“Did you feel you were tricked by the future you picked?” ~ Peter Gabriel
I was set to write a post about gross inequality, but I had a
dream nightmare last night about the end of the world as we humans know it. Remember the monkey wrench I wrote about recently? If the pervasive mindset amongst our leaders and society at large is that we can continue growing the economy, using the environment as a sink for our waste, and that our burning of the planet’s fossil fuels has no effect on the thin atmospheric skin covering the earth, all other issues of social injustice become meaningless. All the magnificent art, music, scientific breakthroughs, and intellectual writings of our species will be swept away like dust mites before a broom. With the pick of Paul Ryan as VP, you can disregard what King Romney, aka Mr. etch-a-sketch, said about climate change. The interdependence of industrial civilization with fossil fuels is an unbreakable bond that overrides all other human concerns including the very hospitableness of the planet for our species.
Humans are now burning more than 1 million tons of coal, oil, and natural gas every hour.
Copernicus at his blog Brane Space has just posted an essay which should give you pause for what havoc we are unleashing by our insatiable appetite for the carbon energy we dig up and suck out of the Earth. In addition to the references cited by Copernicus, I want to mention an article written a couple of years ago in the online German publication of Die Welt which reported on the discussions at a scientific conference in Aussois, France concerning the planet Venus. They determined that the hellish planet of Venus was much more similar to Earth than previously thought. Their conclusions were based on high-tech measurements and analysis from the European Venus Express, launched in 2005.
Venus in the past may have been very similar to Earth – with oceans – and even life. Then the climate changed, and the planet turned into red-hot desolation.
…it is a prime example of a runaway greenhouse effect that may have started in a way that is feared to be now taking place on Earth.
Due to its thick cloud cover, only 20% of the solar energy reaches the planet’s surface. This 20%, however, cannot be radiated back into space because of Venus’s dense atmosphere, and thus leads to enormous heating of the planet.
…The manmade pollution of the Earth’s atmosphere – warns a majority of climatologists – could also lead to a runaway situation whose final result would be what we have on Venus today.
Scientists have been studying other planets like Venus, Mars and Jupiter for some time now and have come to the overall conclusion that huge consequences for a planet’s climate from feedbacks like the greenhouse effect is “not a mere speculative theory. It was an observation of real events.” Man’s hubris and power of self-deception know no bounds. The Earth cannot be shoehorned into man’s fabricated economy of endless growth and infinite money printing. The crutches of religion and technology will quickly wither when we are faced with catastrophic planetary tipping points.
As Copernicus observes in his latest post How Did a Once ‘Good’ Planet Go Bad?:
It is clear that learning the object lesson of what happened to our neighbor planet can have mighty consequences to what may befall our own (though admittedly not from the same causes)….Perhaps we need to pay much more attention to our own planet and especially its carbon load and carbon footprint made by each of us, lest we hasten our path to becoming another Venus. Why do good planets go bad? Maybe because natural conditions incite the bad effects in the first place, or…..maybe a resident species aids and abets the natural causes by consuming too much of the wrong form of energy!