What if the Pentagon is Right?
by Lorenzo Hagerty, March 5, 2004
When the story about possible
catastrophic climate change first appeared in Fortune
magazine early this year, it became obvious that climate change
has now moved beyond the realm of people who are environmentally
conscious and into America's corporate board rooms as well.
To my knowledge, this is the first time that the US Pentagon
has warned corporate America that an environmental catastrophe
of monumental proportions may take place in our lifetimes.
"Catastrophic" is the word they used, and this is
a powerful word when used by our nation's military planners.
Generally, this word is reserved for use when speaking of
Weapons of Mass Destruction. We are talking here about
something with the power to be civilization-changing.
As is often the case these
days, several different scientific disciplines have intersected,
experienced synergy, and illuminated truths about our planet
that would have seemed outrageous only 100 years ago. Thanks
to current science, we now have a much better view of the
processes involved in heating the North Atlantic land masses.
It has long been known that ocean currents, like the well-known
Gulf Stream, are responsible for the warm air along the east
coast of North America and along European coasts.
What is new, however, is the
discovery that the direction in which these currents flow
can reverse in a very short period of time, which in turn
would cause a catastrophic change in global weather. In fact,
should these warming currents change direction today, within
2 - 3 years most of Europe and eastern North America will
begin to experience very long and severe winters and soon
become uninhabitable. Here is how author Thom
Hartmann described the situation:
"The worst-case scenario would be a full-blown
return of the last ice age -- in a period as short as 2
to 3 years from its onset . . . a delicately balanced
teeter-totter, which can exist in one state or the other,
but transits through the middle stage almost overnight.
. . . If the Great Conveyor Belt, which includes the
Gulf Stream, were to stop flowing today, the result would
be sudden and dramatic. Winter would set in for the
eastern half of North America and all of Europe and Siberia,
and never go away. Within three years, those regions
would become uninhabitable and nearly two billion humans
would starve, freeze to death, or have to relocate.
Civilization as we know it probably couldn't withstand the
impact of such a crushing blow."
Now I'm not saying that
this will begin tomorrow, or even in our lifetimes. What I
am saying is that if the Pentagon's top strategic planners
are so concerned about this issue that they leaked it to the
US business press, then maybe the rest of us should play "what
if?" too. The following is a small part of my own such
list. (You may find it illuminating to create a What If list
of your own.)
- What if the scientists are correct about how the warming
currents work and how fragile their balance is?
- What if these currents change direction and cease warming
the North Atlantic in my lifetime?
- What if I'm living in one of the areas the Pentagon says
may experience a weather-related catastrophe in the near-term?
(These areas include the entire eastern half of Canada
and the USA and all of Europe.)
- What if I am forced to evacuate and permanently leave
my home area at the same time 2 billion other humans are
also on the move?
- What will it mean to the world economy if 2 billion people
have to relocate in just a few years' time?
- What if there is still time enough left for us to prevent
this possible catastrophe?
I certainly hope, and fervently
believe, that enough time remains for us to pull back from
the brink of an environmental catastrophe that is so immense
we cannot even imagine it. Just think, within our own lifetimes
all of the great cities of Europe could be buried under mountains
of snow. We simply cannot let this happen.
The moment has finally arrived
for concerned humans everywhere to stand up and be counted
on the issue of global warming. The Pentagon/Fortune
crowd have now made it OK to talk about these issues in public.
No longer must environmentally-aware people remain circumspect
around their friends, families, neighbors, and business associates.
It is time drop our shields and get everyone on this planet
talking about what us humans are doing to our life support
systems here on Earth. What if we did that every day at work,
at school, at church, and everywhere else we go. What if we
asked every store clerk we deal with what they think about
the Pentagon's report? What if everyone finally gets
And what if we don't?
opinions by Lorenzo Hagerty
can be found at:
"What if the Pentagon is Right?" Copyright ©
2004 by Lorenzo Hagerty
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