Yes, I have the tendency to be overly dramatic. However, I think in this instance it’s completely justifiable. Depending on who you are, global warming may or may not be something you think about on a daily basis. Even though you should be concerned, too many people are comfortable with thinking it is not as bad as others are making it seem. There is an even smaller percentage of individuals who think it is made up. Well, I’m here today to tell you, use your common sense, it’s not fake, and unfortunately, a problem that we have created has officially claimed it’s first life. In fact, so many so, that this little guy shown below, no longer exists.
A small rodent, the Bramble Cay melomys, only lived on a single island off Australia. Scientists reported it to be likely the world’s first mammal to become a casualty of climate change in 2016, however, the government of Australia has now officially recognized Melomys rubicola as extinct. Done for. Gone forever. Never. Coming. Back.
The animal seems to have disappeared from its home in the eastern Torres Strait of the Great Barrier Reef, scientists say. The animal was last seen by a fisherman in 2009, but failed attempts to trap any in late 2014 prompted scientists to say it is likely extinct.
The rats were first seen by Europeans on the island in 1845, and there were several hundred there as of 1978. But since 1998, the part of the island that sits above high tide has shrunk from 9.8 acres to 6.2 acres. Ok Lady, but they are basically rats, and less rats are a good think so who cares right? Wrong, very wrong.
Yes, they may be a rodent species, but remember that the biggest effects are seen in the smallest of species first, and with this rodent no longer living, and with nearly almost half of our insect population declining rapidly due to the same reasons and our overuse of pesticides, we are in pretty bad shape as a planet. The bigger picture? The island’s vegetation had been shrinking due to rising water levels, and the rodents have lost about 97 percent of their habitat, so they died.
“The key factor responsible for the extirpation of this population was almost certainly ocean inundation of the low-lying cay, very likely on multiple occasions, during the last decade, causing dramatic habitat loss and perhaps also direct mortality of individuals,” writes the team, led by Ian Gynther from Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
“For low-lying islands like Bramble Cay, the destructive effects of extreme water levels resulting from severe meteorological events are compounded by the impacts from anthropogenic climate change-driven sea-level rise,” the authors add.
So again, why should we care? Well, around the world, sea levels have been rising by almost eight inches between 1901 and 2010, a rate unparalleled in the last 6,000 years. And around the Torres Strait, sea level has risen at almost twice the global average rate between 1993 and 2014. (Learn more about rising seas.) Still not making the connection? Well, I’m from Miami. I love Miami, and judging from all the spring break videos and pictures streaming out of there, others love it too. Don’t get too attached though, because a small island far away is just the begining. Miami may not exist in our lifetime due to rising sea levels. But it doesn’t stop there! Basically all of South Florida, New Orleans and New York are also on the list.
So while the future of spring break hangs in turmoil, a species, and many more, are on their way out. So what do we do? Actually, there is nothing we can do. According to NASA, responding to climate change will involve a two-tier approach. First, we MUST reduce the flow of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Basically, we have to stop what we are doing now (fracking, using fossil fuels, ect) and find a more efficient and environmentally friendly way to live our lives. Secondly, we must learn to live with, and adapt to, the climate change that has already been set in motion. That may mean saying so long to margaritas on the beach.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts. What do you think is the future of our planet? Can we fix things? Are we screwed? Sound off below tribe!
Until next time,