The End Of The World Is Nigh

Posted Saturday, December 12, 2009, 6:30 PM

I don't know much about science. I didn't pay much attention to it at school, preferring to joke around with my mates instead. I was very good at Maths, English, and Art, though, so was sort of allowed to drop the ball on other subjects as a kind of balance.

Looking back on it, I wish I had paid attention, because nowadays a lot of scientific advancements and discoveries fascinate me. Not to the point where I might have sought a career in it, but it would be good if I understood the principles or the theory behind it a little better than I do. The truth is, too much scientific gobbledegook bores me very quickly, and my brain just shuts down, pushing me away, preventing me from grasping the finer details I really feel I ought to know better than I do.

Climate Change is the biggest scientific issue that currently concerns us. It potentially could signal the death of the human race, if we mess it up. Or at least change the world to an unrecognisable state.

I was a skeptic about it for a long time, and still have some lingering doubts. When the Global Warming theory first emerged into the public consciousness, sometime in the early 90s, the computer model predicting it appeared to be only one of many possible outcomes that had been calculated, the rest not really foretelling anything too bad was happening. But the Media got a hold of the worst one, and made a meal of it, releasing the term "Global Warming" into popular culture, putting forth all sorts of misinterpreted statistics into the agenda, and generally causing a widespread panic.

Scientists were of two minds. A great number of them were skeptical, and many remain so. But there were some, most at the heart of the issue, who maintained that it fit the evidence thus far, and was worth investigating just in case.

To me, it was rather too convenient that the hippies of the previous decades who were saying "We've got to look after our world, man, it's the only one we have. Bad karma, dude. It's going to happen!" and what do you know, a decade later everything the hippies predicted, based on whatever drug-induced tree-hugging uneducated madness they were spouting, appeared to be coming true. All a bit suspicious, if you ask me.

But as time has passed, the evidence appears to be mounting, and the science seems to bear it out. Something bad is happening, and it appears to be the humans at fault.

The Earth has existed for millennia, with billions of different creatures living on it over that time, variously dominating and going extinct. The dinosaurs, in various evolved groups, were around for 250 million years, then died out for an indeterminate reason possibly related to an asteroid impact. Then 65 million years passed while mammals and birds appeared amongst the ecosystem, eventually getting to the point where Man appears on the scene. 1.5 million years later they reach a state that we would recognise as "intelligent". And 100,000 years later they decide the planet was created for them, that it was served to them on a plate, that they are the dominant force in the universe, and can therefore take everything and misuse it for their own selfish gain, while fighting off all other living beasts to the point of destruction, just to maintain their dominant position.

Humans suck.

Frankly, we deserve to die by our own hand, after our abuse of the natural world that created us. If any species deserved karma heaped upon them, it is us. And Climate Change is that karma, almost as a textbook example.

But we may be able to save ourselves. Apparently, through desperation, they think we can change some of our behaviours, and fix things. They'll never return back to the way they were before we messed everything up, but it can at least keep us, and everything else, alive for longer if we're careful and really try hard.

How do we do this monumental task?

By changing our light bulbs, and having shorter showers.

Hmm. That doesn't really sound like it would be enough.

Okay, we can also drive hybrid, or even fully electric, cars.

That sounds a little better.

Except the amount of pollution that is caused when the electricity is generated, or hydrogen cells are produced, or the cars are manufactured, outweighs any immediate benefits from the less emissions the cars produce.

It seems to me that our domestic carbon footprint is so minuscule compared to industry carbon emissions that anything we do as an individual at our home isn't going to make an impact that matters. It would take decades, possibly centuries, before we'd be in a position where what we were doing at home actually mattered in this huge issue.

But the world of Industry, which creates collectively about a bazillion times as much carbon as the whole of human domestic pollution, will not change their methodology without a fight. In order for them to do so they have to invest money, which they don't want to spend, on new technologies to develop and perfect. And their production will, in itself, create carbon emissions.

We have to make pollution to reduce pollution.

On top of that madness, the Governments have to start the ball rolling, by signing agreements, with strict rules for Industry to follow, but they're still arguing over fine details, over whether it's actually really happening, how much money they can get out of the under-the-table backroom deals, and thus watering down all the agreements. Meanwhile they continue to burn the skies with military action, greedily maintain oil-based profiteering, and relentlessly attempt to wrest control so the world can be run their way (instead of by those idiot foreign buggers).

It's a huge steaming pile of nonsense, and it will kill us all.

But perhaps that's a good thing. Perhaps we deserve it.

2 Reasoned Responses:

Dags said...

All true, and as far as the world is concerned, it's vital that we reduce our carbon emissions ... but not at the expense of making a profit!

Michi said...

I agree strongly with virtually everything you wrote! Also, have you read The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery?? In the first chapter or two he describes how over hundreds of millions of years life on this planet has acted to take CO2 out of the air and bury it in the ground. The amount has risen and fallen. Every time it fell, life flourished. Every time it rose coincided with life getting less dense.

Now we're digging it up and putting it back in the air ASAP along with some other crap. It's ridiculous!

AND YES about industry, sweet jesus don't people realise that wasting energy making sure your DVD player is off (instead of on standby) is practically counter-productive if it means Alco can continue to casually make up 1/3 of Victoria's energy usage?

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