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Occasional Thoughts on Climate Change


donsutherland1
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https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/10/15/reframing-climate-change-story-human-evolutionary-success/

The narrative we’ve grown used to on this subject is one of blame, casting humanity as a virus destroying an Earth that now needs saving (from us). But there is a very different story we can tell, one that recognizes climate change not as a marker of shame but as a story of an astonishing success that has led humanity to a moment of great peril, yet also of profound possibility.

This new narrative emerges from interdisciplinary studies connecting humanity’s project of civilization with Earth’s own multibillion-year project of life and evolution. The central point is that climate change is the dire but unintended result of our species’ thriving. Humans are not a greedy plague on Earth but simply the latest experiment in planetary-scale evolution. Any species that flourished to the extent we humans have would have to seek out energy sources on a massive scale — and in doing so would change the global ecosystem. It took centuries for the downsides of carbon-based fuels to become apparent. But now that we have figured that out, it’s incumbent on us to change course, and do so quickly.

 

That’s not an anti-business argument. Nor is it even an indictment of humans’ initially developing an economy around oil, before we knew about the implications. By stripping away the self-flagellating rhetoric and reorienting the story in this way — a longer timeline, a broader canvas — new alliances in the fight become possible.

Some climate change activists are already rethinking their rhetoric; they’re debating, for instance, whether to use the phrase “climate catastrophe” or “climate crisis,” recognizing that harsh rhetoric may push people not to action but to desensitization or even despair. But the narrative revision I’m talking about is far more sweeping.

The first implication of a planetary-scale view of the problem is that humans shouldn’t be considered as a force set in opposition to nature. From the “blue-green bacteria” that created a breathable oxygen-rich atmosphere on to dinosaurs, grasslands and large hairy mammals, our planet has been relentlessly inventing new versions of itself. Humans, and our globe-spanning civilization, simply represent the latest round of innovation. We are who’s at-bat right now — and that’s largely an accident of fate and evolution. When it comes to living organisms changing Earth, humans are not fundamentally different or special. This has happened before.

A second implication, the most contentious, is that climate change is not our fault. Don’t get me wrong: Human activity absolutely has caused the rise in temperature that our scientists are hard at work documenting — and without doubt, those who continue to drive climate change denial are deeply and profoundly worthy of blame. I mean, rather, that all human history is the attempt to harvest new forms of energy to power our cherished project of civilization. We triggered climate change by mistake when we tripped over fossil fuels as part of that long effort. It wasn’t because we are evil or unworthy.

 

From a planetary science perspective, global-scale technological civilizations and climate change go together. Any society as successful as ours, emerging anywhere in the universe, is going to have a hard time not triggering climate change. That’s just how planets work when you harvest buckets of energy from them. Viewed that way, changing a world’s climate marks the end of your civilization’s adolescence. At that point, you then face a very strict planetary driving test. Pass it — build a long-term sustainable version of your civilization — and you can go anywhere. Fail and you might die.

So, yes, we changed the atmosphere of the entire planet. Not bad for a bunch of hairless monkeys. Now we must meet the existential challenge that success has created.

Thinking about climate change in the context of eons of evolution, and as a curse of success, makes the burden of guilt hovering over every individual daily action (paper towels or electric bathroom hand dryers?) seem beside the point. Once humans recognize that triggering climate change was an inevitable consequence of a civilizational project we began 10,000 years ago, it follows that combating climate change, too, must also be a collective process, requiring all the ingenuity our species can muster.

By shifting from blame to possibility, people are freed to imagine climate change as a challenge full of risk andpossibility, rather than just a death sentence from accrued guilt. Many people who don’t consider themselves environmentalists get more engaged when the conversation turns to human success and capacity for innovation, I find. Skeptics don’t suddenly “convert,” but space for conversation opens up.

Stressing human ingenuity in this context carries risks, for sure. Focusing on our technological prowess — on an evolutionary timeline as well as in the present — risks steering the conversation toward “solutions” like geoengineering, whose unintended consequences may well be even worse than the unintended climate change we drove with fossil fuels. The true game-changing point of the planetary perspective is to convince people we are not above the biosphere — we’re part of it. Our complex global project of civilization must be rewoven into the complex global network of life in ways that allow both to thrive, in new and as-yet-unimagined ways.

Left vs. right, Democrat vs. Republican, corporate capitalism vs. socialism. All these polarities of public life and public debate were built before Earth began responding to our civilization-building efforts. Each in their own way carries the baggage of a 19th-century smokestack world whose imperatives don’t align with the urgencies and possibilities of a world in which the climate is changing. The cliche is that history repeats itself, but humanity has simply never been here before.

That means we will need to invent something new. New technologies and new policies are one front in that fight, from local-scale projects protecting freshwater sources to investment strategies that ensure capital makes it quickly to technologies such as large-scale energy storage (essential for the full switch to renewal power). But stories were humanity’s first technology. For any of the new approaches to become fully deployed and fully effective, they will have to be grounded in a new way of understanding ourselves and Earth. And if some people question whether a story is enough to move the world, one can ask: What else ever has?

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Nothing would be more glorious than instead of passing the torch to someone somewhere else we could instead tone down our expectations. A high-yield energy intensity is not necessary for happiness and as we have seen and documented extensively, the process of technological slavery of which all people's are impacted and all are guilty of imposing on others has now run it's course.

Ultimately it's your decision to walk away. I am getting my list together consider it a modern version of a very familiar list. Let the real work begin.

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16 hours ago, bluewave said:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/10/15/reframing-climate-change-story-human-evolutionary-success/

The narrative we’ve grown used to on this subject is one of blame, casting humanity as a virus destroying an Earth that now needs saving (from us). But there is a very different story we can tell, one that recognizes climate change not as a marker of shame but as a story of an astonishing success that has led humanity to a moment of great peril, yet also of profound possibility.

