Chris Knight on Global Warming

I know that in my lifetime I have witnessed changes in the weather and environment. I know that something is changing fast. The speed of the change is accelerated far and above the geological records of other changes, save for the sudden changes associated with a certain large meteor crater in Arizona.

Do I think that Mankind has the power and collective ignorance to wipe itself off the face of the planet? Yes, I do.

Do I think that Global Warming will wipe out all life on this planet? Not in the least. The Middle East, and even Utah, was once a lush tropical forest. The Earth was teeming with life then, just not the mammalian life we prefer. There was a lot more free water then, and lately that water has been chillin’ at the poles waiting for a comeback. When the waters rise, Life on this planet will not end; but it will get pretty damn uncomfortable for Man.

Do I think that Mankind has the power and collective view to change the trend of warming? Yes, I do; provided they feel scared enough. Until then, they will sit by and let the world burn as long as the images on the television still show clear skies and bikini clad women on the beach.

A comparison has been drawn to global warming and the hole in the ozone layer. We stopped the growth of the ozone hole, and it has started to close up. This may be our one and only shining success story, if we keep up our pace. If only this current threat were as easy to solve. The government solved the ozone problem for the people, by passing regulations limiting the use of ozone depleting chemicals. Nobody really cared what propellant was used in their deodorant as long as it worked. None of the businesses that used those chemicals formed enough of an industry block to influence our politicians; and jaded as I am, I think that at the time those regulations were passed our government was not corrupt to the level it is now. Now the culprit is the product of one of the largest industries in the world, and the money made and squandered by that industry can buy a lot of blindness. It will take a lot of fear to overcome the collective blindness and willful ignorance.

In case you are wondering, I have more ‘faith in life’ than I have in Mankind, and I have a very strange view of the future compared to most people. I don’t actually care if Mankind wipes itself out. On a personal scale I will mourn if people I care about are harmed by the fate we bring upon ourselves, but if I think about the race as a whole I can’t help but see a bigger picture. Life on this planet has survived cataclysmic change. The dinosaurs were wiped out, and mammals got their time. Perhaps we will wipe ourselves out, and the sea otters will finally get their chance. At the rate we are trying to play gods it could just as well be with a genetically engineered retro-virus that cures cancer and later mutates into a disease as much as it could be our own carelessness with the environment. If the end of Man is reached, I would only be bothered if we took all Life out with us. I can contemplate the fate of Man as long as I can still imagine that Life continues in our wake. So far this is the only planet we know beyond a shadow of a doubt to have life, and as long as that Life continues I am at peace.

True Life is variety. While I think we could wipe out the planet if we tried, I think that in our ignorance we will only wipe out ourselves and that new Life will rise up to replace us. Such it will be until our sun explodes, and even then who knows what space microbes might thrive on the shattered remains of the Earth.

That’s kind of cool, really. We are all made of Stardust. Right now we are just dust on the wind. Someday we will be dust on the solar wind. 🙂

I am certainly not advocating that Global Warming should be ignored because I’m good at contemplating my navel and seeing the Universe beyond us. Quite the contrary, we owe it to ourselves and out children to undo the damage we have wrought. But, let’s be honest, it’s not to save all life on planet Earth. It’s to save our own asses, which should be enough reason in itself.


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