Saturday, July 30, 2016

Animals Don't Care about Global Warming

It is entirely a human problem.

Global warming is the biggest problem of our time and the next one too. The icons of this problem may be the stranded polar bears, the ravaged coral reefs, the species ranges moving steadily northwards. But what do the animals think about this? Not much, really. Only we have the conscious scope and appreciation of future and past to recognize what is happening. Only we can stand back in awe and horror at what we ourselves are doing, and deem it bad.

Stranded polar bear.
So while the problem of global warming affects the biosphere, killing off species and decimating ecosystems, it is only we who can care about it. Whether our care focuses on the harm that this heating is doing to us directly, via hotter living conditions, drought, impaired agriculture, disease, war, etc., or whether our care focuses on other aspects of the biosphere that we appreciate from a more aesthetic and nature-loving perspective, it is all on us.

Back when we were killing off the North American megafauna, humans themselves probably had almost as little consciousness of what they were doing as the animals they were killing. Except, perhaps, for a twinge about hunting out one area and having to move on to the next, a process that may have encouraged the remarkably rapid settlement of the Americas clear down to Monte Verde.

But now things are different, and the cultural, political, and economic divide comes down between those who do not want to look and those who do, and who see devastating loss. The temptation of keeping our consciousness under wraps, and of denying our hard-won conception of the vast reality around us so that we can consume endlessly and reproduce geometrically, is hard to fight, when all the other side has to offer is an aesthetic, pro-nature and pro-posterity viewpoint.

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  • Past annals of climate change.
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  • Gun nuttery reductio ad absurdum.
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  • And who needs monetary policy anyhow?
  • In-depth on Turkey and the G├╝lenists.
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  • Tobin tax, Si!
  • Our egghead in chief.

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