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No Denying It, Climate Change Is Happening Now

What winter?

I suppose with all this madness, I could just throw up my hands and say, okay, I’m 66. Even if I stay really healthy and live to 100, I’m not going to have the sea at my doorstep before I kick the bucket. At least I’ll be warm and my heating bills will be manageable even on my Social Security check. But then there are my kids, and perhaps future grandchildren, and all the other young people I see running around. What about them and their future? And what about all the wonderful nature that, in all its myriad splendor and variety, has evolved over hundreds of thousands or millions of years to live in the current environment. These numberless species of flora and fauna are simply incapable of quickly evolving to be able to survive in a world that is two or even four or six degrees Celsius hotter than today. They must either move or die, and for most it will be the latter.

The world, of course, which has survived catastrophic collisions with asteroids and comets, mega eruptions of volcanos, and epic ice ages, one of which almost turned the planet into a permanent ball of ice, will survive, as will some forms of life. And life being as dogged about survival as it clearly is, it will eventually settle into some kind of new “normal,” and the process of evolution and adaptation will recreate some semblance of the magnificent diversity that the biosphere shows today. But it seems clear that the planet’s short-lived experiment with super intelligence is going to end badly.

Kurt Vonnegut, in his prophetic novel Galapagos, suggested that nature had made a wrong turn with the evolution of an overly intelligent ape. He may have been right. Or maybe the experiment just didn’t go far enough. We Homo sapiens evolved to an unprecedented level of intellect, reason and self-awareness, but we didn’t evolve far enough to get past our more animal natures. It’s one thing, for example, to defend territory when you’re a wolf pack or a cougar relying on tooth and claw, but quite another if you defend it with napalm and atomic bombs. It’s one thing to eat the bark off of a cherry tree, killing it, if you are a hungry deer trying to make it through the winter, but another if you take a chainsaw and cut down a whole forest to make houses, furniture and paper products.

Whatever, it appears increasingly unlikely that humanity will prove capable of confronting and addressing the self-destructive climate-change catastrophe that it has created. In that case, perhaps the best response remaining is to adopt the attitude Vonnegut expressed earlier in his weird autobiographical novel Slapstick! Confronted by the painful realities of life, Vonnegut (who as a prisoner of war in Dresden, which was pummeled and burned to the ground days of bombing with high explosives and incendiary bombs dropped by British and US bomber squadrons, experienced mankind at its worst), offered up his response to the insanity: a simple “hi-ho.”

So, Hi-ho...?



story | by Dr. Radut