This is a quick blog post following up my tweet here.
It might seem like a radical perspective, but what I'm really doing is challenging our traditional view. Before I turn the view upside down, what do I understand that traditional view to be?
- Global warming is BAD (for humans, the environment, life)
- That we (humans) caused it.
- There's a sense of guilt (the elephant in the room) around the topic of global warming and climate change.
- There's a sense of urgency, as if we don't do something immediately, all is lost.
- There's this (stupid red herring) argument about whether climate change is actually happening, whether scientists evidence is valid.
- Values and beliefs are drug into this debate as well - it's science vs religion in the boxing ring.
- Global warming will kill the earth
For the record, I am comfortable with the scientific evidence showing a warming earth; but I really don't care.
Because I take a very long term view. (Longer than the Long Now Foundation.)
We see this problem only from a human/known life/so called earth/global view.
I think it's a little audacious to think us puny humans are going to do something so dramatic as to KILL THE EARTH?!?! Now, what global warming may do is make the environment inhabitable for human and other current life as we know it. (Past science shows our climate has not always been hospitable for the kind of life that exists today.)
But in the scheme of the universe - a universal timescale - maybe we puny humans are a mere blip. Who really cares whether we live or die? (Except us.) I don't have the kind of preciousness or urgency around this topic.
I don't have much love for the human species, even being part of it, so I frankly don't care whether we live or die. When I bubble this thinking up to life in general, I take a stronger interest. I would be seriously bummed if all life went away, ceased to exist - but that's going to happen at some point anyway, so why cry about a certain possibility? (OK, you're right, it's not a certain possibility.) The bummer for me about all life as we know it ceasing - is that then life has to start over from scratch again to do whatever it's unfolding itself to do. But life has a lot of time to develop itself, so what do I know as a puny human blip.
In my mind, the only reason global warming is a potential problem is that it might wipe out all life.
But I don't actually think that is a real possibility.
It's because life is resilient. Sure, the environment might shift so that lots of living things die. Bummer for those things. But life will continue on, in some form. It will evolve. Who knows to what?! Maybe something more awesome-better-creative-cool-new.
So now that you know where I stand, I'll share my flipped view of global warming.
I was reading/watching this article/video, sent to the WFSF (World Futures Studies Federation) listserv. It's going on and on about the very real problems of permafrost melting, glaciers melting and how this is a reinforcing feedback loop to increase warming. I totally get it. It's a big problem if you want the world to stay the same.
Watching this, fresh in my mind is a presentation/paper I wrote about BIG PROBLEMS FACING HUMANITY. The usual suspects: global warming, resource limits.
And all I could think watching that video was - AWESOME - more fresh water (solve your fresh water problem - lots of fresh pure melting ice caps!) and more land mass (manifest destiny Antarctica!). I could see, that rather than cold, white caps, verdant green fields of farms and towns. It's not that far-fetched! Forget about Mars, Antarctica is right here.
Hell, we might even find something crazy and mindboggling in the melting ice! Things revealed that we might never know if we hadn't turned on the global hairdryer. Where are the scientists and entrepreneurs to catch this fresh water melt off before it goes into the ocean? Opportunities!
Now, as I said in the first sentence, I know this is a radical perspective. I don't actually think anyone would back it up. And I'm not saying that we should stop doing anything to reduce our impact on the climate. But I am asking us to challenge our usual thinking.
We look at this situation as if we (humans) are separate from climate. We're two sides of the same coin. The (previous) climate contributed to the creation of us, just as we changed the climate.
I'm saying, shake up your thinking! Get out of your usual paradigms of thinking.