Global Warming and the Story of the Frog in the Pot

The frog is thrown into a pot of hot, but not boiling, water. The frog could jump out, but it does not. Soon enough the frog is cooked. It is too late.

Nowhere is this story more relevant than in regard to global warming. It is not too late for us to get out of the pot, but so far we as a nation have not decided to jump.

Is it because we see the consequences as too far in the future?  Do we believe there is some technological fix that can come in and save us at the last minute?  Have we bought into the argument that we need to concentrate on making our society more “productive” NOW, fixing our economy and creating more jobs at present, and worry about climate change later?

Let’s start with what is already happening and the present effects of global warming. The science is clear. Greenhouse gases act like a blanket around the earth, trapping energy in the atmosphere and causing temperatures to rise every year — right now.  Most of this is caused by human intervention: toxic emissions from vehicles, burning of coal, gas and oil from plants, businesses and homes.  Almost all scientists agree.

The following effects are happening RIGHT NOW.

  • Severe droughts in Sub Saharan Africa and in the Middle East have caused crop failures and livestock shortages that precipitated the deaths of tens of thousands. Millions more have become “climate refugees,” risking life and welfare to escape to other countries, which do not want them. Most of these people are poor farmers who can no longer farm in their home country.
  • Sea levels are rising so dramatically that whole island nations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans inhabited by poor indigenous people will disappear in this century. Meanwhile, American cities like Miami, New Orleans, Charleston and New York will lose most of their land to encroaching sea water.
  • There is a marked increase in the temperature and ocean acidification that is causing the destruction of much of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and damage to other marine ecosystems
  • Land animals are also harmed due to a lack of food and water, dramatically changing their migratory patterns. Most people know about the dangers to polar bears but that is just, shall we say, the tip of the iceberg. which, as we know, are melting at a dangerously accelerated rate and raising the sea levels.
  • Have you noticed an increase in extreme weather patterns — hurricanes, blizzards, thunderstorms, tornados, heat waves — occurring more frequently with greater intensity? These phenomena do not occur all the time in all locations, but they are certainly more and more intense.

The pot is heating up, but we can still jump out. President Obama was well aware of this impending catastrophe and made several significant decisions to help us escape – including the Paris Agreement, signed by most of the countries of the world.

So, how is our present government helping us to lower global temperature get out of the pot? First of all, President Trump has chosen climate deniers to head the Environmental Protection Agency, the Justice Department, the Department of Agriculture and on and on.

  • Trump has rolled back President Obama’s vehicle pollution measures, as well as the Clean Power Plan, which aimed to close the worst polluting coal-powered power plants and block coal companies from dumping mining debris into rivers, lakes and streams.
  • He is attempting to roll back President Obama’s bans on future offshore drilling in the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans.
  • He lifted restrictions on the production of shale, oil, coal and natural gas.
  • He proposed to shut down the climate satellites which are our warning system for charting the path of global warming and planning to reverse it.
  • He has allowed the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines to proceed.
  • He has proposed cutting the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent, with an even larger 43 percent cut for research and development.
  • He signed several executive orders to reverse president Obama’s executive order to protect U.S. waters
  • He has threatened to withdraw us from the Paris Agreement.

And that is just the beginning.

If you believe, as Trump does, that global warming “was created by and for the Chinese,” you know that not only will he fail to turn off the pot before it boils, but he will also not even acknowledge that the pot is cooking.

Have you heard of — or actually experienced — the damage that an unattended pot can cause? If only you knew it was boiling over, it could have been prevented. A home or business or life could have been saved.

Here, we are talking about the safety of the whole planet and billions of lives. Climate justice touches all of us as world citizens — and especially the majority of farmers, who are poor but produce more than half of the global food supply. Climate justice is organically connected to food justice, economic justice, racial and gender justice and social justice.

Well, we do know about this boiling pot. We have been warned, and we can — and must — act. There are safe solutions: renewable solar, wind and other energy sources. They are already working and producing record numbers of well-paying jobs that will bolster our economy and keep us safe. For example, in 2016 there were more than 260,000 full time workers in solar, with 50,000 new jobs in the past year. Investments in solar, wind and thermal should be a part of a much-needed bipartisan infrastructure bill.

