I would like to tell the human species, “It’s not you, it’s me” but that would be untrue. It goes against my moral grains to record false statements. It’s you, definitely you. I know I certainly have not been producing large quantities of carbon dioxide from excessive fossil fuel burning. Who digs up rocks to burn anyways? I prefer solar energy myself. But I refuse to stand by silently registering these changes any longer. I should have known when I heard thundering steam engines in the distance, the environment would soon face tough times. I know my appearance is a bit gnarly and haggard for some of you, but I won’t take too much of your time. Down here on Methuselah walk many things have changed, but for some of us long-term residents these changes are happening a little too quickly. My family and I are pretty tied to the land, and we don’t like to simply uproot when the neighborhood is facing hard times. We prefer to stick together and weather the storms, but it looks like some of your actions are threatening the ground we live on so we don’t have much choice.
First let’s take a look at the climate over the past two centuries in my home turf of California. It is painfully obvious to me and those in my inner rings, that the climate just ain’t what it used to be. Lately my rings smaller, but some years there is not much new growth to the cluster at all. Why is this so difficult for you humans to accept? You have a whole army of scientists relaying the story to the general public, and yet there are still devoted doubters among you. Denial is perilous my fellow earth-dwellers. What kind of proof are you waiting for? This is the 5th report now; most people get the hint after the first warning. What more can you require beyond a 95% confidence in the statements that have been put forth in the reports? Survival of the fittest, not the foolish (come on, even the finches get that concept!).
Let us consider what else has changed over the past two centuries. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say technology certainly seems to have come a long way. I don’t have much experience with electricity myself, but it seems most of the human population is happily connected to a small electronic device at all hours of the day. While such technology has afforded great advancements in your health care and disease prevention, what type of world are you postponing death for? A world where you cannot provide clean drinking water and a steady food supply because of climatic change? A world where your children will only be able to observe photographs of pristine environments of days long gone, rather than walk through the majestic old trees themselves? I know if I could I would go on spring break to visit General Sherman and his battalion in Sequoia National Parl. I certainly have my fair share of scars from natural disasters, but humanity seems to be one natural disaster that will act so quickly no scar-tissue can form and there no rock can shelter us.
I cannot comprehend why a society as dependent on wi-fi is unable to support scientists searching to answer why these changes are happening so quickly. Recently the IPCC documented, yet again, that humans are why my home and your natural world are on the brink. Think about your actions if you were standing on the precipice- wouldn’t you try to retreat to safer ground? Folks are willing to conserve money because it affords them the comforts of everyday existence, but why not take preventative action? Without taking steps to try and reverse the havoc you have wrecked on the planet, future generations of humans will be unable to live in the same world, let alone a similar climate. The greatest gift you can give the future is a better planet, because this planet provides the food, water, and shelter you require for survival. For my part, I don’t ask for much, just some sunlight on the hillside, a little rain here and there, and my own piece of ground. But I don’t take more than I require, and clever with water conservation strategies- hey, we should talk about that sometime!
I am not giving up hope, because I am optimistic at heart (even if that wood is long dead). I am also pretty stubborn about my own persistence. Perhaps I am a little selfish, I admit it, but I would like to continue to add rings to my trunk for many years to come. We need to shake up the public’s perceptions of preservation, conservation, and sustainability. We need more than kind thoughts of doing things for the environment later on. We need to take steps now; well, you can see I’m a bit rooted down, so you can take steps for us both. So go out there and spread the word to your friends and family, armed with the latest IPCC report’s message. Climate change is real, it is our problem, and like any global citizen it is our job to work together to try and repair some of the damage. We can work together to mitigate the effects of climate change. So think about what you can do to help with this issue: plant a tree, take a shorter shower, and give up meat for a day. I don’t mean to sound sappy, but every person can build a positive future for the planet. Every person can make a stand for what they believe in, and it is time you all stood your ground too.