This new narrative emerges from interdisciplinary studies connecting humanity’s project of civilization with Earth’s own multibillion-year project of life and evolution. The central point is that climate change is the dire but unintended result of our species’ thriving. Humans are not a greedy plague on Earth but simply the latest experiment in planetary-scale evolution. Any species that flourished to the extent we humans have would have to seek out energy sources on a massive scale — and in doing so would change the global ecosystem. It took centuries for the downsides of carbon-based fuels to become apparent. But now that we have figured that out, it’s incumbent on us to change course, and do so quickly.

 

That’s not an anti-business argument. Nor is it even an indictment of humans’ initially developing an economy around oil, before we knew about the implications. By stripping away the self-flagellating rhetoric and reorienting the story in this way — a longer timeline, a broader canvas — new alliances in the fight become possible.

Some climate change activists are already rethinking their rhetoric; they’re debating, for instance, whether to use the phrase “climate catastrophe” or “climate crisis,” recognizing that harsh rhetoric may push people not to action but to desensitization or even despair. But the narrative revision I’m talking about is far more sweeping.

The first implication of a planetary-scale view of the problem is that humans shouldn’t be considered as a force set in opposition to nature. From the “blue-green bacteria” that created a breathable oxygen-rich atmosphere on to dinosaurs, grasslands and large hairy mammals, our planet has been relentlessly inventing new versions of itself. Humans, and our globe-spanning civilization, simply represent the latest round of innovation. We are who’s at-bat right now — and that’s largely an accident of fate and evolution. When it comes to living organisms changing Earth, humans are not fundamentally different or special. This has happened before.

A second implication, the most contentious, is that climate change is not our fault. Don’t get me wrong: Human activity absolutely has caused the rise in temperature that our scientists are hard at work documenting — and without doubt, those who continue to drive climate change denial are deeply and profoundly worthy of blame. I mean, rather, that all human history is the attempt to harvest new forms of energy to power our cherished project of civilization. We triggered climate change by mistake when we tripped over fossil fuels as part of that long effort. It wasn’t because we are evil or unworthy.

 

From a planetary science perspective, global-scale technological civilizations and climate change go together. Any society as successful as ours, emerging anywhere in the universe, is going to have a hard time not triggering climate change. That’s just how planets work when you harvest buckets of energy from them. Viewed that way, changing a world’s climate marks the end of your civilization’s adolescence. At that point, you then face a very strict planetary driving test. Pass it — build a long-term sustainable version of your civilization — and you can go anywhere. Fail and you might die.

So, yes, we changed the atmosphere of the entire planet. Not bad for a bunch of hairless monkeys. Now we must meet the existential challenge that success has created.

Thinking about climate change in the context of eons of evolution, and as a curse of success, makes the burden of guilt hovering over every individual daily action (paper towels or electric bathroom hand dryers?) seem beside the point. Once humans recognize that triggering climate change was an inevitable consequence of a civilizational project we began 10,000 years ago, it follows that combating climate change, too, must also be a collective process, requiring all the ingenuity our species can muster.

By shifting from blame to possibility, people are freed to imagine climate change as a challenge full of risk andpossibility, rather than just a death sentence from accrued guilt. Many people who don’t consider themselves environmentalists get more engaged when the conversation turns to human success and capacity for innovation, I find. Skeptics don’t suddenly “convert,” but space for conversation opens up.

Stressing human ingenuity in this context carries risks, for sure. Focusing on our technological prowess — on an evolutionary timeline as well as in the present — risks steering the conversation toward “solutions” like geoengineering, whose unintended consequences may well be even worse than the unintended climate change we drove with fossil fuels. The true game-changing point of the planetary perspective is to convince people we are not above the biosphere — we’re part of it. Our complex global project of civilization must be rewoven into the complex global network of life in ways that allow both to thrive, in new and as-yet-unimagined ways.

Left vs. right, Democrat vs. Republican, corporate capitalism vs. socialism. All these polarities of public life and public debate were built before Earth began responding to our civilization-building efforts. Each in their own way carries the baggage of a 19th-century smokestack world whose imperatives don’t align with the urgencies and possibilities of a world in which the climate is changing. The cliche is that history repeats itself, but humanity has simply never been here before.

That means we will need to invent something new. New technologies and new policies are one front in that fight, from local-scale projects protecting freshwater sources to investment strategies that ensure capital makes it quickly to technologies such as large-scale energy storage (essential for the full switch to renewal power). But stories were humanity’s first technology. For any of the new approaches to become fully deployed and fully effective, they will have to be grounded in a new way of understanding ourselves and Earth. And if some people question whether a story is enough to move the world, one can ask: What else ever has?

 "...It's a race... [between detriments set into motion vs vitality] ...it's quite ironic, that technological advancements got us into this mess, we are now so inextricably dependent that technological advancing has to play a pivotal role in how that race ends.."

Namely, whether we are a part of the winner's circle. 

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9 hours ago, Typhoon Tip said:

 "...It's a race... [between detriments set into motion vs vitality] ...it's quite ironic, that technological advancements got us into this mess, we are now so inextricably dependent that technological advancing has to play a pivotal role in how that race ends.."

Namely, whether we are a part of the winner's circle. 

Tip, will we be within the circle or continue riding its edge. Is there ever a specific destination when doing so? If we do not make it, will the next innovation be more successful because the experiment, which seems to be sentience, is dropped? Perhaps, perhaps not. The metaphysics of circles are important to us. I am in agreement with you. I rather be in the middle thinking still, rather than riding the circumference to nowhere. As always …

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Many people warned us about dependence on technology and yet here you are doubling down. This is a battle that cannot be won. If it can be won then it would be impossible to imagine (pretty much every Dystopian film ever).

