisphere according to a report by NOAA. According to a new report by Berkeley Earth, hundreds of heat records were broken over the summer of 2019. Almost 400 all-time high temperatures were set in the northern hemisphere according to an analysis of temperature records by Berkeley. The records were broken in 29 countries for the period from 1 May to 30 August this year. A third of the all-time high temperatures were in Germany, followed by France and the Netherlands. Many countries in Europe have weather records going back almost 200 years but yet recorded new record highs this summer. It wasn't just Europe of course, the U.S., Canada, Japan, Pakistan and India all saw all-time records smashed in 2019.
The hot and dry conditions brought a new menace to the planet in 2019 in the way of, out-of-control country size wildfires. The 4.3 million hectare fire in Siberia this summer, an area larger than Denmark contributed significantly to climate change. Wildfires in the Amazon rainforest hit a record number this year, according to research carried out by Brazil's space research centre (INPE). It cited an incredible 72,843 fires, marking an increase of 83% compared to 2018 - the highest since records began in 2013. Meanwhile, millions of wild animals, including jaguars, pumas and llamas, perished in the weeks of wildfires that devastated huge swaths of the Bolivian and Brazilian forest and grassland this summer. The number of Indonesian people suffering respiratory problems caused by smoke from forest and peatland fires blanketing parts of Borneo and Sumatra this year was in the millions, according to the authorities.
Our oceans are in a worse state, warmer than normal waters are destroying fragile eco-systems, overfishing, dead zones from algae and bacteria are killing marine life at an unprecedented and unsustainable rate. Reuters claimed 2019 will go down as Alaska’s hottest summer on record, the latest benchmark in a long-term warming trend with ominous repercussions ranging from rapidly vanishing summer sea ice and melting glaciers to raging wildfires and deadly death and chaos for marine life. Millions of small dead sea birds have died since 2015, this year, Short-tailed Shearwaters are dying but recent years have seen puffins, murres, and auklets dying in unprecedented numbers thought to be due to starvation. From the Koyukuk River to the Kuskokwim, to Norton Sound, to Bristol Bay's Igushik River, unusually warm temperatures across Alaska this summer led to die-offs of unspawned chum, sockeye, and pink salmon. In 2018, the Scotsman reported, Global warming was being blamed for Scotland’s worst salmon season in living memory. Incredibly, some beats on famous rivers like the Spey and the Nith recorded not a single salmon caught during the entire season. Just two salmon were caught on the river Fine in Argyll, where once almost a thousand caught each season.
Sylvia Earle, author of the World Is Blue has spent 70,000 hours underwater researching our oceans and is considered one of the most important Oceanographers in the world. She claims, 90% of large fish have disappeared. Almost 40% of phytoplankton which generates oxygen and carbon capture is gone, disrupting the basic system of life on earth, leaving our oceans on the brink of collapse. As long ago as 2006, CBS News claimed our oceans would be empty of fish by 2048.
Jellyfish are taking over, fast becoming the “NEW KINGS OF THE OCEAN,” The rapid growth over the last few decades of these creatures is a sign of the planet's deteriorating marine health, according to expert Lisa-ann Gershwin. Seabirds populations have plummeted to record lows thought to be due to lack of food. According to a report from the University of Aberdeen, there has been a 70% decline in the world seabird population since 1970. Another disturbing report by Kenneth Rosenberg, Ph.D., of the Cornell Lab and American Bird Conservancy, claimed “billions” of North American Birds Have Vanished in the US and Canada, in the last fifty years.
It is not really known or understand just how much plastic is in our oceans but it is estimated at tens of trillions of particles weighing anything between 100 and 250 thousand metric tons, if we could clean up the plastic well, the nuclear pollution in our oceans will take longer to clean, between 50,000 to 250,000 years.
Would they lie to us? Of course, they would!
