Here’s Something I’ve Actually Wanted to Talk About
As opposed to the death of the Pope, the death of Terri Shiavo, and the many deaths of the Doctor.
Is it just me, or is this blog a little morbid lately?
So today I’d like to change the tone, and lightly consider the death of the human race.
It’s coming. Most species don’t clock up a million years, and we’ve been around at least a couple of hundred thou—or four thousand if you’re faith-based and ignorant of science. But if you’re in the latter category then 1) you’ve probably already stopped reading and 2) you likely believe we’re in the Last Days anyway, and you can’t wait. Well here's some good news for you:
The United Nations took delivery last week of a report
from a worldwide committee of 1300 or so respected scientists who have said, in essence, that unless we make some changes, the human race is going to be faced with severe habitat pressure due to the rate at which we’re changing our planet.
Case in point: the report says fish stocks are past the tipping point, and that some fisheries will never recover.
"Yeah, yeah" sayeth the reader "We've heard it all before."
Okay, but they're predicting this in about fifty years. It's one thing to be living off our grandkids' inheritance, it's another to think that this is going to be happening just as they shove me into the nursing home.
But I refrained from blogging on this, as I wanted to see what the main media outlets thought first, then what other bloggers were writing about it.
The mainstream commercial media channels have more-or-less ignored it. I don't see it anywhere on Fox
--certainly nothing in their rather useless search engine.
How about at Global Media
? To cover the bases thoroughly (For regular Fox viewers, this means "in the manner of a responsible writer") I tried searching under several terms: "UN", "report", "ecosystem", and "millenium ecosystem assessment
The BBC article is linked above. CBC's is here
. Since the report was released on the 31st, I can only assume that the Murdoch clan and the Aspers have decided to ignore it entirely.
There doesn't seem to have been a lot of fanfare even in the blogosphere. There seems to be a slight trend toward labelling the report as a load of codswallop. Some bloggers seem particularly critical, as noted here at MSN's Slate
The Slate article doesn't seem to link to anyone who supports the report. Is it only because all the bloggers chosen to be linked to think of themselves as conservatives and live in the US? And if so, why hasn't Slate linked to the other side, at all
Liberty Corner speciously links to the famous bet between Julian Simon and Paul Erlich. Note in the linked article
that Simon "claimed natural resources were infinite". Um--does anyone really believe that?
Simon bet on the side of technological innovation and humankind's creativity, and he won. But the new report says we're straining those qualities. There will be improvements over the next half-century. But can we bet the future against the chance we'll find a way to vitiate what we've been doing up until now?
The worst thing about this sort of nonsense
is that it's just a way of saying "why can't I go on doing what's most comfortable for me?" Not one person with an opinion has actually dissected the material of the report. They stick their fingers in their ears and shout "lalalalala". This related piece
from the Cato Institute (whose opinions I sometimes agree with) actually sidesteps the issues it raises. Was
the world more crowded in 2000? Less polluted? I dunno.
Doctor Sanity says "there are issues and challenges we humans must deal with as conservators of our planet. But . . ."
And as Orson Welles was fond of saying: "It's a big butt
So lemme see if I've got this, Doc. You agree there are things we need to fix. But when a panel of 1300 tells you what some of those things are you say "Well, I don't want to fix those
things! Pick something else"?
It disturbs me to think that so many people would take four years of research by 1300 scientists, and condemn it as junk without even considering the summary. Doctor Santy said he couldn't find the report online. Here it is, Doc. Just Google "millenium ecosystem assessment
". Or find the website here
What does this all mean for Metro? Well when scientists and economists tell me something, I try to listen and evaluate. I haven't read the report, and I must confess that being as it's a huge one I'll probably stick to the summary.
But most importantly: What exactly is wrong
with making a few changes? Are we afraid that reforming our behaviour towards the environment will make the price of gas go over a buck a litre?
Are we so self-satisfied and comfortable that we can't bear to think of using our cars 10% less, for example? Does walking hold such horror
Me, I figure the granola-heads are probably closer to the truth than the people who believe that we must continue doing things the same old way
. Notice that on that page the act of drilling for oil is equated with saving
the refuge. What was the problem with leaving it protected
in the first place? Except of course that you couldn't get oil out of it.
I feel strongly, as a fiscal and environmental conservative and social-program supporter, that we as a whole need to make some smart, easy decisions before they become, difficult, painful ones.
To the horror of those who see the UN as a constraint on their power, I support the idea of dealing with natural resources as a global issue rather than national and political. Management of resources must cross borders. And we as individuals have a duty--consider it a Christian duty, a duty to one's fellow man, or to one's kids--to steward our resources to the best of our ability.
And we can do better than this.
" from a man who believes a big man in the sky made the world. He may be right, but his writing shows no true critical thinking, just love of his own positions. Like me. But I'm a blogger, it's expected. Oh--and I can
actually think critically. Like now.
The David Suzuki Foundation
--where actual scientists with real degrees consider that there might truly be ways we can do better.
The other side
of the argument.While researching career possibilities in writing I found Checkmate. The language of their "newsletter" speaks for itself. Suzuki's writing is respectful and doesn't usually deride or insult anyone. Even were I receptive to the idea that, say, global warming was junk science (and on the evidence so far I'm fairly convinced it's not), the vituperative discussion here would turn me right off.