I never said it would be easy. There are problems in the world and we are not cohesive and believe it or not a new threat is replacing capitalism.

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22 hours ago, bluewave said:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/10/15/reframing-climate-change-story-human-evolutionary-success/

The narrative we’ve grown used to on this subject is one of blame, casting humanity as a virus destroying an Earth that now needs saving (from us). But there is a very different story we can tell, one that recognizes climate change not as a marker of shame but as a story of an astonishing success that has led humanity to a moment of great peril, yet also of profound possibility.

This new narrative emerges from interdisciplinary studies connecting humanity’s project of civilization with Earth’s own multibillion-year project of life and evolution. The central point is that climate change is the dire but unintended result of our species’ thriving. Humans are not a greedy plague on Earth but simply the latest experiment in planetary-scale evolution. Any species that flourished to the extent we humans have would have to seek out energy sources on a massive scale — and in doing so would change the global ecosystem. It took centuries for the downsides of carbon-based fuels to become apparent. But now that we have figured that out, it’s incumbent on us to change course, and do so quickly.

 

That’s not an anti-business argument. Nor is it even an indictment of humans’ initially developing an economy around oil, before we knew about the implications. By stripping away the self-flagellating rhetoric and reorienting the story in this way — a longer timeline, a broader canvas — new alliances in the fight become possible.

Some climate change activists are already rethinking their rhetoric; they’re debating, for instance, whether to use the phrase “climate catastrophe” or “climate crisis,” recognizing that harsh rhetoric may push people not to action but to desensitization or even despair. But the narrative revision I’m talking about is far more sweeping.

The first implication of a planetary-scale view of the problem is that humans shouldn’t be considered as a force set in opposition to nature. From the “blue-green bacteria” that created a breathable oxygen-rich atmosphere on to dinosaurs, grasslands and large hairy mammals, our planet has been relentlessly inventing new versions of itself. Humans, and our globe-spanning civilization, simply represent the latest round of innovation. We are who’s at-bat right now — and that’s largely an accident of fate and evolution. When it comes to living organisms changing Earth, humans are not fundamentally different or special. This has happened before.

A second implication, the most contentious, is that climate change is not our fault. Don’t get me wrong: Human activity absolutely has caused the rise in temperature that our scientists are hard at work documenting — and without doubt, those who continue to drive climate change denial are deeply and profoundly worthy of blame. I mean, rather, that all human history is the attempt to harvest new forms of energy to power our cherished project of civilization. We triggered climate change by mistake when we tripped over fossil fuels as part of that long effort. It wasn’t because we are evil or unworthy.

 

From a planetary science perspective, global-scale technological civilizations and climate change go together. Any society as successful as ours, emerging anywhere in the universe, is going to have a hard time not triggering climate change. That’s just how planets work when you harvest buckets of energy from them. Viewed that way, changing a world’s climate marks the end of your civilization’s adolescence. At that point, you then face a very strict planetary driving test. Pass it — build a long-term sustainable version of your civilization — and you can go anywhere. Fail and you might die.

So, yes, we changed the atmosphere of the entire planet. Not bad for a bunch of hairless monkeys. Now we must meet the existential challenge that success has created.

Thinking about climate change in the context of eons of evolution, and as a curse of success, makes the burden of guilt hovering over every individual daily action (paper towels or electric bathroom hand dryers?) seem beside the point. Once humans recognize that triggering climate change was an inevitable consequence of a civilizational project we began 10,000 years ago, it follows that combating climate change, too, must also be a collective process, requiring all the ingenuity our species can muster.

By shifting from blame to possibility, people are freed to imagine climate change as a challenge full of risk andpossibility, rather than just a death sentence from accrued guilt. Many people who don’t consider themselves environmentalists get more engaged when the conversation turns to human success and capacity for innovation, I find. Skeptics don’t suddenly “convert,” but space for conversation opens up.

Stressing human ingenuity in this context carries risks, for sure. Focusing on our technological prowess — on an evolutionary timeline as well as in the present — risks steering the conversation toward “solutions” like geoengineering, whose unintended consequences may well be even worse than the unintended climate change we drove with fossil fuels. The true game-changing point of the planetary perspective is to convince people we are not above the biosphere — we’re part of it. Our complex global project of civilization must be rewoven into the complex global network of life in ways that allow both to thrive, in new and as-yet-unimagined ways.

Left vs. right, Democrat vs. Republican, corporate capitalism vs. socialism. All these polarities of public life and public debate were built before Earth began responding to our civilization-building efforts. Each in their own way carries the baggage of a 19th-century smokestack world whose imperatives don’t align with the urgencies and possibilities of a world in which the climate is changing. The cliche is that history repeats itself, but humanity has simply never been here before.

That means we will need to invent something new. New technologies and new policies are one front in that fight, from local-scale projects protecting freshwater sources to investment strategies that ensure capital makes it quickly to technologies such as large-scale energy storage (essential for the full switch to renewal power). But stories were humanity’s first technology. For any of the new approaches to become fully deployed and fully effective, they will have to be grounded in a new way of understanding ourselves and Earth. And if some people question whether a story is enough to move the world, one can ask: What else ever has?

But humanity is a force set against Nature- by humanity itself!  And the depiction of humanity as an overpopulating virus is entirely accurate-- because humanity has singlehandedly started the sixth mass extinction event in the planet's history.  And this isn't just about climate change, although that gets the most coverage, this is also about the unsustainable way we farm, destroying precious forests via logging and burning (something that actually started hundreds of years ago, way before we started using fossil fuels),  the chemicals we use and abuse that destroy the environment and kill pollinators like pesticides and fertilizers, and the plastics and other trash we dump into the environment.  Climate change is only one of many many problems caused by humanity.