We must keep the attention of our congressional representatives, senators and the media. Most importantly, we must not feel powerless in the face of this overwhelming onslaught of climate denial. We need to start at the grassroots level and work with people all across the political spectrum who are now waking up to the tremendous dangers at stake.

The recent marches for climate justice are an excellent step forward in terms of energizing the movement — we at WhyHunger participated. Let’s keep on marching together and speaking out for climate justice for all.

Photo Credit: Bethany Legg/Unsplash

131 comments

Marie W
Marie W1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

SEND
Carl R
Carl R1 years ago

Friday, May 19, 2017

"Mysticism–an all embracing love of humanity–and peacemaking often go together."

—Dag Hammarskjold

SEND
Raymond R M
Raymond R M1 years ago

Why use a frog as a metaphor for global warming?

SEND
Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld1 years ago

Son Y.,
I see no need to cut down on energy research. The potential benefits will always be there (unless we finally develop some cheap, reliable energy source). To answer your second question requires a little more. Doing something for the sake of doing something, is not always the best approach. People tend to think that if we have a problem, we must do something immediately. Sometimes, it is best to assess the issue thoroughly, and then select the best solution. The other issue is cost. Perhaps the stop-gap solution leads to higher costs, than a later, more thorough solution. Basing immediately action on the worst case scenario, is only prudent if that worst case scenario has a reasonable chance of occurring. An asteroid strike has a catastrophic worst case scenario, but its likelihood of occurring is minuscule. From everything the scientists have said about the issue, it does not appear to be an immediate concern, such that an effective, long-term approach would be best. Perhaps that long-term approach will incorporate many smaller solutions that can be implemented immediately, without much cost or harm.

SEND
Miss D
Shari F1 years ago

Thanks Patricia! x

SEND
Son Y.
Son Y.1 years ago

Even if climate change *were* a hoax, why cut down on energy research? It still makes good business and environmental sense regardless. Many environmental and health issues will not go away just because they supposedly fall under "climate change."

The thing is, this is something we can't afford to get wrong. If climate change isn't real, then what's to lose? We work for cleaner environment and healthier spaces sooner than we might otherwise have, which is no bad thing. On the other hand, if it IS real, then we HAVE to push all our efforts to before we go over a tipping point that we can only estimate (because there has never been a time when there is the human population on earth as large as it is now, making a literal global impact).

SEND
Marija M
Marija M1 years ago

tks

SEND
Carl R
Carl R1 years ago

thanks!!!

SEND
Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld1 years ago

Mark D.,
Attacking scientists for their views harms your credibility, rather than improving it. I have never worked for an oil or gas company, nor did I support Trump. Science works by gathering evidence and formulating conclusions on that basis, not by insults and lies. I have frequently presented the scientific evidence to support my position. Why haven't you? There is no saturation point, beyond which the oceans will start releases heat into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide will move continuously between the atmosphere and oceans based on the partial pressure in each. This is not causing massive damage to the oceans. Mankind is causing much more damaging through pollution, over-fishing, overuse, and other direct effects. Regarding your claim of most warming in Earth's history, you may want to read up on the science:

http://www.pnas.org/content/111/34/E3501.full.pdf

http://www.nbi.ku.dk/english/news/news13/greenland-ice-cores-reveal-warm-climate-of-the-past/

http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/2000-years-of-global-temperatures-small.gif

Based on the uncertainty in past temperature reconstructions, the APS (the guys that really know the physics) claim that the recent temperatures are the warmest in at least 300 years. Much of that being a recovery from the little ice age.

Predictions of global catastrophe, based on climate models, have thus far failed to materialize. Tha

SEND
Patricia H
Patricia Harris1 years ago

Miss D, that's a very good point. We all need to make smart choices when it comes to the foods that we eat, and how it might effect the environment in a negative way. With that in mind, I shall start by eating a salad from time to time. I love salads! ;)

SEND