[LINK] Surviving Climate Change

Jim Birch planetjim at gmail.com
Wed Jan 21 11:20:21 AEDT 2015

Despite it's obviously profound emotional attractiveness, doomsday thinking
is IMHO usually counterproductive, sometime extremely counterproductive.

The idea of the whole human species being eliminated by anything other than
an astronomic event is so fanciful that it is hardly worth even talking
about.  There are some serious problems that require our attention and
effort so wasting energy on unrealistic fantasy scenarios is unrealistic.

A quick glance at human history reveals a plethora of extreme adverse
events which we have collectively survived.  Seriously, how to you think
(for example) the Romans felt when Goths were taking over their city.  You
can be they felt that The World was ending.  It didn't.

I'm not arguing that there is no death, suffering, and loss of security and
welfare.  In fact, the reverse: these should be the targets, not fuzzy
Armageddon fantasy trips.

We live in a world that is incredibly fortunate by historical standards.
For most of human history life has been a relentless battle for resources.
Population was under control but it was controlled by death, disease,
starvation and weakness accompanied by terrible amount of suffering.  This
is how biology works.  Evolution proceeds by the liberal use of death.

I can't see that global warming could wipe out the human race.  It's a
fantasy.  Yet, I support serious action to mitigate global warming.  It
certainly has a lot of potential to kill a lot of humans via starvation and
disruption, and to negatively impact the welfare of most of rest of us.
(Some people will likely be better off, others will just turn up the
aircon.)  This net negative impact is the reason to act, not that the human
race will be wiped out.  It won't.

Similarly, the bee problem (aka colony collapse disorder) is very serious,
but not terminal for the human race.  If the world bee population heads
towards total collapse, we would suffer significant consequences, but
mitigations would be found, like  new bee strains, alternate pollination
strategies, different crops, bans of problem insecticides, and so on.

This isn't intended to be a Candidesque statement that all is well in the
best of all possible worlds, just a reality check.  Reality is gritty and
complex, stories about are easily sensationalized and oversimplified.
Horror stories may be motivating but they take us away from the
evidence-based solutions. When we lose contact with the evidence we are
prone to random acts of stupidity.  We are also likely to lose the argument
for change.


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