 

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21 hours ago, bluewave said:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/10/15/reframing-climate-change-story-human-evolutionary-success/

The narrative we’ve grown used to on this subject is one of blame, casting humanity as a virus destroying an Earth that now needs saving (from us). But there is a very different story we can tell, one that recognizes climate change not as a marker of shame but as a story of an astonishing success that has led humanity to a moment of great peril, yet also of profound possibility.

This new narrative emerges from interdisciplinary studies connecting humanity’s project of civilization with Earth’s own multibillion-year project of life and evolution. The central point is that climate change is the dire but unintended result of our species’ thriving. Humans are not a greedy plague on Earth but simply the latest experiment in planetary-scale evolution. Any species that flourished to the extent we humans have would have to seek out energy sources on a massive scale — and in doing so would change the global ecosystem. It took centuries for the downsides of carbon-based fuels to become apparent. But now that we have figured that out, it’s incumbent on us to change course, and do so quickly.

 

That’s not an anti-business argument. Nor is it even an indictment of humans’ initially developing an economy around oil, before we knew about the implications. By stripping away the self-flagellating rhetoric and reorienting the story in this way — a longer timeline, a broader canvas — new alliances in the fight become possible.

Some climate change activists are already rethinking their rhetoric; they’re debating, for instance, whether to use the phrase “climate catastrophe” or “climate crisis,” recognizing that harsh rhetoric may push people not to action but to desensitization or even despair. But the narrative revision I’m talking about is far more sweeping.

The first implication of a planetary-scale view of the problem is that humans shouldn’t be considered as a force set in opposition to nature. From the “blue-green bacteria” that created a breathable oxygen-rich atmosphere on to dinosaurs, grasslands and large hairy mammals, our planet has been relentlessly inventing new versions of itself. Humans, and our globe-spanning civilization, simply represent the latest round of innovation. We are who’s at-bat right now — and that’s largely an accident of fate and evolution. When it comes to living organisms changing Earth, humans are not fundamentally different or special. This has happened before.

A second implication, the most contentious, is that climate change is not our fault. Don’t get me wrong: Human activity absolutely has caused the rise in temperature that our scientists are hard at work documenting — and without doubt, those who continue to drive climate change denial are deeply and profoundly worthy of blame. I mean, rather, that all human history is the attempt to harvest new forms of energy to power our cherished project of civilization. We triggered climate change by mistake when we tripped over fossil fuels as part of that long effort. It wasn’t because we are evil or unworthy.

 

From a planetary science perspective, global-scale technological civilizations and climate change go together. Any society as successful as ours, emerging anywhere in the universe, is going to have a hard time not triggering climate change. That’s just how planets work when you harvest buckets of energy from them. Viewed that way, changing a world’s climate marks the end of your civilization’s adolescence. At that point, you then face a very strict planetary driving test. Pass it — build a long-term sustainable version of your civilization — and you can go anywhere. Fail and you might die.

So, yes, we changed the atmosphere of the entire planet. Not bad for a bunch of hairless monkeys. Now we must meet the existential challenge that success has created.

Thinking about climate change in the context of eons of evolution, and as a curse of success, makes the burden of guilt hovering over every individual daily action (paper towels or electric bathroom hand dryers?) seem beside the point. Once humans recognize that triggering climate change was an inevitable consequence of a civilizational project we began 10,000 years ago, it follows that combating climate change, too, must also be a collective process, requiring all the ingenuity our species can muster.

By shifting from blame to possibility, people are freed to imagine climate change as a challenge full of risk andpossibility, rather than just a death sentence from accrued guilt. Many people who don’t consider themselves environmentalists get more engaged when the conversation turns to human success and capacity for innovation, I find. Skeptics don’t suddenly “convert,” but space for conversation opens up.

Stressing human ingenuity in this context carries risks, for sure. Focusing on our technological prowess — on an evolutionary timeline as well as in the present — risks steering the conversation toward “solutions” like geoengineering, whose unintended consequences may well be even worse than the unintended climate change we drove with fossil fuels. The true game-changing point of the planetary perspective is to convince people we are not above the biosphere — we’re part of it. Our complex global project of civilization must be rewoven into the complex global network of life in ways that allow both to thrive, in new and as-yet-unimagined ways.

Left vs. right, Democrat vs. Republican, corporate capitalism vs. socialism. All these polarities of public life and public debate were built before Earth began responding to our civilization-building efforts. Each in their own way carries the baggage of a 19th-century smokestack world whose imperatives don’t align with the urgencies and possibilities of a world in which the climate is changing. The cliche is that history repeats itself, but humanity has simply never been here before.

That means we will need to invent something new. New technologies and new policies are one front in that fight, from local-scale projects protecting freshwater sources to investment strategies that ensure capital makes it quickly to technologies such as large-scale energy storage (essential for the full switch to renewal power). But stories were humanity’s first technology. For any of the new approaches to become fully deployed and fully effective, they will have to be grounded in a new way of understanding ourselves and Earth. And if some people question whether a story is enough to move the world, one can ask: What else ever has?

Technology has been part of the problem and it's a fool's wish to think that technology is going to provide endless solutions, at some point technology will run out, as the amount of resources available on a finite planet are.....finite.   We're already almost at that point already, with a crowded planet using up more resources than we are putting back into the planet by a factor of 1.7x.  This is not sustainable.  The part mentioned about "venturing out into the universe" is interesting, and these problems being faced by other civilizations in other parts of the universe.  The most reasonable explanation is that in the overwhelmingly vast majority of cases these species never get to colonize space (the reason why we haven't seen any signs of any), because the problems they cause lead to their own extinction or at the very least reduction to a pre-technology state.  The Great Filter lies ahead of us, folks, and it's a massive one indeed.

