by Steve Cook
It is very difficult to establish with an certainty what exactly is happening to the climate and to what degree whatever it is that is happening is affected by human activity, especially when viewed in a long-term historical context.
If you look at the graph above, which shows temperatures for the Northern Hemisphere over the past two thousand years, you will see that there have been periodic periods of warming and cooling, which given the human population and level of technology at the time, could not have been affected by us humans. Something else caused these periods of warming and cooling and they were a natural cycle.
Of course, if you go even further back to the Ice Age and even earlier there were periods when the planet were MUCH cooler and MUCH warmer than it is today.
You will also see from the graph that the current warming cycle began around 1700 AD after a long period of cooling stretching back to the height of the medieval warm period 700 years earlier. The current warming period began BEFORE the industrial revolution.
This suggests then that either (a) the current warming period -which seems to have halted over the past ten years or so – is entirely natural and nothing to do with human activity or (b) human activity is having some kind of influence on an underlying natural cycle.
What does not seem to have been established beyond dispute is HOW MUCH or THE DEGREE TO WHICH human activity is affecting a natural cycle. It could be negligible or it could by a lot.
The science is very far from settled. There seems to be a large degree of disagreement among scientists as to what our situation is exactly, which suggests there are too many unkowns, arbitraries or lies in the equation.
So we have these two extremes.
On the one hand, there is the idea that there is nothing wrong at all; industrialisation, the population explosion and so forth are having no impact whatever on the planet and we can go on burning fossil fuels, pillaging the environment, driving SUVs and juggernauts about, spilling oil on the high seas, stripping the planet of its forests until the cows come home with no ill effects.
That’s one extreme. The other extreme is the notion that we have totally wrecked the planet, which will become as uninhabitable as the surface of ruddy Venus within a few years or some such thing.
The truth of course probably lies between these two extremes, but where? I’m buggered if I know and I suspect nobody else knows either.
Climate changes for instance, apparently nowhere near as extreme as claimed by some, yet real enough, could all be explained by the natural cycle I mentioned earlier. They COULD be, but that does not necessarily mean they ARE.
Extreme scaremongering about Global warming by the likes of Al Gore that scared the bejeesus out of my kids when they were at school with predictions of melting ice caps, dead polar bears, drowned cities and so forth doesn’t cut it. Most of the predictions of Gore et al have not transpired. In fact, with the now-exposed Carbon Credits scam (that apparently made Gore and other capitalists very rich, held back the efforts of the Third World to modernise and so forth) reveals the motives behind that effort by the Merchants of Doom.
What happened essentially was that the global warming scamsters hijacked the natural, healthy and reasoned concern of millions of people about their environment.
The desire to care for and safeguard the natural environment – the other species with which we share the planet and with whose survival our own is inexorably intertwined, the air that we and our children and children’s children need to breathe and so on – is a healthy one. Our optimum survival depends on us operating on long-term survival concepts. Ensuring the planet stays in good health in perpetuity is a long term survival concept.
In other words, the ability to THINK FUTURES is a survival point. The problem is that our lives are dominated by governments and corporations that do not or cannot deal in long-term survival concepts, or if to some degree they do, they cannot do it in a broad enough spectrum to take into account the interdependency of the myriad individuals, groups, communities and indeed species of which the global community of life is composed. They are currently simply not rigged to think futures in this way – or at least the individuals making their policies aren’t – unless you count planning the next war or coup or shutting down democracy before the riff-raff storm the proverbial Bastille with pitchforks . Constructive and embracive pro-survival planning for the decades ahead and for future generations is beyond them.
This inevitably leads to a degree of frustration and fear, and in turn a degree of panic. On the one hand you have the Merchants of Doom telling us how we are all going to die unless we immediately mend our ways and on the other a power elite that is incapable of mending its ways or helping us amend ours. Instigating the aforementioned carbon credits scam or using our fears as an excuse to raise taxes don’t count.
But blind complacency is no good either. VIGILANCE is another powerful pro-survival trait.
Regardless of what the truth if the matter is regarding climate change, it IS desirable that we continue to search for and develop ways to be nicer to the planet. It is reasonable to assume that if proceed willy nilly with no concern for our impact upon the environment, if we just assume the planet will remain forever impervious to the various slings and arrows of outrageous human pillage, then sooner or later – if we have not already – we are going to come a cropper.
The fact that we are not all going to die tomorrow and we have not yet totally wrecked our planet is no reason not to give a toss. The fact, if true, that we are not yet in a life or death situation is no reason whatever to wait until we are in a life or death situation before we start taking care of the planet.
It is more optimum – and less stressful – to AVERT an emergency by taking the right actions now than blindly waiting for an emergency to pounce on us before we do something.
It is for instance no good waiting until one is drowning before learning to swim. It is better to learn to swim so that one is never in danger of drowning; or it would be stupid to wait until the lounge is on fire before installing a smoke alarm or sprinklers . . .well, you get the point.
And taking the right action must include the correct estimation of the effort needed to achieve the desired result. To take a crude example: planting a thousand trees (one tree for every seven million people) to save the planet is all very lovely but it won’t achieve a result. But planting a hundred million (one for every 70 people) might.
The underlying truth here is that it is far more optimum survival-wise to think futures and to PREDICT. Emergencies are caused by a failure to predict.
One good thing that the scaremongering by some has done is that it has driven an effort to find alternatives, to plant trees and so on. And it has galvanised a grass roots movement that can force governments to do something – or at least not get in the way of those who are.
In point of fact I am being unfair when I use the term “scaremongering.” It applies to some but by no means to everyone in the environmental movement. For many with genuine concerns and a genuine desire to ensure the survival of the present and future human community it has been necessary to scream one’s head off just to get anyone to pay freakin’ attention.
We err of course if we wait for government to do something. If we leave it to governments we wind up with the Carbon Credits scam and very little meaningful action. Governments will tend not to do anything – at least not anything desirable – unless there is a demand from the people. We see this, by way of an example, with the UK government’s pledge of £10 million to plant 100, 000 trees in urban areas. This is great but I doubt even this would have happened had not there been grass roots pressure from the people.
The action, the innovations, initiatives and ingenuity all come from the grass roots and always will, for it is at the grass roots that true power and true creative energy lie. In other words, WITH YOU. You are the most potent force for change there is.
In terms of how we treat our planet and the impact thereof upon our immediate- and long-term survival, there is another underlying principle here and that is:
HUSBANDRY IS SENIOR TO PILLAGE
The dictionary defines husbandry as
1a: the cultivation or production of plants or animals
1b: the scientific control and management of a branch of farming and especially of domestic animals
2: the control or judicious use of resources
3 archaic : the care of a household.
We need a new paradigm, a new concept of ourselves as a human community and of governance that can think in and enact upon long-term survival concepts and which assists rather than inhibits the massive untapped reservoir of human creativity.
We need to grow from the grass roots a new civilisation based upon Reason and the concept of global husbandry, driven by the survival dynamic of our species.
Like I said, husbandry is senior to pillage.
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