January 02, 2008

So, What's One Degree Matter?

Sometimes, people are idiots.

Other times, it's just assumed we're idiots.

And sometimes we suffer outrage fatigue and simply give up caring about whatever it is people are screaming at us this week.

But one of the great examples of the former is the way some folks react to what's happening in the environment. I don't just mean the energy companies that actively cast doubt on global warming (in some cases using the same "scientists" the tobacco companies used to deny those deliciously carcinogenic tubes), or the governments that refuse to apply any kind of environmental consideration to their economic development. They've made their choices, and they chose money over life. So it goes.

No, I mean the folks who happily bob along like lobsters in a pot, scoffing at anyone who finds it a bit warm ("And hey? Why are our hands tied?") and mocking them for being such pansies.

The tragic thing is that we, the human species, are astoundingly adaptable. We will live in the most nightmarish conditions if that is all that's left to us. We live everywhere from barren mountain ranges to arctic tundra to blistering desert. Whatever we do to this planet, we'll survive it.

The only real question to ask is: Will we want to?

From Wired magazine:

"In interviews Albrecht conducted over the past few years, scores of Australians described their deep, wrenching sense of loss as they watch the landscape around them change. Familiar plants don't grow any more. Gardens won't take. Birds are gone. "They no longer feel like they know the place they've lived for decades," he says.

Albrecht believes that this is a new type of sadness. People are feeling displaced. They're suffering symptoms eerily similar to those of indigenous populations that are forcibly removed from their traditional homelands. But nobody is being relocated; they haven't moved anywhere. It's just that the familiar markers of their area, the physical and sensory signals that define home, are vanishing. Their environment is moving away from them, and they miss it terribly."

Yes, little lobster, it is just one degree... at a time.

I only wish I wasn't in the pot with you.

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posted by Thursday at 11:29 pm


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