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1 minute ago, Vice-Regent said:

Humanity is an anti-natural occurrence but the human individual is a beautiful thing and one with nature. An ecosystem all in it's own right. LibertyBell these guys are on the wrong path and they will pay the ultimate price.

Some times you cannot save people from themselves.

Yes, we can make a distinction between humanity (which I refer to as technological civilizations) vs individual human beings.  Individuals humans can and have been sustainable in the past, it's just at this point in time we currently live in an unsustainable system.

 

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21 hours ago, bluewave said:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/10/15/reframing-climate-change-story-human-evolutionary-success/

The narrative we’ve grown used to on this subject is one of blame, casting humanity as a virus destroying an Earth that now needs saving (from us). But there is a very different story we can tell, one that recognizes climate change not as a marker of shame but as a story of an astonishing success that has led humanity to a moment of great peril, yet also of profound possibility.

This new narrative emerges from interdisciplinary studies connecting humanity’s project of civilization with Earth’s own multibillion-year project of life and evolution. The central point is that climate change is the dire but unintended result of our species’ thriving. Humans are not a greedy plague on Earth but simply the latest experiment in planetary-scale evolution. Any species that flourished to the extent we humans have would have to seek out energy sources on a massive scale — and in doing so would change the global ecosystem. It took centuries for the downsides of carbon-based fuels to become apparent. But now that we have figured that out, it’s incumbent on us to change course, and do so quickly.

 

That’s not an anti-business argument. Nor is it even an indictment of humans’ initially developing an economy around oil, before we knew about the implications. By stripping away the self-flagellating rhetoric and reorienting the story in this way — a longer timeline, a broader canvas — new alliances in the fight become possible.

Some climate change activists are already rethinking their rhetoric; they’re debating, for instance, whether to use the phrase “climate catastrophe” or “climate crisis,” recognizing that harsh rhetoric may push people not to action but to desensitization or even despair. But the narrative revision I’m talking about is far more sweeping.

The first implication of a planetary-scale view of the problem is that humans shouldn’t be considered as a force set in opposition to nature. From the “blue-green bacteria” that created a breathable oxygen-rich atmosphere on to dinosaurs, grasslands and large hairy mammals, our planet has been relentlessly inventing new versions of itself. Humans, and our globe-spanning civilization, simply represent the latest round of innovation. We are who’s at-bat right now — and that’s largely an accident of fate and evolution. When it comes to living organisms changing Earth, humans are not fundamentally different or special. This has happened before.

A second implication, the most contentious, is that climate change is not our fault. Don’t get me wrong: Human activity absolutely has caused the rise in temperature that our scientists are hard at work documenting — and without doubt, those who continue to drive climate change denial are deeply and profoundly worthy of blame. I mean, rather, that all human history is the attempt to harvest new forms of energy to power our cherished project of civilization. We triggered climate change by mistake when we tripped over fossil fuels as part of that long effort. It wasn’t because we are evil or unworthy.

 

From a planetary science perspective, global-scale technological civilizations and climate change go together. Any society as successful as ours, emerging anywhere in the universe, is going to have a hard time not triggering climate change. That’s just how planets work when you harvest buckets of energy from them. Viewed that way, changing a world’s climate marks the end of your civilization’s adolescence. At that point, you then face a very strict planetary driving test. Pass it — build a long-term sustainable version of your civilization — and you can go anywhere. Fail and you might die.

So, yes, we changed the atmosphere of the entire planet. Not bad for a bunch of hairless monkeys. Now we must meet the existential challenge that success has created.

Thinking about climate change in the context of eons of evolution, and as a curse of success, makes the burden of guilt hovering over every individual daily action (paper towels or electric bathroom hand dryers?) seem beside the point. Once humans recognize that triggering climate change was an inevitable consequence of a civilizational project we began 10,000 years ago, it follows that combating climate change, too, must also be a collective process, requiring all the ingenuity our species can muster.

By shifting from blame to possibility, people are freed to imagine climate change as a challenge full of risk andpossibility, rather than just a death sentence from accrued guilt. Many people who don’t consider themselves environmentalists get more engaged when the conversation turns to human success and capacity for innovation, I find. Skeptics don’t suddenly “convert,” but space for conversation opens up.

Stressing human ingenuity in this context carries risks, for sure. Focusing on our technological prowess — on an evolutionary timeline as well as in the present — risks steering the conversation toward “solutions” like geoengineering, whose unintended consequences may well be even worse than the unintended climate change we drove with fossil fuels. The true game-changing point of the planetary perspective is to convince people we are not above the biosphere — we’re part of it. Our complex global project of civilization must be rewoven into the complex global network of life in ways that allow both to thrive, in new and as-yet-unimagined ways.

Left vs. right, Democrat vs. Republican, corporate capitalism vs. socialism. All these polarities of public life and public debate were built before Earth began responding to our civilization-building efforts. Each in their own way carries the baggage of a 19th-century smokestack world whose imperatives don’t align with the urgencies and possibilities of a world in which the climate is changing. The cliche is that history repeats itself, but humanity has simply never been here before.

That means we will need to invent something new. New technologies and new policies are one front in that fight, from local-scale projects protecting freshwater sources to investment strategies that ensure capital makes it quickly to technologies such as large-scale energy storage (essential for the full switch to renewal power). But stories were humanity’s first technology. For any of the new approaches to become fully deployed and fully effective, they will have to be grounded in a new way of understanding ourselves and Earth. And if some people question whether a story is enough to move the world, one can ask: What else ever has?

