Monday, August 01, 2005

Casual conversations

I am often shocked and appalled by the concensus among lay people that global warming is a dire threat to humankind and that we must do all we can to prevent the globe from heating up. Some people soften when I engage in debate, others simply don't want to listen.

The problem appears to lie within the confusion between "saving the planet" and doing the right things in order to sustain life. There is no doubt that fossil fuels are being consumed at a very rapid rate (though the doom and gloom surrounding running out of oil has yet to be predicted correctly). There is also no doubt that we are shockingly bad at packaging products with the resulting waste that goes to our landfills. There is no doubt that much of industry, if left alone, would probably continue to pollute in Victorian style.

Somewhere along the way, the global warming is bad for the planet syndrome has taken over more common sense approaches and now the only way to save the planet is to try to control its temperature! I'm all for the common sense approach to restraint on packaging, pollution controls, economical clean engines, and so on. But I also know that we are going to have to live with whatever comes along, be it an Ice Age or a burst of sunspot activity. Change is, as Darwin demonstrated, a good thing: it's probably why we evolved so rapidly into standing, thinking, communicating creatures. And now we are bent on defeating the process by thinking we can control the process.

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