The planet is quickly warming. We’re all going to become toast if you project into the future. What a loss, all that architecture, culture, history, and blog posts.
WE’VE COME A LONG WAY SINCE THE CAVE
Isn’t it always so? Does one damn existential threat hit us after another? They are like waves hitting the sandy beach. Once there were saber-Tooth tigers at the cave door. That would keep you up nights, but they are gone now. The Hunter-Gatherer Era had its ups and downs, leaving many dead or starving. Along came a more reliable food source, agriculture, and now instead of starvation, we die of Twinkies, Fruit Loops, and obesity. Could Global Warming be just another tedious step in this ancient litany of existential threats?
Don’t get me wrong: Global Warming is serious, not to be equated with Fruit Loops. Haven’t we seen worse in recent memory? I remember singing “What have they done with the Rain?”, back in the 1950s. We were referencing the Strontium 90 falling out with the rain every time an A-Bomb was tested. We were all going to die of agonizing bone cancer. “Ban the Bomb protest took hold globally, and we got the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963. Once more it was safe again for kits to play in the rain.
While the concerns about radioactive fallout from nuclear testing were valid, it’s worth noting that the full impact of testing takes time to manifest, and it is challenging to attribute specific outcomes solely to the ban on nuclear weapons testing. However, the global efforts to limit testing did contribute to a reduction in atmospheric testing and a recognition of the need for nuclear disarmament.
TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT WE’VE DONE
By the 1970s, a more diabolical threat arrived, and again we’d all be dead: The sky was falling apart, allowing ghastly gamma rays and unseeable death particles to rain down on our bodies. Worse than dying from gamma rays, the culpable party was none other than all of us hair sprayers blasting up the ozone layer with our cans of pressurized Flour Carbon spray. If I am going to be taken out by some gruesome chemical compound I want to point to a guilty party other than myself. But how can a civilized person exist without pomatum spray? The gorgeous chosen few among us, sporting their latest coif, were unable to stop the anti-Fluro Carbon hippies, and since 1987, you are hard-pressed to find a single CFC can.
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, phased out CFCs. The hole remains but is forecast to disappear completely in four decades.
Now comes Existential Threat 3.0, and this one takes your breath away. So long as you keep breathing, you are exhaling greenhouse gasses, warming the planet, killing the polar bears, wiping out crops, and drying up waterways, while flooding the coastal shores. As the globe warms, some forecast we could become extinct. Despite this, we keep driving, heating our houses, burning trash, and breathing out carbon dioxide.
HERE WE GO AGAIN
Wring your hands or hold your breath if you must. After all, we’re going to die anyway. For myself, I look at it differently: I see this long road we’ve come down as affirmation that we are ingenious. We are capable of diagnosing problems, summoning up resources, and solving impossible problems. If we can take Strontium 90 out of the rain, close up the ozone hole, and cut down DDT, and viruses like covid, then we are people who can make shit happen.