Also worth noting that in the planet's history, whenever a species becomes too dominant, it eventually gets beaten down.... the planet has a tipping point, and when it gets tipped, the planet will self-regulate against the dominator....to bring back biodiversity.   This is precisely why we should be working with Nature (biomimicry) rather than against it.

 

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5 hours ago, Typhoon Tip said:

 "...It's a race... [between detriments set into motion vs vitality] ...it's quite ironic, that technological advancements got us into this mess, we are now so inextricably dependent that technological advancing has to play a pivotal role in how that race ends.."

Namely, whether we are a part of the winner's circle. 

When it comes to living organisms changing Earth, humans are not fundamentally different or special. This has happened before.

 

Not with the type of artificial technology or lab created chemicals before or the  concerted conscious effort to upend the existing sustainable system by creating a new unsustainable one that destroys biodiversity (one which will trigger the planet's self-regulation tipping point- and it won't be pretty for humanity when it happens, actually it's happening already.)  This is about a lot more than just climate change, it's about the fundamental wasteful ways in which humanity exists in modern societies.

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Actually the first species we drove to extinction happened  way before climate change occurred, it was when we developed tools like spears and drove the Wooly Mammoth to extinction.  There were many others we did the same too before we ever started using fossil fuels....so again the problem with human society goes far deeper than fossil fuels and all that has to change for us to be a sustainable species.

 

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Here's another article to read (I just posted the first paragraph, read the rest there, it's a long one.)

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/what-if-we-stopped-pretending

 

What If We Stopped Pretending?

The climate apocalypse is coming. To prepare for it, we need to admit that we can’t prevent it.
September 8, 2019
 

A mother and child playing on a tree while the surrounding forest burns in a fire.

 

Illustration by Leonardo Santamaria

 
 
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“There is infinite hope,” Kafka tells us, “only not for us.” This is a fittingly mystical epigram from a writer whose characters strive for ostensibly reachable goals and, tragically or amusingly, never manage to get any closer to them. But it seems to me, in our rapidly darkening world, that the converse of Kafka’s quip is equally true: There is no hope, except for us.

I’m talking, of course, about climate change. The struggle to rein in global carbon emissions and keep the planet from melting down has the feel of Kafka’s fiction. The goal has been clear for thirty years, and despite earnest efforts we’ve made essentially no progress toward reaching it. Today, the scientific evidence verges on irrefutable. If you’re younger than sixty, you have a good chance of witnessing the radical destabilization of life on earth—massive crop failures, apocalyptic fires, imploding economies, epic flooding, hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing regions made uninhabitable by extreme heat or permanent drought. If you’re under thirty, you’re all but guaranteed to witness it.

If you care about the planet, and about the people and animals who live on it, there are two ways to think about this. You can keep on hoping that catastrophe is preventable, and feel ever more frustrated or enraged by the world’s inaction. Or you can accept that disaster is coming, and begin to rethink what it means to have hope.

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Just now, bluewave said:


Your argument may be with whatever the ultimate force is behind evolution. The reason that we have fallen out of balance with nature is that evolutionary advances made it possible. You have to ask why the evolutionary processes made it possible to move from a more sustainable hunter gatherer society to one based on agriculture. Perhaps, this is just an intrinsic feature of evolution as it may exist across the universe. It would be interesting if we could have an intergalactic round table with advanced civilizations to see how they dealt with their energy needs as they advanced. 

There's a saying I have had for years now Chris, and I am going to use it here again, because I think it's appropriate.

"Evolution has a beautiful irony, and it's a tragic conundrum, that evolution eventually leads to the destruction of the evolving species."

 

It can be taken in many ways-- one is that as it evolves the original species is replaced by one that is more successful, which in our case has led to a point of where we have become TOO successful (which I do agree with in the article.)  But the statement can also be read in another way, like with the dinosaurs (which were going to go extinct with or without the K-T event) and that is that when evolution reaches a certain point, it becomes a dead end for the evolving species (for a variety of different reasons)....and this can apply to different kinds of evolution....biological evolution, societal evolution, and of course technological evolution.  At some point we reach the point of diminishing returns whereby evolution actually seals the fate of whatever it is that's evolving.

 

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10 minutes ago, bluewave said:


Your argument may be with whatever the ultimate force is behind evolution. The reason that we have fallen out of balance with nature is that evolutionary advances made it possible. You have to ask why the evolutionary processes made it possible to move from a more sustainable hunter gatherer society to one based on agriculture. Perhaps, this is just an intrinsic feature of evolution as it may exist across the universe. It would be interesting if we could have an intergalactic round table with advanced civilizations to see how they dealt with their energy needs as they evolved.

Laughable bluewave. The net incentive is not even there even if we export this model to the universe I don't expect human equity and liberty to get any better.

You may say there is human inequity in nature but there is also not a huge cost to this inequity. The number of individuals is much lower. Alas it's all hypothetical as humans will never be able to overcome 'The Great Filter'.

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6 minutes ago, bluewave said:


Your argument may be with whatever the ultimate force is behind evolution. The reason that we have fallen out of balance with nature is that evolutionary advances made it possible. You have to ask why the evolutionary processes made it possible to move from a more sustainable hunter gatherer society to one based on agriculture. Perhaps, this is just an intrinsic feature of evolution as it may exist across the universe. It would be interesting if we could have an intergalactic round table with advanced civilizations to see how they dealt with their energy needs as they advanced. 

I've always wanted that....if there was a way to communicate all across the universe....get out of that damned light speed barrier problem (maybe with wormholes or sterile neutrinos, which are supposed to be able to travel "outside" the universe)....see how different sentient civilizations handled it and who made it past the Great Filter and who didn't and how many there are in the average galaxy (my amateur guess would be less than a handful per galaxy, and that would mean more than 99% failed and either went extinct or were reduced to a pre-technology state.)  And the other thing I've always wondered about is if a technological species does go extinct what are the chances that millions of years later a different one develops on the same planet?  Maybe even finds the relics of the one that came before them?  Millions of years after us, what would be there to find of us if we went extinct, by the next technological species that may eventually evolve?

