I suggest watching this video as a good introduction to the subject that will help you to take in the "seriousness" of this issue as we currently understand it:
I can't believe that I only now open a page on Climate Change. I have been fortunate to meet concerned scientists who are doing their best to wake us up to the serious challenge ahead. Therefore, with thanks I would like to introduce a UK climate scientist to present on this topic:
David Wasdell, who states,
"This leading edge scientific update was delivered to a packed audience in the House of Commons in June 2007. It was released in the approach to the Bali Meeting of the UNFCCC because it presents material not yet addressed by the IPCC, but which is absolutely critical to the decision-making process at and beyond that event.
Over the last two years there has been a profound shift in the scientific understanding of the behaviour of the earth's climate system. Although some specific feedback mechanisms were included in the more advanced climate models, the analysis of climate dynamics as a whole has proceeded far beyond that portrayed in the latest IPCC Assessment Report. It was not taken into consideration in the Stern Report, in the formulation of the Climate Bill currently before the UK Parliament, or in the process of target-setting of the present round of International negotiations.
Almost all of the systems known to affect climate change are now in a state of net positive (amplifying) feedback. Each feedback mechanism accelerates its own specific process. The output of each feedback is an input to all other feedbacks, so the system as a whole constitutes an interactive set of mutually reinforcing sub-systems.
This "second order" feedback system accelerates the rate of climate change and faces us with the possibility of a "tipping point" in the whole earth system. If we go beyond the point where human intervention can no longer stabilise the system, then we precipitate unstoppable runaway climate change.
The implication is that climate change is non-linear. Once set in motion it is acceleratingly self-perpetuating. There is then only a small time-window within which human intervention has any (rapidly diminishing) chance of halting the process and returning the system to a stable state. Failure to act effectively within that window of opportunity would inevitably precipitate cataclysmic change on a par with the five mass extinction events known to have obliterated almost all life on earth.
Strategically we have to generate a negative feedback intervention of sufficient power to overcome the now active positive feedback process. We then have to maintain its effectiveness during the remaining period of rising temperature, while temperature-driven positive feedbacks continue to operate. That is an extraordinarily difficult task, out of all comparison with strategies currently in place.
"Feedback Dynamics and the Acceleration of Climate Change" provided an essential briefing for every person and organisation involved in the UNFCCC Meeting in Bali. Beyond that it now lays the foundation for all future strategic engagement with the imperative task of climate stabilization."
Please see these PDF chapters from David's Book: Planet Earth We Have A Problem:
- Introduction, Contents and Contributors
- Summary for Policy Makers
- Presentation 1: An Introduction to Climate Dynamics
- Presentation 5: Accelerated Climate Change and the Task of Stabilisation
The above chapters are extracted from: Planet Earth We Have A Problem: Feedback Dynamics and the Acceleration of Climate Change, A Scientific Update, Authors: David Wasdell, Peter Cox, Deepak Rughani, Peter Wadhams
Below is an extract from Restoring Peace: 6 Ways Nature in Our Lives Can Reduce the Violence in Our World Richard Louv Author, 'LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder,' 'THE NATURE PRINCIPLE'; Chairman emeritus, Children & Nature Network More nature in our lives can offset the dangerous psychological impact of climate change.
Professor Glenn Albrecht, director of the Institute of Sustainability and Technology Policy at Murdoch University in Australia, has coined a term specific to mental health, solastalgia, which he defines as "the pain experienced when there is recognition that the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault." Albrecht asks: Could people's mental health be harmed by an array of shifts, including subtle changes of climate? If he's right in suggesting this is so, and if climate change occurs at the rate that some scientists believe it will, and if human beings continue to crowd into de-natured cities, then solastalgia will, he believes, contribute to a quickening spiral of mental illness.
We are not powerless in the face of planetary or societal challenges. Granted, we will not be able to prevent every violent tragedy, but we can surely make our lives greener and gentler. And that positive influence may ripple outward in ways we cannot immediately measure or see.
"Simply getting people together, outside, working in a caring capacity with nature, perhaps even intergenerationally, may be as important as the healing of nature itself," suggests Rick Kool, a professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia. "Perhaps, in trying to 'heal the world' through restoration, we end up healing ourselves."