|July 2013, Eqi glacier photo by Alan Farago|
Later this morning, a friend in his small plane is picking me up in Maine. Four hours later, we will be in Labrador, a Canadian province on the far eastern coast. Another four hours, we will have reached the a remote mining town in northeastern Canada, and four hours beyond that, on the other side of Baffin Bay: Greenland.
A group of friends made a similar trip to Greenland four years ago.
Here is a link to posts from that visit in July 2013. To those who can’t go, the beauty and serenity of Greenland is readily available through photos and videos on the internet. What these don’t capture is the remoteness and distance between civilization and the polar extremes.
The northern route on a passenger jet to Europe flies over or within site of Greenland. Because passengers fly by at 30,000 feet, Greenland is little more than an afterthought between international airports, baggage carousels, and anticipated destinations that have nothing to do with ice or snow, glacier melt and icebergs. Moving slowly in a small plane from the urbanized east coast, a few thousand feet above a vast Canadian wilderness, the meaning of geography begins to sink in. Greenland peels away what we take for granted.
According to “May Marks One More Record Hot Month For The World”, the warmest May on record blew through the temperature target of 2 degree celsius; established by scientists as a metric to keep the climate from spiraling into the unknown.
“Through April, the global average temperature was 2.6°F (1.45°C) above the average from that earlier period. Nations have agreed to limit carbon dioxide emissions to keep warming under 2°C (4°F) by the end of the century, but have discussed trying to achieve an even more ambitious target of 1.5°C (3°F).”
It is not going to be 113 degrees where I am traveling, but it will bring the dissonances swirling around the refusal of the Republican Party of Florida to acknowledge global warming. GOP leaders including Marco Rubio, Pam Bondi, Gov. Rick Scott and Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam are part of a brilliantly coordinated disinformation campaign — straight out of the Donald Trump reality TV / political horror show. They ignore the realities of climate change in our backyards, on our coastlines, and through the massive rainfall and flooding events that are wrecking our rivers, estuaries, bays and Everglades.
To some, it may seem I write only about the Everglades and global warming. Here is how the two are connected. Global warming is the greatest story in the history of the world. To stop and reverse global warming requires cooperation between science and the engines of the world economies on a scale that in unprecedented.
Fixing the Everglades should be the model of science and engineering in the service of a sustainable economy and restored natural resources. That is what is at stake in Everglades restoration. That is the ideal and principle on which billions of taxpayer dollars are being invested. However, the reality is dismal.
Like so many observers, I am watching the figurative conflagrations within the Republican Party and the literal fires consuming iconic California with a sense of anxiety and alarm.
What is happening in Tallahassee is that politicians afflicted by addiction to campaign cash from Big Sugar — the same flood of Dark Money the Koch Brothers have been paving the road for anti-science ideologues in the Republican party — are all-in on the game of kicking the can down the road. The unwillingness and inability of politics to shape itself to an efficient, clear outcome on the Everglades portends poorly for our existential fight on climate change.
There is no Plan B, says the bumper sticker. One of our Everglades advocates, Joe Podgor, said it another way: “Restoring the Everglades is a test. If we pass, we may get to keep the planet.” I’ll be writing about what the planet looks like from the perspective of Greenland next week.