 

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2 minutes ago, bluewave said:

Technology has been around for a long time. Using fire to cook and tools to hunt were early examples. Technology has advanced exponentially since the scientific revolution. But technology can be used for positive purposes as well and negative. That’s just part of the natural polarity of human nature. As to whether we can discover a new technology to help adapt to or end climate change, that remains an open question. 

It can be used for some very positive things, but I'm also thinking how it was used to drive so many species to extinction  even before the industrial revolution (like spears being used on Wooly Mammoths and the destruction of forests with intentionally set fires going back 800 years); the ultimate goal in addition to more sustainable technology should be a more sustainable mindset for humanity to not abuse what the planet offers.

 

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1 minute ago, bluewave said:

Inequality really emerged with the agricultural revolution. Probably a result of all the divisions of society  necessary to maintain the settlements. But we have to move beyond this outdated model to a more balanced existence with nature and our fellow humans. We could do it if we made it a priority. But it’s very easy for us to fall into a polarities paradigm rather than a more unified one. We definitely need a leap in human consciousness for us to see that we are all connected and not be guided by the illusion of separateness.

Too real and all too tragic for those of us aware of human potentialities. We are becoming polarized during a time in which we are most vulnerable to polarization.

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 Soil and water depletion, overuse of pesticides, the devastation of world fisheries—collective will is needed for these problems, too, and, unlike the problem of carbon, they’re within our power to solve. As a bonus, many low-tech conservation actions (restoring forests, preserving grasslands, eating less meat) can reduce our carbon footprint as effectively as massive industrial changes.

 

 

In Santa Cruz, where I live, there’s an organization called the Homeless Garden Project. On a small working farm at the west end of town, it offers employment, training, support, and a sense of community to members of the city’s homeless population. It can’t “solve” the problem of homelessness, but it’s been changing lives, one at a time, for nearly thirty years. Supporting itself in part by selling organic produce, it contributes more broadly to a revolution in how we think about people in need, the land we depend on, and the natural world around us. In the summer, as a member of its C.S.A. program, I enjoy its kale and strawberries, and in the fall, because the soil is alive and uncontaminated, small migratory birds find sustenance in its furrows.

There may come a time, sooner than any of us likes to think, when the systems of industrial agriculture and global trade break down and homeless people outnumber people with homes. At that point, traditional local farming and strong communities will no longer just be liberal buzzwords. Kindness to neighbors and respect for the land—nurturing healthy soil, wisely managing water, caring for pollinators—will be essential in a crisis and in whatever society survives it. A project like the Homeless Garden offers me the hope that the future, while undoubtedly worse than the present, might also, in some ways, be better. Most of all, though, it gives me hope for today.

 

Thats from that article I linked to earlier, it's excellent for a broader perspective on changing humanity on a fundamental level to achieve sustainability.

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8 minutes ago, bluewave said:

Inequality really emerged with the agricultural revolution. Probably a result of all the divisions of society  necessary to maintain the settlements. But we have to move beyond this outdated model to a more balanced existence with nature and our fellow humans. We could do it if we made it a priority. But it’s very easy for us to fall into a polarities paradigm rather than a more unified one. We definitely need a leap in human consciousness for us to see that we are all connected and not be guided by the illusion of separateness.

Thats why I am so adamantly opposed to the so-called "green" revolution (it wasn't green, it destroyed the environment with chemicals that didn't belong there)....we're just now starting to learn of the damage caused by industrial agriculture and farmers in the third world are finally turning back to more sustainable organic farming.  The problem all along was that new technology was only going to temporarily treat a symptom (like a pain killer only treats the pain) the disease all along was that there are simply too many humans on the planet.

 

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17 minutes ago, Vice-Regent said:

If one approaches the predicament sensibly from an organic holistic perspective they would be against the continuation of civilization. There is nothing to gain here except suffering and toil.

I mean if we existed like indigenous people live (or rather used to live), at one with nature and the planet, we would all be a lot better off.

They appreciated not overhunting, not overfishing, not overlogging, all the things that modern society has abused to the point of no return.

 

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18 minutes ago, bluewave said:

Inequality really emerged with the agricultural revolution. Probably a result of all the divisions of society  necessary to maintain the settlements. But we have to move beyond this outdated model to a more balanced existence with nature and our fellow humans. We could do it if we made it a priority. But it’s very easy for us to fall into a polarities paradigm rather than a more unified one. We definitely need a leap in human consciousness for us to see that we are all connected and not be guided by the illusion of separateness.

Yes a paradigm of connectedness is very important-- between all species-- if one is in peril, we're all in peril because we're all part of the vast web of life and one weak strand will eventually make the whole thing unravel.  Reading that New Yorker article I also became aware of a number of giant renewable energy projects that are harming local ecosystems in third world nations, we need to not fall into the trap of past mistakes and do it in a way that makes  a minimal impact to the local environment and doesn't contribute to the mass extinction event now underway.  This was part of the problem with the so-called "Green" revolution, they started using chemicals harmful to the environment, that kill pollinators, cause harmful side effects to humans (especially children) and eventually destroyed the soil.  It's why we're now seeing a resurgence of organic farming, which is much more sustainable.

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https://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/redo-of-a-famous-experiment-on-the-origins-of-life-reveals-critical-detail-missed-for-decades/

 

^also very interesting, the role of silica rocks in life starting on Earth

 

They found that teflon produced very few organic compounds. There were more compounds in the teflon with glass pieces. But the glass container, by far, created the greatest number and largest variety of organic molecules.

