Nine Thresholds

The White Rhino is gone. Climate had very little to do with its loss.

There are nine thresholds (give or take), or boundaries which science has identified as those we’re past or fast approaching. Any one of them means disaster for species loss, and from that, danger to humanity. Climate is one. Climate is not the most dire.

I listened to Extinction Rebellion America talk to me last night, Zoom time, and all I could think was how sad their focus is climate. The kid who’s walking from Miami to Tallahassee made me smile; I thought about that about the time XRA got started, we all got sidetracked, it would have been easier to work in Florida without the pandemic, easier with some place to stay, easier everywhere, but sadly, he missing the point in Florida.

Climate change isn’t causing massive fish kills, it’s not killing marine mammals, it’s not causing blooms of dinoflagellates, just like it didn’t kill the white rhino. Other human activities are doing that.

Biogeochemical flows of N and P is killing Florida. Two and a half million leaky septics tanks are killing Florida. Massive infiltration and runoff of agrochemicals are killing Florida. New highways through critical lands once untouched are killing Florida. Climate change is nothing, some flooding might clean the state up.

Land use change is a big killer.

Biospheric integrity is a big killer.

Freshwater resources, ozone depletion, “novel entities” (do GMO’d mosquitoes count?), all of these things, they’re doing as much damage as climate, I promise.

I am so tired of hearing about climate, I could scream.

Luckily, I’ve learned not to. Climate is not our biggest enemy, yet XRA says it is all that matters, they emphasized that last night. When they realize that government cannot help us, perhaps they’ll change their tune. They don’t realize they’ve got to sacrifice, government (global) cannot wave a magic wand.

Maybe for carbons, but not by counting them.

Climate change didn’t kill the white rhino. It’s not killing most things, except us. We’re just taking out everything with us.

Linda Brooke Stabler, Ph.D.