Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sending Out An SOS (Save Our Species)

I participated in an interesting thread on FaceBook lately. My friend Sally had reposted one of my posts on a piece about the disappearing glaciers of Kilimanjaro. One of her friends had responded by calling bullshit on global warming. The exchange went back and forth and a number of other people stuck in their two cents, but in the end, it was essentially a conversation between me and another gentleman who does not believe that manmade CO2 emissions are something we should be particularly concerned with. He did not believe that science has enough evidence to call manmade CO2 a culprit in global climate change, or that it even exists, and he was adamantly against any government regulation to limit those emissions. His point was that we simply do not know enough about how things work to make a judgment call. We argued passionately back and forth, and in the end neither of us really changed our position much. We both still believe strongly that the other is wrong.

As a result however, I did come to realize, both through his arguments and some other things I have come to understand lately, that one thing is certain, and perhaps it is good news. We do not need to save our planet. In spite of years of arguments by treehuggers and conservatives, naysayers and doomsayers, recyclers and political extremists, pundits, hippies, weirdoes, whackos, and those that just want to cash in on a buck no matter which side they are on, rejoice in the fact that there is no doubt, THE PLANET IS GOING TO BE OK!!

One of the main points the gentleman I sparred with appeared to be making was that there have been plenty of periods on this planet when things were warmer or colder, or wetter or drier, or maybe just full of a lot more dinosaurs than we seem to have today. But the point is, things change and Mother Earth really doesn’t give a damn. She likes trilobites and dinosaurs just as much as whales and humans. However She also doesn’t really give a hoot when She decides to sentence one of us to extinction either. As it turns out, She likes Asteroids and Ice Ages, Global Warming and perhaps even Nuclear War, just as well. She will simply, through the process of evolution and adaptation, adjust the life forms to fit the current situation on the planet accordingly.

Now, this all works fine and good, unless you happen to be one the life forms slated for extinction. I am sure that if the Dinosaurs had had their druthers, they would have continued to rule the earth for another 500 million years. We on the other hand, apparently being the one of the first species on this planet which actually has a choice, appear to be generally unconcerned about Mother Earth’s possible rejection of our species in the not too distant future. The fact that we may have elected to take most other major life forms with us in this mad dash for extinction doesn’t really matter to Her either.

So, my point is that both we and Al Gore can totally relax. The planet will be just fine. Hotter, colder, drier, wetter, bombarded by cosmic rays, or covered in ice, She will survive. The question we must ask ourselves, and be darn glad that we actually can, is if whether or not We and many other life forms will survive and more importantly if We really care.

Our history and religions tell us that we seem to think we hold some special place in the Universe. If this is the case, we need to be working on our placeholder if we intend on staying there. You can bet that if the Dinosaurs had seen headlines in stone tabloids that screamed “Killers Asteroids Headed Toward Earth” they would only have turned away and continued to devour other life forms. We on the other hand can at least look at the large body of scientific data that is being generated and decide. Will we open our eyes and look at global climate change as the asteroid that may be bearing down on us, or will we go on consuming the natural resources and other life forms around us until our fate slams into the planet like a runaway train. Most dinosaurs had brains barely large enough to support their life systems. We on the other hand appear to have been blessed with an incredible quest for knowledge and new technology. In the end however, perhaps it will be the dinosaurs that were blessed. As the world around them changed irreversibly, they simply looked up and perhaps thought “strange weather we’re having”.

So,we all need to make a choice. Will you do what you can to help save not the planet, but our species, or will you bury your head in the piles of garbage we are creating until Mother Earth decides she is done with us and sends us to the trash heap of evolution. Personally I shouldn’t really have much reason to give a damn. I have no children, and the world I hand off to the next generation is their problem, not mine or my progeny. But much like the Lakota Indians we met on this trip, we believe in the circle of life. Kate & I both have nieces and nephews that are every much as part of our families as children might be and I think we owe it to them to try and do something. I suspect however that many of you may have children or grandchildren or hopefully someday great grandchildren of your own and that you might have a hard time explaining your apathy to or downright disdain of the increasing evidence for man-made global climate change to them. “What did you do Grandpa” they will ask as the world that supports their life changes around them. And just like the War in Viet Nam that my generation suffered through, I will be able to say “I fought. Not in the war, but against it. And I’m proud.” What will you say?

No comments:

Post a Comment