telling the truth to a dying planet

August 2020

It is very hard to write this article. The only thing that would be worse, is not writing it at all.


Covid-19 has dominated our lives in a way nothing ever has – and with obvious good reason. People are suffering, People are dying, People are losing their homes and businesses. It is of such an enormity that it seems to be all encompassing. As devastating as Covid-19 is, it would appear that it is only the preview to something even more catastrophic. Something that will likely cause death and destruction on a scale never seen since humans have occupied the earth.

In the last several months, numerous reports, from varying viewpoints and organizations have come out – all with the same conclusion – we are killing the very systems that make life on Planet Earth possible – and we are killing these systems at such an alarming speed, that the likelihood of our planet being able to regenerate is slim to none. In this paper, I would like to share with you what I have learned, and what I am learning. Make no mistake – the point of this writing is not to bum you out, but rather to empower you so that you can make more informed decisions. I often use this analogy with my interns, “if you were paddling down a river and there was a 50’ waterfall a mile down, would you rather know about it or just keep paddling into danger?”. IF you are the type of person that wants to know what you are paddling into, please read on.

12 Years left – or it is 5?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the organization that forged the Multi-Country Climate Agreement known as the Paris Accords (which Mr. Trump summarily removed the United States from). It is interesting to note that 174 countries plus the European Union signed this agreement whose aims were to limit Global Warming to no more than 1.5 degrees C. This is good right? Well in theory, yes. The problem? The science wasn’t there. In an attempt to get the world to agree, the IPCC soft sold the situation. In other words, they omitted certain information, for instance “feed-back loops”. A “Feedback Loop” is when one situation causes another situation to occur. This is easily understood with Sea Ice, which being white, reflects the sun’s energy back out into the atmosphere. When it melts, it is replaced by either water, (which is dark), or tundra (also dark) which holds in much more of the sun’s heat. In addition to this, tundra also contains frozen methane, which as it melts, is released into the atmosphere (Methane is 22 times more powerful than C02). These “Feedback Loops” are hastening the effects of the Climate Crisis beyond the original calculations used by the IPCC.

In October of 2018 the IPCC came out with a new paper – a very stark and terrifying report, that claimed that we, human inhabitants on this planet, have a mere 12 years in which to act IF we wish to keep Global Warming to less than a 1.5 C degree of warming ( As noted above, the IPCC report is actually lacking a lot of essential science. A report by Harvard University Professor James Anderson (2018 *), which includes the science omitted by the IPCC, actually comes to the sober conclusion that we have less than 5 years to make change. THIS MEANS EVERYTHING MUST CHANGE! We must move to renewable energy, we must protect rainforests – which means stop killing them for Beef, Palm Oil, and other exploitation. We must return to a Plant-based diet, and we must RESTORE ecosystems. Plant trees, take plastic out of the ocean, work in harmony with nature. If this sounds like a bunch of smoke, it should be noted that in July of 2020 the Artic, for the first time in recorded history, actually hit over 100 degrees f (37.77 c).

1 Million Species at Risk of IMMINENT EXTINCTION

On May 6, 2019, the United Nations revealed a 3-year report that was compiled by 150 scientists from 50 countries. Among the most disturbing revelations, the report states that (in addition to the 200 species that are already going extinct daily) there are 1 million species at risk of imminent extinction, 500,000 of which are “walking dead”.

The assessment “presents an ominous picture,” said Robert Watson, chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, a scientific collaboration among 132 countries that produced the report. “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health, and quality of life worldwide.”

According to this report:

-More than a third of the world’s land and almost 75 percent of freshwater resources are used for crop or livestock production.

-The vast majority of Ecosystem Destruction has been caused by recent agricultural expansion in the tropics, home to the highest number of species on the planet. One hundred million hectares of tropical forest were lost from 1980 to 2000, mainly from cattle ranching in Latin America and palm oil plantations in Southeast Asia.

-More than 40 percent of amphibian species, almost 33 percent of reef-forming corals, and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened.

-The distributions of almost half of terrestrial mammals and almost a quarter of threatened birds have already been negatively affected by climate change.

-More than 680 vertebrate species have been driven to extinction by human actions since the 16th century.

-Nearly 90% of the wetlands present in 1700 were lost by 2000. We are losing wetlands three times faster than forests.

This assessment, which examined 15,000 scientific and government sources and took three years to write, states that unless nations undergo “transformative changes” this loss of biodiversity will cause significant developmental, economic, security, social, and moral issues. But despite the massive scale of the damage, scientists argue there is still time to avoid the worst impacts of this loss of nature.

“It is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” Watson said. “Nature can still be conserved, restored, and used sustainably — this is also key to meeting most other global goals.”

What does all of this mean for us? In the words of Conservationist and Actor Extraordinaire Harrison Ford, “Nature can survive without us, WE cannot survive without Nature”. Look at your families, your children, and ask yourself, “How much do their lives matter to me?”. Humans have NEVER faced such an immediate and all-consuming threat. Make no mistake, we cannot simply wait for someone else to save us. IF we want to save life on Planet Earth, including that of our families and ourselves, we MUST ACT BOLDLY, AGGRESSIVELY AND DECISIVELY! Everything must change. We must work together, as never before, to save this magnificent blue planet. *