Carbon milestone more than ‘troubling’

“CO2 levels hit troubling milestone.” These are the words used as the headline in an article posted in the national and world news section of The Durango Herald on June 2.

I first read this article in The Huffington Post on June 1. What’s really troubling is that each of these news agencies proclaim they serve the public.

Reaching 400 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is catastrophic. The word “troubling” does not create the necessary alarm that is needed. In the near future, millions will suffer and many will die as a result of this news.

The climate-deniers will scream and holler about it having been hotter or colder in the past. This argument is a distraction from what is really happening. The climate is changing rapidly, we are not.

We are not changing our voracious appetite for fossil fuels. Yes, the hamburger, iPhone, nail polish, Prius, your sofa are all made by burning fossil fuels. Our diet, transportation, shelter, entertainment: Our whole lifestyle is built on the fragile foundation of fossil fuels. In our pursuit of wealth, convenience, growth and overall gluttony, we have forgotten a very important point.

Our ecology and our environment are the soil from which our economy grows. Destroy the environment and the economy perishes as well. Recent headlines of continued unemployment and teetering governments go hand in hand with rising CO2 levels. In the last century, technology has managed to obliterate what was once common wisdom: Everything is related. No exceptions.

Sea levels are rising and we are amid the greatest extinction of species ever recorded. Droughts are lasting longer, and, yes, it is getting warmer.

Climate change is not a legacy for our children, nor our grandchildren. No, it is you and I who are going to be held accountable for our failed ethics. When our children ask us why we did not change our course, our pathetic response can only be, “apathy, learned ignorance and an utter failure of human creativity.”

Timothy Prow