Sunday 29th April
What do we mean by the long run? A few months, years even? But rarely do we consider much past the length of our own lives. But most of us have children or grandchildren, who we love dearly – what of them in the Long Run?
I was struck by an article in the Guardian from a long-standing Climate Change Scientist, who, now in his Eighties, is stating that the Human Race has almost been run. Extinction is staring us in the face, he says, and no amount of technological change will save either us or the planet (or rather many species on the planet at present). In all likelihood even if temperatures continue to rise inexorably, new species will evolve and take over the Earth.
It set me thinking; maybe we are just like those smokers who despite warning after warning that it is killing us, continue puffing away – well, it may not actually kill me, and I am going to die of something anyway. Our dependence, or as some would see it, our addiction to, the burning of fossil fuels is going to be hard to let slip. Even though, thanks to the EU, no-emission vehicles will be the only ones on sale in twenty years’ time, it may be long after that that we wave goodbye to Oil. There are powerful Corporations still exploring for and extracting oil and gas; fracking is the new Holy Grail, we seem to be oblivious to the bleeding obvious. We cannot continue extracting and burning both fossil fuels and minerals with impunity. A price will always be paid. Just as with smokers; it probably won’t kill us sometime soon, or even in our own lifetimes. But our Oil addiction will surely kill us all one day. Or that is the message from (most of) the scientific community. The hope is that new technology will save us (as George W. Bush declared) but some scientists now think that the problem may be both too big, and too far gone, to be solvable. What really needs to change is Human Behaviour. We have to find a new stable and sustainable economic model that keeps everyone fed and housed but stops the rich getting inexorably richer (at everyone else’s expense).
Many science fiction writers have toyed with the idea of the human race escaping a ruined and dying planet and heading off into space to colonise a new planet (one full of minerals and all the resources we would need). Well, that still remains Science Fiction. But wouldn’t it make much more sense to try to save the planet we are on.
There are many who now deny Climate Change, or possibly admit that temperatures may be rising but it is not due to Human Activity. I am not a scientists, but even if that is true, shouldn’t we try to save our precious planet. In the long run it is all we have.