Greenland Melts, The Rest of the World Sinks

In June we posted a piece encouraging young professionals to use climate change as inspiration for innovation. Couple weeks later we put out this piece, giving locals some immediate inspiration, about Toronto Island sinking because of climate change. Well if you still needed inspiration maybe you should check out the news from Greenland this morning.

Greenland’s ice sheet is melting and now the world is sinking… faster than it was before.

In that original piece about climate change I mentioned tipping points and their immediate danger to civilization. Well, Greenland’s melting ice sheet is the mother-load of tipping points. According to scientists as the ice melts and exposes the darker land it generates more heat. In turn, that heat breeds more algae which turns the white ice into dark ice.

White ice, the kind that used to be there, absorbs more solar radiation than dark ice, the kind that is slowly dominating the land now. The more solar radiation the massive ice covered country absorbs the faster it’s going to melt. The faster it melts, the faster sea levels rise. The more sea levels rise, the darker the water gets. The darker the water gets, the more solar radiation it absorbs. As you can see, it’s a vicious cycle.

These are the tipping points scientists were trying to warn us about decades ago when global warming first became relevant. They knew that at some point the process would start to accelerate itself. We are at that point now.

It begs the question: are we too late? My answer is no, we aren’t too late. However, we might be too slow and in need of some accelerant ourselves.

Already we are seeing a growth period in the renewable energy sector both in jobs and in revenue. Renewables are surpassing older forms of energy and slowly creeping up alongside oil. A sustainable future seems within our reach at this point and for the first time people are hopeful that it could be a reality. The only issue is that we may be passed the point of no return with climate change. It’s possible, at the current rate of transitioning into renewables, we won’t make it to a sustainable future in time – even though it’s extremely apparent that’s the direction we’re moving in.

Modern society has made the decision that sustainability is the future, for the most part. The only issue is the speed at which we plan on achieving this goal. With Greenland now being a primary concern for climate scientists, speed is the one requirement left for keeping life on the pale blue dot.

Greenland is the biggest piece of ice in the northern hemisphere – seven times larger the entire UK. At the current rate, the melting landmass contributes 1mm of water to sea levels every year. But again, this is being accelerated. It isn’t going to stay at 1mm/year. The sea levels will rise and with them so will the rate at which they rise.

The time for solutions is over. We have the solutions. Now is the time for us to implement them as fast and as widespread as we possibly can.