Aware of What Lies Ahead
Part Two of A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough, is titled “What Lies Ahead.”
I concluded last month’s post by pondering what life on our planet will be in the next decades for my great-nephew born in 2015 and my great-niece born in 2020. Now I share with you Attenborough’s projections for 2030 up to the twenty-second century beginning in 2100.
By the 2030s the Amazon rainforest is on course to be reduced to 75 percent of its original extent. Attenborough proposes this reduction may prove to be a tipping point for the Amazon triggering a phenomenon known as forest dieback. The Arctic Ocean is also expected to have its first entirely ice-free summer in the 2030s.
By the 2040s we will likely see another tipping point – the thawing of the permafrost. This event could cause the entire land surface in the northern hemisphere to become a mud bath as the ice that held the soil together disappears. This event would also turn on a gas tap of methane and carbon dioxide that we would probably never be able to turn off.
By the 2050s the entire ocean could be sufficiently acidic to trigger a calamitous decline. 90 percent of the coral reefs on Earth will be destroyed within the space of a few years. Remaining commercial fisheries and fish farming will perish impacting the livelihoods of more than half a billion people and directly affecting a ready source of protein that has fed humans for our entire existence.
In 2050 my great-nephew will be thirty-five and my great-niece will turn thirty.
During the 2080s global food production on land could be at a crisis point. Millions of tons of lost topsoil could enter the rivers and bring flooding in the towns and cities downstream. The loss of insects would affect three-quarters of our food crops. The risk of new pandemics is high.
By the beginning of 2100 a quarter of the world’s population could live in places where the average daily temperature would be what is found in the Sahara today. Farming in these areas would be impossible and a billion people who live in these areas will become part of the greatest human migration in history.
As I did last month, I invite you to ponder what these prospects for life on our planet would mean for the children in your life now as you become aware of what lies ahead.
I invite you to watch the trailer to “A Life on Our Planet” and hopefully it will inspire you to watch the entire documentary by David Attenborough.
Who We Can Be
Next month I will share Attenborough’s optimistic vision for the future if we act NOW.
It is true that the cost of action today is high!
And the cost of inaction today is even higher for those we love!