In tidying out some of my boxes of resources I came across a National Geographic Magazine from 2013. Its cover title was: Rising Seas.
But the biggest part is an extended fold out world map showing what will happen if all the ice in the world melts.
Firstly, sea levels will rise by 216 feet. Not two cm or one inch or two feet or six feet but 216 feet – over 65 meters.
For every part of the world the maps show what will no longer be there.
136 large coastal cities at risk from sea level rise.
London, Venice, Jakarta, Dhaka all gone.
I stared at the map hard. Its something to think of the ice melting. Still harder to think of 216 feet of rise. So I searched under google images “if all the ice melted”. There are many maps to examine.
Here is one video which shows all the cities around the world which will vanish under water if all the ice melts.
Why does this matter? It matters because the Earth is not simply a home for humans. But also the birds, bees, insects, and penguins. There is already evidence that the breakup of stable ice under their nest sites is adversely affecting the Emperor Penguins chicks in Antarctica before they developed their waterproof feathers and are able to survive in the sea. Graham Readfearn reports that Antarctica sea ice was at a record low this February 2023, following a record low the year before in 2022, and that this is shocking scientists. Without stable sea ice, baby Emperor Penguin chicks are at serious risk of dying from drowning or exposure and not reaching maturity.
Thomas Berry, quoted in Journey to Hopeful Futures: A Handbook, writes a moving poem For the Children. Berry sees the children of the world as all the children, children in the air, on the land, in the seas and human children too. He ends his poem in the hope that all the children can go into the future together. Such is the nature of Earth as Community.