A recent trip got me thinking … the end is coming. Everyone can agree that Planet Earth is in a constant state of change. I visited the fantastic Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Canada, near Calgary, and that started my focusing on my epiphany. The museum, dedicated to explaining prehistoric times and the dinosaurs, explained the three cataclysmic events in history (evidenced by telltale signs left in geological remains) when life on Earth was nearly completely extinguished.
It is foolhardy to think that another such event won’t occur at some future time. And when it does, human life may disappear. There is really nothing man can do to stop such events. For example, one such event involved a huge meteor hitting Earth with debris that darkened the sky so that no plant life could survive and animals eventually died of starvation.
My visit to the Tyrrell happened just days after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston with its major destruction. After my visit to Tyrrell, I headed to Waterton, Canada, on the U.S. border near Montana. Smoke filled the air making it difficult at times to breathe. By the time I left Canada, some nine days later, Waterton and nearby Glacier National Park had been closed to visitors because the smoke-inducing forest fires had become too dangerous. At the time, there were about nine such fires raging, only a few of which were under control. Again, it was man against nature and out of man’s control.
Meanwhile, back in Dallas, I was reading about long gas lines as supply fears from lack of refinery production in Houston was sending panic throughout the city.
Then, as I left Canada just a few days later to return to the U.S., Hurricane Irma was getting ready to strike Florida, with predicted damage worse than Hurricane Harvey.
My, I thought, Earth is convulsing. Eventually, what has happened three times before will happen again.
During my trip through Canada, I saw several huge icefields and glaciers high in the mountains. These icefields and glaciers fuel the waterfalls that fill the lakes and rivers that feed the wildlife in the surrounding woods as well as the animals on ranches that feed humans, etc.
A popular summer vacation adventure in Canada is to visit the Athabasca Glacier, located in Jasper National Park. Brewster, a large Canadian tour company, opened a facility with an interpretive movie, restaurant, gift shop and restrooms at the base of the glacier. Standard buses run tourists to a site near the bottom of the glacier. From there, Brewster commissioned specially-designed all-terrain vehicles that can hold a busload to transport visitors onto the glacier.
A glacier leaves a mound of rock at its base. You can see where the mound of dirt is next to Brewster’s facility, more than a mile from the current base of the glacier. Photographs show the glacier as it was at various times in the past. It is indisputable the glacier is receding. Estimates are that in about five years, it will be impossible to get to the base of the glacier because the continued erosion of the glacier will make it too steep even for the all-terrain vehicles to access.
So, to hedge its bet on this tourist attraction, Brewster constructed a “skywalk,” similar to the one at Grand Canyon, from where visitors are suspended in the air on a glass walkway to view the glacier, all to preserve tourism to this place where the changing Earth will deprive us of what is available today.
While walking on the glacier, it suddenly hit me: whether it’s human-caused or not, global warming is happening and affecting us. Whether we can impact it beyond building skywalks is the question. Isn’t that uplifting? Well, it should motivate you to see the sights now before it’s too late.