In 2018, the Bellona website revealed that in 1955 and continuing until the early 1990s, the Russian Navy dumped enormous amounts of irradiated debris and in one case an entire nuclear submarine into the waters of the Arctic. It was not, however, until 2011 that the Russian government admitted this on an international level. That year, Moscow shared with Norwegian nuclear officials the full scope of the problem. The list of sunken objects was far more than had initially been thought, and included 17,000 containers of radioactive waste; 19 ships containing radioactive waste; 14 nuclear reactors, including five that still contain spent nuclear fuel; the K-27 nuclear submarine with its two reactors loaded with nuclear fuel, and 735 other pieces of radioactively contaminated heavy machinery.
It’s not just the Russian’s of course, the U.S. and Japan have also lied to the world and their own people about just how much radioactivity has been released into the environment exposing and compromising the health of their own people. High levels of radiation have been monitored in giant clams close to the Central Pacific site where the United States entombed waste from nuclear testing almost four decades ago, raising concerns the contamination is spreading from the dump site’s tainted groundwater into the ocean and the food chain.
In 2018, the LA Times issued a report which claimed radiation was found to be leaking from the Runit Dome,111,000 cubic yards of radioactive debris left behind after 12 years of nuclear tests, covered by a fragile concrete dome on the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. According to the report, radioactive shellfish were found in the ocean close to the dome.
In 2020 the Olympic Games come to Tokyo, the Japanese government will focus on the games to show the world that the stricken site of Fukushima is safe and is on course to be totally clean in forty years. However, Ernie Gunderson of the Fairwinds website claimed in 2019, the site will never be safe due to radioactive isotopes spreading across the site and surrounding landscape for the coming 300 to 250,000. Fukushima’s reactor cores have been in direct contact with groundwater since 2011 when the accident occurred leaving toxic radioactive waters leaking at an alarming rate into the Pacific.
Meanwhile, a report by Karyn Nishimura for AFP News in October 2019 claimed, in the grounds of the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant sits a million-tonne headache for the plant's operators and Japan's government: tank after tank of water contaminated with radioactive elements. What to do with the enormous amount of water, which grows by around 150 tonnes a day. The water comes from several different sources: some is used for cooling at the plant, groundwater that seeps into the plant daily, along with rainwater, add to the problem. Each can hold 1,200 tonnes but most of them are already full. At the end of 2020, all the tanks will be full and the toxic water will have to be dumped into the Pacific Ocean.
TEPCO has been filtering newly contaminated water for years, but much of it needs to go through the process again because early versions of the filtration process did not fully remove some dangerous radioactive elements, including strontium 90, however, there is one element that remains, which cannot be removed with the current technology: tritium which is harmful to humans in high-doses. In 2011, TEPCO claimed it would take around forty years to clean up the stricken Fukushima site, however, as we approach 2020, there is still no known technology to complete the task.
In 2017, a study by the University of Hawaii at Monoa revealed almost 50% of fish consumed on the islands of Hawaii were contaminated with caesium 134, the radio finger-print of Fukushima. The report also showed migrating organisms were transporting caesium 134 over significant distances showing Pacific bluefin and long tuna infected with caesium 134 just one year after the accident, however, the powers that be are telling us not to worry.
The number of wild animals living on Earth will have fallen by two-thirds next year, 2020
Can you imagine if the human population fell by 67%? (that’s like emptying the Americas, Europe, Africa, Oceania and China of people) Would we be worried? Hell yes, well, according to the Living Planet and WWF, this is exactly what’s happened to the wild animal population since 1970. The number of wild animals living on Earth will have fallen by two-thirds by the time you read this book. Mass extinction is destroying the natural world upon which humanity depends and most people don’t even know, it’s happening under their noses, by stealth, why do I say by stealth? Because the collapse of our planet is not on the media’s narrative, it’s not sexy enough.
Albert Einstein once said. “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” According to a report by Greenpeace since the late 1990s, beekeepers around the world have observed the mysterious and sudden disappearance of bees at a disturbing rate and report unusually high rates of decline in honeybee colonies around the world. Beekeepers have lost a third of their colonies every year since 2006.
The RSPB’s State of Nature study suggests there has been a 59% per cent decline in insects in the UK since 1970.
In 2015, a shocking statistic released by the US Fish and Wildlife Service summed up the plight of the monarch butterfly: Since 1990, about one billion of the butterflies – 90 per cent of the total population – have vanished across the United States and Mexico.
