I refer to our fear, assigned guilt and attempt to curb climate change. It is impractical, and ultimately useless. I realize this subject is controversial (and I have expectations of being called several unflattering this with this post), but I think we need a paradigm shift in our perspecticve to react to it in a manner that will facilitate human survival, and when it comes right down to it, that is, and must be, our primary concern.
First, let us establish a few facts. Every major extinction event is associated with climate change, regardless of whether the trigger was terrestial or extra terrestial in orgin the results are the same. Another fact is that the earth’s climate has always been in a constant state of flux and this is probably as important to life itself as it is to the processes of evolution. Another fact is the doubt regarding the association between human activity and current global trends, such as evidence indicating the current warming trend begain 15 000 years ago, evidence the world has been hotter during the vast majority of its history, evidence co2 levels were between 2-8 times higher during the time of the dinosaurs, and the sheer complexity of the global climate and our incomplete understanding of the same is enough to doubt in itself. When people are fixated on the idea that 100 years is a long time they accept graphs that go back 200 years as proof, and seem to lose sight of the fact that life has been living in the atmosphere above water for 425 000 000 years. It may be an interesting subject for study or discourse, but is not relevent to our immidiate concern; surviving global climate changes.
Hypothetical question; what if we manage to stop all emissions of human produced gases associated with greenhouse effects, manage to (impossible as it is) completely eliminate our effect on the enviroment, and it continues to change? What if we cannot directly affect climate change, and it is either already out of control or caused by as-of-yet undiscovered factors? Will anything we are doing now about climate change actually help our survival? Would any advances made in reducing our atmospheric impact directly help surviving an active disaster? What if we cannot stop it?
Every step we are taking, few and painful as they are, is completely dependant on our presumption that human activity is the root cause of, and can prevent, the apparant global warming acceleration. The arrogance of that notwithstanding, it has precluded any discussion relating to how to survive a change that is occuring outside of our control. We need to consider the possibility that we do not yet have the capacity to intentionally control a system as large, complex and transitional as the earth’s climate, and think more about how to survive it no matter what it does. The answer seems obvious to me, but I see no effort by any government in the direction I think we need to go.
Don’t misunderstand, I am in no way advocating we stop concerning ourselves with our enviromental effect; man is one of the greatest forces of nature and so will always have an effect, nor that we should continue pumping toxins into our atmosphere, I think our dependancy on fossil fuels is as misplaced and self destructive as our dependancies on systems that rely on human inequality to function (if everyone has what they wanted and needed, capitolism dies). Notice the greatest obstacle to alternative fuels is not technological, but economic? What I am advocating that we try to find a solution that will work even if we are wrong about the cause of the problem we are currently faced. Not only would that be more managable, and realistic, it may also be able to involve the public in a way that does not consist of assertions regarding personal limitations, guilt, and may even help the depression caused by all these messages of gloom and doom that has been measured in many people.
We need to worry about saving humanity, the planet is beyond our control to destroy or save. There is nothing humans can do (as of yet) that could actually destroy the planet, even if we could kill much of the life on it by, say, detonating all human nuclear weapons at once the planet would remain and life would regrow. And if we lack the capacity to destroy it, we certainly lack the capacity to save it. (destruction is always easier). But saving humanity is within our capability… at least, we need to proceed with that assumption.