So what’s all this I hear about Global Warming and climate change eh?
It’s a big issue at the moment and I want to be careful about not getting emotionally wrapped up in the debate. It seems to me that there are a number of questions that need answering and there seem to be a number of answers flying around. I think I’ve figured out the questions that need to be answered, and there’s one there that no one seems to have raised.
1. Is the Earth getting warmer?
Apparently yes. While some parts of the globe are getting cooler and some research points to some temperatures dropping slightly recently, most scientists seem to be of the opinion that the globe is heating.
2. Is this normal?
The Earth was warmer 1000 years ago, We appear to be still emerging from a mini Ice Age, and vast changes in temperatures are a mainstay of the planet’s history. The only problem is this, There appears to be no evidence that any of these historic changes occurred as quickly or as drastically as the recent changes on our planet.
3. Are humans responsible?
Humans release more Carbon into the environment than a hundred volcanoes. There’s no denying that combined we can make slight changes to the basic makeup of the globe. There’s a lot of us. A shit load. 6.2 billion and we use up energy. There’s no way around that. And if we’re not digging that energy out of the ground, we’re sucking it out of the air system, or leeching it from the heat that’s been hitting the face face of the Earth all this time.
Solar power? You need silicon for that. Do you dig it off the beaches and deserts destroying ecosystems? Do you put up thousands of windmills and take all that energy from the Earth’s weather systems? Isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid? Changing the climate?
Our effect on the planet changes the air, the water, the soil. Tiny changes here (relatively speaking) can create powerful changes like the infamous ’quantum butterfly’ that flaps it’s wings in Tokyo and causes flooding in New York.
4. Can humans stop it?
That is to say. One human can’t stop it. One human can convince another human of the problem and make inconsequentially small changes to their daily imprint on the problem. Two humans can tell four humans. More humans can tell more humans. But, just like you can’t directly influence New York’s weather with a butterfly farm in Japan, You can’t make direct changes to human nature.
Most of the world’s population isn’t worried about climate change. Are they selfish? Are they greedy? No, they’re starving to death. They’re worried about earning a pittance to feed and cloth their family. If you gave them a choice between $5 and $5 worth of reducing their carbon footprint, I think it’s obvious which way they’re going to go. Humanity isn’t like a club. It’s not a group that can be convinced by one charismatic guy.
Ants are dumb. They don’t know much; They have little brains. Their brain makes then do very simple thing. If there’s food, make a scent and grab the food. If it’s cold, Move a grain of sand. Thousands of ants, thousands of instinctual decisions make for an ant colony where food comes in, the air temperature is maintained using complex ducting. The queen is guarded by just the right amount of soldiers.
No ant decided to do this. No ant is this smart. It just happens like it happens. Humanity is very similar. We’re each driven by our goals. Food, shelter, sleep, procreation. Once these are fulfilled we get confused and start lusting after iPods and LCD Widescreen TVs.
We also like to help others. It’s helped our species get to where it is. Unlike lions and bears, we’ve benefited from keeping others around and using our developed brains to trade information and grow. Now there are billions of us and we shuffle around the globe like a giant ant colony, moving grains of sand. Grabbing bits of food. Buying iPods.
Humanity is like one big organism. Individual ideals can’t direct it. They can try, and they may well have some effect, but it won’t be directly relational to the initial decision.
5. So what should I do?
I dunno. Go with the flow? Fight against human nature? But remember that you’re fighting against the gigantic selfish, termite mound that is ourselves combined.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to put the recycling out while I think about the most effective way to solve the problem.
Make fewer humans maybe?
Now what’s an effective way to make less humans?
posted at 1:02 am Saturday March 03 2007