Thursday, 15 October 2009

Is it just me, or is it getting warm?

I feel very mixed about climate change, global warming or whatever the media insist on calling it these days.

You see, whatever we do, planet Earth will survive. Yes, you heard me correctly, the Earth will survive. Drive your gas guzzling four wheel drive. Leave the TV on standby all night. Buy big lovely instant-on tungsten filament bulbs - 100w are best. Use them 24/7, even if it is blazing sunlight outside. Leave the air-con on maximum even when you're on holiday. Burn down the rain forests. Burn down all the bloody forests. The Earth will survive.

It's all happened before. There were big lumbering creatures with brains in their heads and bums with fantastic latin names - that's how old they were. They weren't too quick at making decisions, not that it really mattered, there were no decisions they could have made that would have made any difference. The climate changed, they died out and something small and fluffy took their place. The Earth survived.

I wonder whether our activity, however dire, compares with that of mother nature herself. Do we produce enough exhaust out of the back of our cars to equal one decent volcanic eruption? Add onto that the burning of fossil fuels - are we there yet? Plus herds of farting dairy cows - is that enough? Actually it doesn't matter - our car gasses, cow gasses, fossil fuel burning, tree chopping mania only has to push towards the tipping point. Our activity plus a good volcanic eruption and we're overbalanced. The Earth will survive.

Of course, we think much faster than the dinosaurs, but not en-mass. Humans can be really clever - look at the computers, medicine, astronomy, art, literature, music and particle physics. Each of these areas is advanced by people thinking by themselves or in very small groups contributing to the knowledge. It's when we try to think and make decisions together it all goes horribly wrong. Look at any government. Look at the United Nations. Sit on any committee. Participate in a decision making meeting. See what I mean - in groups humans are ponderous and stupid. So are we going to think our way out of this one? I doubt it very much. Never mind, the Earth will survive.

Unfortunately, it is likely the Earth will survive without us. I have a daughter. I don't want her generation to have a bad time. I don't want her children or her children's children to be the last of our kind. So I want to try my best to stop the Earth from reaching the tipping point and tipping us off. Let's do our best to push the ponderous and stupid, whom we seem to have put in charge, to fix things. And while we're doing that, lets do the best we can ourselves.


  1. Excellent point! The earth will survive, but that doesn't help us too much... it would be nice to leave it a better place than we found it. For our kids' sakes and all.

  2. It would be nice to leave the world better than we found it. I hope we do, I shall try, but I hold out very little hope.

  3. If you'll excuse a moment of head-up-arse-edness...

    It's like Franz Kafka said, "There is always hope. Except for Man."

  4. "It's when we try to think and make decisions together it all goes horribly wrong." well said.

    i've been doing my part for longer than i can remember and i say as soon as those you can do better preachers stop spewing jet fuel across my sky to get their message out i might think about listening.

    Al Gore, meet Jimmy Carter.

  5. not to be too cynical but even if we do everything we should, and I think we should, in all likelihood the earth will go on without us anyway. We will have a moment here on earth and then it will be another creatures turn. Hopefully it won't happen for a while.

  6. "We will have a moment here on earth and then it will be another creatures turn"
    Another creatures turn? Made from alloys? Think in binary? Made in our own image? Thats just crazy talk... isn't it?

  7. We humans are very clever as you say- and the position we are in is the direct result of our big brains. After all, we created this. Smart people with degrees created this. For all our intelligence and education and brainpower, we have not learned to live in harmony with the natural world. That is because, sadly, it is not what we have valued. Until now. And, you are right. Now it's too little. Too late.


Comments are always appreciated