How Many Warnings Do We Need?

Ominous shadow.You know those horror movies where one of the characters just doesn’t get it? All the bizarre little “accidents,” strange noises, bad dreams and other signs of foreboding that the character is oblivious to while en route to meet his doom. It seems cruel to say, “I told you so,” but come on … how many warnings does a person need? Well, I’m feeling a lot lately like we’re all living in one of those films.

Why? Consider these recent tidbits of foreshadowing:

Nov. 8: Greenpeace issues a report on the palm oil trade blaming the destruction of peatlands in Indonesia for annual greenhouse gas emissions of 1.3 billion tons, about 4 percent of total global emissions. If destroyed, the report says, all the peatlands in the tiny province of Riau alone could release 14.6 billion tons of carbon.

Nov. 7: The International Energy Agency releases its “World Energy Outlook 2007” report that says we’ve got a critical 10-year window in which to act fast to make sure our future energy demands don’t outweigh supplies, and that we don’t increase our greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 60 percent.

Nov. 6: The American Public Health Association announces a major new initiative on climate change, which it calls “one of the most serious public health threats facing our nation.”

Nov. 5: An international team of researchers publishes a study finding that individual plant extinctions can cause whole ecosystems to become half as productive in terms of biomass. The long-term effects could be even greater, they said, futher noting that “species extinction is one of the most pronounced environmental changes of our time.”

Mind you, these are reports from only four days. I’d say we’re not only hearing some pretty spooky bumps in the night, but that they’re getting louder … and closer.

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