Tuesday, February 9, 2016

OMG! Climate Change!

To hear the prophets of climate change, we should all run for the hills. The ocean levels are rising at an alarming rate. Soon we will find our coastal cities underwater. Massive droughts will destroy all our crops. We will be unable to prevent the end of civilization as we know it. Something must be done immediately!

Polar bears will forget how to swim. 

Penguins will have to learn how to farm.

And this will all happen so suddenly, so without warning, that if we don't do something now it will sneak up on us and there will be nothing we can do to stop it. We are at a tipping point!

Apparently, we are incapable of dealing with changing climate. We cannot move our cities from the current coasts. We are incapable of improving irrigation methods. We cannot adapt to the change because human beings are essentially incapable of any kind of change. We are stuck in our current state. We are not going to be able to invent new ways to deal with the new climate. 

We won't be able to take advantage of the new coastlands. We will be unable to deal with the average extra 5 degrees Fahrenheit in summer. Like the Vikings, who folded when the temperature rose at the turn of the 10th century and retreated to Greenland and North America rather than huddle inside their homes in Scandinavia, we will remain in our flooded out buildings, crying to a crumbling government for help. Like the Europeans during the Little Ice Age, we will unable to use modern medicine to prevent plague and will abandon the technological innovations of the last century so that we can face the advancing cold with dignity.

Give me a break!

So what if the temperature is going up and down. Are we so stuck in where we are now that we can't change? What is wrong with adapting to changing conditions? Humanity has been doing that for millennia. When did it stop being an option? If we can't adapt, then humanity will go the way of the dodo. So what? Are we really so arrogant as to believe that if humanity was to cease to exist, the planet would too?

Our children may inherit a different world than what we have today, but we inherited a different world than what our ancestors had. How did we and the world survive the extinction of the mammoth? The mouth-birthing frog? The passenger pigeon? The great auk? The Pyrenean Ibex? The Carolina Parakeet? The woolly rhinoceros... you get the idea. 

About a million years ago, humans were reduced to under 60,000 individuals by an unknown natural circumstance. After the Toba eruption about 70,000 years ago, humanity was nearly wiped out. Scientists estimate less than 2,000 individuals survived. And they did it without any technology to back them up.

Do I sound arrogant, overconfident, facetious? Maybe. I simply can't believe we won't adapt to climate change the way we are capable. I can't believe the inferred argument made by climate change argument that humanity will simply turn belly up and do nothing if the worst comes about.

I have more faith in humanity than that.