I tried to enjoy our visit to a resort on the Atlantic Ocean last weekend.
Before our trip through Georgia to north Florida, a U.N. report said that the world's oceans are endangered by climate change. The oceans have exhausted their capacity to absorb carbon. As the oceans warm, acidity rises, threatening sealife. Melting ice will raise sea levels, eventually flooding the luxury condos and hotels at places like Amelia Island, where we stayed.
Witnessing the Atlantic's majesty gives the illusion that the ocean is invulnerable to human activity. But Islands of plastic foul the Pacific. The Atlantic is warming. Coral reefs and fish are dying.. Already, cities like Miami experience regular flooding. Unable to break my habit of reading a newspaper, I saw something about right whales dying after hurling themselves onto dry land.
Like the other guests, we enjoyed the ocean, the swimming pools, the restaurants, the luxury shops. We walked along the golf course, which requires gallons of water to stay green.
On a cruise to Cumberland Island, we saw dolphins, a shark, ospreys and other birds, and Cumberland's feral horses. The tour guide said wild shrimp flourish. Long polluted, the Amelia River is now clean, and oyster beds have returned. Nature seemed fine.
Looking at the waves crash against the beach, I couldn't stop thinking about that U.N. report. The ocean, from where human life emerged, is in serious trouble.
We kept seeing small children, newborn babies and pregnant women. Congratulating a mother with a 4-week-old infant, I realized that the child likely wil live until 2100. If the world doesn't act soon to stop climate change, the baby during her life will experience a far more desolate world than ours.
I did well enjoying the luxury surroundings until I saw sprinklers spraying an abandoned tennis court, which received more water than the surrounding shrubbery. Gallons of water wasted.
Before heading home, we filled up with gasoline. As we reached Atlanta, the gas tank was almost empty. Along with the others hurtling down the highway, we had sent emissions into the atmosphere. A radio talk show said that a country plans zero carbon emissions by 2050. I said to myself, "2050? We don't have that much time."
The 90-degree days march into October.