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Troubled Waters: The Gulf Stream’s Vulnerability to Climate Change

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Today we’ll examine how climate change and rising global temperatures are having a critical effect on our precious planet Earth’s ocean circulation system. “New research has zoomed in on the North Atlantic circulation, which transports heat from the tropics to Europe. Already, the system of currents called AMOC have slowed by 15% and now at their weakest in more than a millennium. But melting ice at both poles could slow it by 34% to 45% by the end of the century, changing our climate.”

The shutdown of the Gulf Stream system would unleash disastrous consequences across the globe. It would lead to the disruption of weather patterns, including a shortage of rainfall crucial for agriculture in areas such as India, South America, and West Africa.

Professor Penny Holliday describes how a Gulf Stream or AMOC shutdown would have social impacts: “For people and governments, this would lead to dramatic change in every nation’s ability to provide enough food and water for its population. The patterns of vector-borne disease and health (including mental health) would be profoundly affected.”

Professor Holliday adds, “Worldwide, many land and marine ecosystems would be unable to cope and adapt to such fast-changing climate conditions and biodiversity would be severely impacted… They describe the potential for AMOC collapse within a few years as ‘worrisome’ and the evidence as something that we should not ignore.”

Scientists from various parts of the world have issued consistent warnings about the precarious state of the Gulf Stream and the AMOC. Their collective research has demonstrated, quite alarmingly, that many climate models indicate AMOC is likely to weaken due to global warming. The impacts of climate change could lead to the collapse of AMOC, possibly occurring around the mid-century or even as early as 2030. Dr. Peter de Menocal explains that a shutdown of the Gulf Stream would “affect every person on the planet – it’s that big and important.” “We know that this overturning circulation is vulnerable to change under global warming, and we have evidence that it can switch off or collapse altogether. The time scale is a little bit uncertain, but I think all scientists would agree it’s a vulnerable system to climate change.”

It’s certain that most greenhouse gas emissions come from the animal-people livestock industry. This fact was highlighted and verified in work done by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a Shining World Leadership for Lives-Saving-Hero Award laureate, stating that “dietary shift and meat alternatives are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Another article by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN states, “Cattle (raised for both beef and milk, as well as for inedible outputs like manure and draft power) are the animal species responsible for the most emissions, representing about 65% of the livestock sector’s emissions.”

Our Most Gracious Supreme Master Ching Hai (vegan), often reminds us that the only way to quickly halt climate change is through a global shift to the vegan lifestyle.
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