Crops around the world are also suffering from the harsh spike in climate change, soil depletion caused by over and aggressive growing, deforestation and wildfires are all killing our crops and forests. To make matters worse tree disease is responsible for the deaths of billions of trees around the world, for instance, in Colorado and California alone, more than a billion trees are dead due to beetle infestation, Alaska is in the grip of a spruce tree die-off which is gone into hyper-drive, caused by Japanese Bark Beetle. Trees are not just dying in the U.S., they are dying in record numbers in Europe too and deforestation in Indonesia and South America is unsustainable.
What are world leaders doing to halt the destruction of our only home? Bill Gates with the help of Harvard University believe they have the answer, they want to spray millions of tonnes of dust into the stratosphere to stop global warming, they want to filter out Sunlight and bounce it back into space to cool the planet! What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot actually, the procedure could trigger a disastrous series of chain reactions, creating climate havoc in the form of serious droughts and hurricanes, and bring death to millions of people around the world. Not to mention that spreading dust into the stratosphere may damage the ozone layer that protects us from hazardous ultraviolet radiation which can damage human DNA and cause cancers.
Another frightening idea is to reduce global temperatures by exploding a large volcano, causing a volcanic winter, a reduction in global temperatures caused by volcanic ash along with sulphuric acid and water being released into the stratosphere which in turn would reflect the sun’s heat back into space, cooling down our planet. The only problem the cold would cause crops to fail, resulting in global famine.
Some leaders don’t see a problem with the state of the planet, in 2016, the New York Times claimed, President Trump called global warming a “hoax,” and claimed that the Chinese fabricated climate change. He famously Tweeted, “The concept of global warming, was created by and for the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
In 2019 a new unlikely heroine arrived to save our planet, Greta Thunberg, a sixteen-year-old activist from Sweden who managed to mobilise millions of school kids (a new suffragettes movement? “Suffrage-kids”) to bunk off school around the globe in protests against greedy and corrupt leaders who are doing nothing to fix the planet and our children’s future. She even condemned world leaders during an emotional speech to the United Nations in September 2019, as well as staring down President Trump at the same event but with all respect to Greta Thunberg, all she managed to do was turn the plight of our planet into a media circus.
Enter the Extinction Rebellion!
Extinction Rebellion (XR for short) was formed in the UK in 2018, it is a civil disobedience activist movement. Members of XR began protesting and causing civil unrest around the world in 2018 with the aim of convincing governments and world leaders to recognise and act immediately to combat climate change. Their tactic is to block main intersections and roads in cities disrupting traffic and causing chaos.
Can our politicians and world leaders fix the planet? No of course not, it is far too late, we can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube and as I write this, world politics is embroiled in more, “immediate problems,” President Trump is facing impeachment, The British Parliament has collapsed into a free fall over Brexit, European leaders are worried of a Right-Wing surge in many of their home countries. Elsewhere on the world stage China and Russia and North Korea are taunting the U.S. with Iran itching for a fight with Israel and the Americans, one small misunderstanding, one tiny mistake could push the Atomic Clock all the way to midnight.
So the world’s food supply is crashing and will probably reach “the critical point” around 2050, maybe earlier, the world population at the moment is about 7.7 billion, by 2050 the world’s population will be approaching 10 billion, can you imagine the chaos?
Man’s technology explosion began just over a hundred years ago, from travelling around by horse carriage to automobiles and flight and space travel, in the blink of an eye, great science and medical advances have been made. However, the great paradox of the 21st century is, whatever we achieve as a species going forward, our people, our world, our only home is slipping toward ultimate destruction and despite man's incredible advances we cannot stop the implosion. We can’t stop the wars, the killing, the hating the corruption. Most reasonable people remain hopeful and optimistic that our governments will do the right thing, however, if we look at what is happening in the U.S., the UK and Europe at the moment it is clear to see our leaders are only interested in themselves and the planet can go and f#$ck its self. I, therefore, am convinced, we as people are entering our last 30 years as a civilised species on this planet.
Written and researched by Gary Walton
Written and researched by Gary Walton