Do you want to hear a scary Halloween tale?
We humans took many decades to unwittingly screw up our climate. But even though we've identified the problem, we keep doing it anyway.
OK, so it's not an apocryphal ghost story... oh, that it were. Still, it's hard to be mad at humans. If you're reading this right now, odds are some of your best friends are human. But to paraphrase the earnest but misguided mogul John Hammond in Jurassic Park, "I don't blame someone for their mistakes, but I do expect that person to fix them."
We humans used intelligence, moxie, and good old-fashioned hard work to climb to the top of the food chain. We recognized a mind-blowingly robust energy source that was literally shooting out of the ground for free. We would have been stupid not to use it.
But decades of research by thousands of credible scientists showed that anthropogenic global warming is a near certainty. Now is the time to fix our mistakes. But, instead, we're focusing our efforts on short-term problems (albeit legitimate ones) that are much less critical to the long-term survival of our species. Like Nero in Rome, we simply expect to remain in our position of dominance.
Here are just a few ways we are giving climate change -- likely the worst crisis ever to face mankind -- a back seat to our short-term needs:
- The top challengers for the office of President of the United States all deny the scientific consensus on climate change.
- We'd opt to spend money cleaning up after climate disasters, rather than pay to prevent them. Prevention of climate disasters would cost roughly $175 billion annually. The Katrina-related economic toll on Louisiana alone was $200 billion.
- We brand people who are concerned about the environment as whackos.
- We quibble over changing our habits (such as phasing out inefficient light bulbs) because it's a hassle.
- We only stop buying gas guzzlers when the price of gas is high.
Curious way to handle a crisis that could threaten our very survival.