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8 Comments

That climate change stuff

This time series, based on satellite data, sho...

This time series, based on satellite data, shows the annual Arctic sea ice minimum since 1979. The September 2010 extent was the third lowest in the satellite record. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Personally, I believe we are damaging our planet. I’m not here to review the MANY scientific articles on the topic – they are everywhere and almost every politician in the world has an opinion one way or the other about the scientific opinions. Then the public have opinions about the politicians’ opinions about the scientific findings/opinion/theories/hypothesises. Confused yet?

On top of that we have Carbon Prices, Emission Trading Schemes, agreements between countries to reduce emissions and so it goes on. And on.

The question for me, a non-scientist just hoping we leave a liveable planet for future generations, is more simple. I ask myself, are we damaging the planet in more ways that we are willing to recognise?

I look at what we do to sustain our materialistic lifestyle.

We raze forests, we dam rivers, we kill other living species to extinction, we dig much “stuff” (minerals, natural gas, etc) out of the ground. We destroy ecosystems and pollute our oceans and waterways. We generally talk about climate change being the result of just our emissions, but I wonder to myself, is that the only cause of damage? Are we not continuing to upset the balance of nature, the balance of the planet overall?

We drive cars massively bigger than we need, we build mansions instead of homes, we use electricity like it is as necessary as water for our survival.

We consume, consume, consume: anything and everything we can get our hands on basically.

There are SO many of us now. So very many of us. All wanting more and more and more. All this “more” has to come from somewhere!  Perhaps the planet does have built-in recovery mechanisms, but are we outpacing the recovery? We take take take.

Of course, many millions of our billions care very much and fight very hard to try to curb our damaging rampage.  Will we do it fast enough?

Update: Since I wrote my musings, I have been pointed to an article, Is placing a price on nature a betrayal or an economic necessity?  It is a good article, but I am still left thinking that prices are not going to work fast enough or be globally applied, therefore may not solve the problem.

While Juniper has in the past argued that our forests and oceans should be valued in the spiritual dimension, he has since changed his mind and now believes bringing it into economic structures is the only way to prevent further widespread ecosystem collapse and the human misery that will surely follow.

Tony Juniper was Friends of the Earth Director.

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8 comments on “That climate change stuff

  1. Hi Robyn, glad to see that you are still writing regular posts. Most of those who started a couple of years ago, have fallen by the wayside! I miss your comments on my blog (hint, hint). Back to topic… I despair sometimes at the lack of consideration people give to environmental concerns. It’s so simple to recycle, conserve energy etc. Then there are the climate change sceptics. They cherry pick research that supports their opinions, rather than looking at the whole picture with an objective mind. Then then spout their views across the internet. And so the misinformation spreads…

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    • Sorry Stewie, between work, family and the book I am so time bankrupt it isn’t funny. I will try to be better!!

      Thank you for your thoughts. Very accurate assessment of the situation, sadly!

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  2. Simple to me too.. if we don’t tread lightly on this earth, and most of us don’t, then we will destroy it. When the tipping point is reached and it will be, then people will throw their hands in the air and say why didn’t somebody do something well we are ALL the somebody and we all need to consume less, waste less NOW! each and everyone of us..

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  3. I think where we’re at with the climate is symptomatic of the human condition; we seem to have a capacity to exploit everything to the limit and beyond. After a while, the environment’s gone and that’s that. It was a strategy that probably worked when H.Sapiens was a species hovering near extinction during the last ice ages – but on larger scales it’s led to such well docmented outcomes as the salting of the old Mesopotamian farmlands and the virtual destruction of the Easter Island ecosystem. Jared Diamond has had quite a bit to say about this, and while I disagree with his determinism, he has a point. And it was OK, I guess, as long as what we were doing was small or regional scale and was somewhere else to go. But now? I fear that the planet’s kicking back – and there isn’t anywhere much left to run.

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