Carbon Driven ExtravaganceMichael McBride Surrounding my Alaskan home are ancient spruces, simply enormous,
their swaying crowns broom-sweep the low seacoast clouds,
their blanket canopies mute and scatter the sun beneath,
shafts, beams and crepuscular pillars of light, enough though,
for huddling ferns, creeping lycopodium and earth toned mushrooms.
Nearby, surf sound blends with the intoxicating perfume of coniferous sap.
The verdant hush is a nurturing balm, as healing as a lover’s caress.

Just across the salt rimmed estuary, the boldest of nameless mountains
leaps skyward, reaching for the summer sun.
Rolling alpine meadows are a ‘blaze with fireweed and
fields of violets nod beside singing white water.
Butter yellow cinquefoil, powder blue gentian,
Van Gogh’s palate was no more lavishly adorned.

But the forest is dead, gone in the blink of a cosmic eye,
the titan trunks hurled to the bracken,
as casually as a child’s thrown pick-up-sticks.
The up-valley glaciers which give life so generously, gallop in retreat,
unable to stand in the face of our withering arrogance.
The sea itself, La Mere, our mother, she who fills our lungs
with every second mindless breath,
teeters on the very brink of the acidic abyss,
Casually thrown beneath the wheels of our carbon driven extravagance.
*climate disruption and sea level rise is being felt sooner in Alaska than
anywhere else on earth, ocean acidification is a critical and little known mega-problem
caused by unprecedented levels of C02 changing the ocean’s basic chemistry. Years ago, 350 parts per million was considered a “tipping point”, in 2022 it is globally at 412 and rising!
  • Human activities have increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, amplifying Earth's natural greenhouse effect.
  • Despite the global pandemic, the global average amount of carbon dioxide hit a new record high in 2020: 412.5 parts per million.