The issue of climate change to me is of truly great importance. I feel as if this issue is, if not on the top, near the top of what will come to define how we advance in the next century. Our society, our civilization is at a crossroads of what will be either a global dark age or the creation of a neo-enlightenment period, and it hinges on the state of our climate. Well the real factor that will determine our course is how we have/will deal with this global flux. I am hesitant to compare our culture to the
Roman Empire in this regard, but the
analogy acutely is effective in the American consciousness.
What stands before us is the question of change now or change later. Soon enough there will be a threshold when those two become one and then it will turn into change now or perish. In the case of the roman empire, and I am by no means a historian, but conceivably it happened like so: change now a little, change now a little less, change now only a little, and then perish. Perish into a dark age of feudal systems and mindless warfare. Humanity continues in this story, of course to refit itself with a society that can change up faster and better to perpetuate itself, and we see this in the early stages of what became the
Roman Empire. Soon enough along this path the change that
was once faster and better is complacent in comfort, and comfort overrides hard
fixes. This is where we are now. This is what we need to learn from. I am very
much supporting that history repeats itself, but only it’s worse every time.
This time it isn't only external barbarians and internal moral decay, but
external environmental decay (with relations to the biosphere) and internal hubris
in our ability to solve our issues.
This hubris is that somehow, technologically we can ‘solve’ global climate change. The joke is that technology is one of the prime sources of the issue. I present this metaphor: You are in a lifeboat, and there is a small hole in the bottom of the boat filling the boat with water. In order to keep the boat afloat, you devise a plan to remove a section of the hull from another part of the boat to fix the initial hole. The only problem is that the wood used to fix the hole created another hole in the bottom of the lifeboat. Now the hole that had a makeshift fix is still leaking water, at a slower rate albeit, but the solution to the problem left a hole in the boat, undermining the initial fix. In this metaphor, it would be far more intelligent to take wood from maybe the side of the boat to fix the hole, not the bottom. The analogous answer for climate change isn't as easy a fix. Neither is committing to change for an unforeseen future easy, nor accepting that the comfort we have comes at an ultimate price for our (and every other) species on the planet. Difficulty isn't the problem; it is complacency that will drive us towards darkness, both on our electric grid and in the advancement of our species.