The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is finishing a massive report on climate change and its effects, not only on the planet and the animals and plants that live here, but also human civilization.
Of course, when we see polar bears losing their habitat due to sea ice melting earlier and forming later, it may seem like something far off. After all, none of us reading the leaks of the upcoming IPCC report live in the Arctic, where the polar bear is the first species to be listed as endangered because of climate change. On the other hand, seeing polar bears lose their habitat ought to put the hair up on the back of our necks, because they’re just the first, and we are no less animal, nor less dependent on this planet for our own survival.
Climate change’s effects are already upon us. We’re already losing our own coastal habitats, thanks to rising sea levels. Irregular weather patterns are killing off our food supplies, both animal and vegetable. Other fluctuations in weather patterns prove to be disastrous to ill-equipped human beings to manage, such as recent flooding in Mozambique, which displaced the 90,000 people who didn’t die immediately. Those 90,000, however, living in shantytowns, suffer from the effects to this day, as unsanitary conditions lead to outbreaks of disease, and this is just one example.
The IPCC, a panel of more than sixty scientists, are putting the finishing touches on their latest report, and the implications of climate change are a clear and present danger to human civilization. Hunger, disease, drought, flooding, refugees, war, among other very real problems, will only continue to worsen as climate change worsens. The polar bear is just the beginning or, as Patricia Romero Lankao of the federally financed National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado said, “The polar bear is us.”
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