Sunday, June 25, 2017

Deal with it.

Who cares if Climate Change is man made?  That Diesel already left the barn. Regardless if you think humans changed the weather to our disadvantage the question remains can we change the weather to our advantage? Weather patterns which threaten the basics of breathable air, potable water, and fertile soil mean we need to adapt or die.  Sure, we all die, but a planet wide event means more than my death or your death - it endangers us as a species. Extinction doesn’t target by political ideology, nationality, or religion. Evolution doesn’t care about the deck chairs on the Titanic. Iceberg ahead. Deal with it.

We’re good at adapting.  I remember the threat of worldwide famine in the 60’s and 70’s- miracle rice got us out of that one. You can go into the DNA record and trace our current population to about 1000 individuals. We might be able to blame that on a super volcano. Pretty good comeback to 7 billion in mere 70,000 years if I do say so myself. The drought of 4000 years ago burnt walled cities to the ground but produced a lighter fast sailing society based on pillaging and global trade. Global trade facilitated pandemics from plague to influenza and yet here we still are with antibiotics and immunization systems. There have been a lot of “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” moments. 

Perhaps you think that weather is too large a challenge? After all adapting to weather is different than micro managing weather. We manage weather on small scale inside our greenhouses and homes but can we motivate the hive mind to tackle it on a large scale?

As a species we have a unique advantage.  We’ve sped up DNA the transfer of multigenerational memory with one spectacular invention : writing. Our knowledge, our observations, our successes and failures can be recorded and passed from generation to generation. Yes, we have destroyed libraries and wiped out databases but somehow we always search to rebuild that knowledge. It is a deep human need to learn from our past, imagine different futures, and pass that on to the next generation. Can we learn from our past to recognize a threat and use our imagination to craft a solution?

Cassandra or Chicken Little? I’d love to be wrong and the sky is not falling, the icecaps are not melting, desertification isn’t increasing, microbursts aren’t happening, February wasn’t a month of snowmelt, and the songbirds haven’t left my balcony.  Cassandra’s prophecies were spot on and her reward was to be mocked, ignored and murdered. Nope, rather not be Cassandra.  I’d much rather we thought of ourselves as  a team and worked together to sustain ourselves on our home planet.

(bonus podcast on evolution : David Sloan Wilson)