The mechanism of exactly how the silica helps catalyze the reaction is not clear yet--but it is very clearly does.

The obvious question then is: Was there silica available in the early earth environment?

Saladino: The water is not suspended in a vacuum. No? The water is in geochemistry, it is surrounded by minerals. Borosilicate and silica are the most abundant minerals surrounding the water.

Vitak: The team has two next major objectives in mind. First, to try updating the experiment to model more closely the amount of silica that would have been available in the early Earth.

Second, they want to try replacing the silica with extraterrestrial minerals like, pieces of meteorite or rocks from other planets. Apart from just being very cool, that could give a more concrete idea of how to look for life in space. 

But here on Earth, coming one step closer to fully understanding why we exist is that much more satisfying. Even after nearly 70 years, a key discovery in our complex origin story still carries new revelations. As the authors say in the paper: "The role of the rocks was hidden in the walls of the reactors."

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https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/biodiversitys-greatest-protectors-need-protection/

 

In the late 19th century Yellowstone, Sequoia and Yosemite became the first of the great U.S. National Parks, described by author and historian Wallace Stegner as America's “best idea.” But the parks were devastating for the Native Americans who had lived or hunted within their borders and who were expelled—essentially an act of colonialism in the name of conservation. In the 20th century similar reserves began to be carved out in developing countries, creating millions of “conservation refugees” even as neighboring forests were given over to extractive industries. The protected areas failed to offset the destructive aspects of development. Plant and animal species are disappearing faster than at any time since the event that wiped out most of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Even humans aren't guaranteed to survive.

The U.S. has taken one small step to make amends. In June, Secretary of the Interior Debra Haaland, the first Native American ever to hold a cabinet position, signaled her intent to safeguard both nature and justice by returning the National Bison Range to the Salish and Kootenai confederation. Now the Biden administration needs to go further. At the 2021 meeting of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), it should ensure that an ambitious plan to promote biodiversity empowers Indigenous and other communities worldwide instead of punishing them for their success in conservation.

In 2016 biologist Edward O. Wilson responded to the biodiversity crisis by calling for half of Earth to be left to wilderness. His rallying cry has birthed the “30x30” campaign to protect 30 percent of Earth's land and sea surface by 2030. Backed by many scientists, major conservation organizations, the more than 60 member countries of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, and $1 billion from a Swiss entrepreneur, the target is likely to be adopted by the CBD when it meets in October.

But critics charge that some advocates of 30x30 seek “a new model of colonialism” that forces those least responsible for climate change, biodiversity loss and other environmental crises to pay the highest price for averting them. 30x30 could be used by elites in democratically challenged nation-states as a pretext for seizing land from marginalized groups. The home ranges of Indigenous peoples currently shelter 80 percent of Earth's remaining biodiversity and sequester almost 300 trillion tons of carbon. Precisely because of this abundance, these areas are likely to be some of the first places targeted for “protection.” If that happens, the very people who defend nature from the voracious appetites of the Global North, often at the cost of their lives, would be penalized for their efforts. Up to 300 million forest dwellers and others could be forced out of their territories, by one estimate.

Such seizures are already happening. In the Congo Basin, for example, armed eco-guards have brutally evicted Indigenous Pygmies from the rain forest to carve out protected areas. These wildlife reserves expanded following a CBD resolution in 2010 to dedicate 17 percent of Earth's terrestrial surface to nature. Yet the protected areas are surrounded by or sometimes even overlaid with oil, mining or logging concessions. Unsurprisingly, chimpanzee, gorilla and elephant populations have continued to decline even as Pygmy peoples have been consigned to poverty and misery.

There is a way to do global conservation right. Indigenous communities are as good as or better than governments at protecting biodiversity and already conserve a quarter of Earth's terrestrial surface. The CBD needs to ensure that they get secure rights to their territories, as well as the resources to defend them. Further, the signatories to the CBD should commit to returning some protected areas, which now cover around 17 percent of the planet's lands, to the control of the communities from which they were wrested.

The U.S. could lead the way in this effort. The Biden administration's vision for 30x30, released in May 2021, includes a pledge to support local populations, in particular Tribal administrations, in conserving and restoring biodiversity. The U.S. needs to take that resolve to the global stage at the U.N. meeting and help rescue nature and its most ardent defenders from the militarized conservation model it pioneered one and a half centuries ago. That is a crucial step toward a reprieve for the incredible life-forms that share our planet, as well as their Indigenous guardians.

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1 hour ago, LibertyBell said:

Yes a paradigm of connectedness is very important-- between all species-- if one is in peril, we're all in peril because we're all part of the vast web of life and one weak strand will eventually make the whole thing unravel.  Reading that New Yorker article I also became aware of a number of giant renewable energy projects that are harming local ecosystems in third world nations, we need to not fall into the trap of past mistakes and do it in a way that makes  a minimal impact to the local environment and doesn't contribute to the mass extinction event now underway.  This was part of the problem with the so-called "Green" revolution, they started using chemicals harmful to the environment, that kill pollinators, cause harmful side effects to humans (especially children) and eventually destroyed the soil.  It's why we're now seeing a resurgence of organic farming, which is much more sustainable.

It’s amazing how intelligent and interconnected nature is.

 

 

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1 hour ago, bluewave said:

It’s amazing how intelligent and interconnected nature is.

 

 

wow that reminds me of Cosmos- when the interconnected intelligence of the network of fungi and trees was being mentioned (mycology)

 

https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/entangled-life-book-review-mushrooms-fungi-biology-science

 

The magic of mushrooms forces us to rethink what intelligence means

The astonishing secrets of fungal life raise profound questions

 

 

 

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