Sunday, July 20, 2008

We Can Solve It and Warm as the New Status Quo

I haven't checked out either what T. Boone Pickens is proposing on energy (I've just seen his TV commercial suggesting we can do a lot with renewables like wind power) nor have I checked out, the new effort from Al Gore (but I caught part of his speech to the NetRoots Nation conference on CSPAN), but I like that these things are popping up and gaining some traction. Would it be catastrophic if half of Florida ended up slowly submerging under water, or if upstate New York had milder winters? Probably not, the Earth has changed climates and surface area over the millenia a bunch of times, and we'll adapt. But we risk a collapse of our society and a slip into pestilence and feudalism; into disease and subsistence living rather than the society of opportunity that we have now, where many people can live long, safe, healthy lives in the pursuit of their own fulfillment, if we don't handle the energy situation and its fallout into food production and climate change.

I saw this article on the tenuousness of ice at the north pole. I already know that my children are growing up when there was always an Internet, when everyone has a phone, and most people have one on their belt or in their purse; when there is air-conditioning if it's hot out and heat if it's cold and cars and planes take us everywhere. I knew that technology was ubiquitous. But I also thought that they would grow up with basically the same planet as I did. But it seems that now it may be the easiest way for my kids to get to the North Pole is to just take a boat -- no dog sleds or snowmobiles needed, just sail up there and watch the sun circle around you. And that there will be no snow in Africa, not even on Kilimanjaro. I've lived half as long at this point as my maternal grandmother lived, and she saw the growth of the automobile and the birth of the airplane and television and, toward the end, the Internet. I didn't think I would be, but I may be in for a span just as wide.

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