in Economics, Law, Politics, The environment

No matter what else we achieve, if the generations alive now fail to prevent catastrophic climate change we will be seen as failures by the generations that will suffer after us. We will be remembered as the people who had all the knowledge and technology required to preserve a habitable Earth, but who were too ignorant or distracted or greedy to actually do it. We will be the generation that breaks the chain of inheritance – which has links extending back through all of human history – and that passes on a degraded and dangerous world after having received a promising and prosperous one.

It’s remarkable to read Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature, published in 1989 when I was six years old. In it, he describes everything that is happening now: the growing scientific certainty accompanying increasingly perceptible changes in the outside world, the body of scientific research and understanding being assembled over decades and centuries. And yet, despite how the message has been clear and compelling for decades, the world hasn’t even started moving in the right direction yet, much less started moving that way quickly enough to avoid disaster.

The stupidity of what we are doing is startling.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

strider March 26, 2012 at 10:09 pm

I can not agree you too much.
Last few days,i had a travel to Jiuzhai Valley in China and turely realized how bad our daily living environment is.The sadest thing maybe you live in a bad environment but you enven can’t realize it.Nowadays Chinese environment situation is worse and worse and apart from China there are also many coutries doing the same things. I can’t image what my nation and our earth will be if the way is going on.

Anon March 27, 2012 at 8:49 am

Reading older books about climate change is an important reminder. Sometimes, it seems like climate change is a newly identified problem that mankind is still working to understand and to which we are trying to formulate a response. Books from twenty years ago that explain the whole thing clearly and convincingly are a demonstration of how humanity’s problem is a deeper one. Confronted with what we know and can reasonably project about climate change, people mostly just draw a blank and carry on doing what they were before. A big ‘DOES NOT COMPUTE’ thought bubble might as well appear above their heads.

. March 27, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Global Warming Close to Becoming Irreversible

The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.

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