Thoughts Sans Boundaries

What do we do?

Posted in musings by Aditya Moorthy on July 28, 2008

I have been pondering about the climate issue for a while now. Actually the term climate crises or issue has become so cliched that no one gives a second thought unless something big happens. Then people think about it for while, get agitated that nothing is being done and there is lot of media attention suddenly on climate change and then it slowly loses interest and the issue is dormant waiting for another big event to occur.

Looking at it pragmatically, there is little hope that CO2 emissions can be reduced. People are still exploring for oil in the Arctic circle, middle east, Americas and Russia and there is no indication of any slowdown in consumption. Developed countries are blaming the developing countries for emissions, developing countries are taking offense that the developed countries kept emitting CO2 during their industrial revolution and taking a double-standard towards developing nations. Under-developed countries continue to suffer with no hope in sight and the whole world is just chugging along.

I have been thinking about a scenario where there is no respite for CO2 emissions which seems to be likely and sometime in the future the oil runs out and we have alternate technology in place but the damage is already done. The planet is chocked with CO2 gases, glaciers have melted, most island nations are submerged and there is a huge influx of refugees from island nations to mainlands, coastal towns are submerged, unstable sea, poisonous air and erratic climate leading to drought and floods. This is a grim picture but does not seem impossible.

Let’s assume that this is how the world is going to look like sometime in the future. What do we do in such cases? I am sure one of the alternatives would be to explore the solar system and beyond for a suitable planet to colonise and humans start to migrate from this planet. So far we have not found any place in the solar system or beyond which is habitable freely. Assuming that we do find within traveling distance a piece of rock were we can set up a new base, is it going to be easy? Initially not but maybe technology will mature to make it easy. But is the effort worth it at all?

Nature evolved animals (including humans) and plants to co-exist without the need to go great lengths. Plants require carbon di-oxide and produce oxygen and animals require oxygen and produce carbon di-oxide. What more can we ask for from Nature. A nicely balanced set up where all one needs to do is maintain the balance. I don’t understand why we are bent upon upsetting the balance. Is it some kind of a group rush we all feel facing the uncertainty and trying out new things? Or is it arrogance that we can manage nature? Or is it ignorance – we understand but don’t internalise? Is it callousness?

I don’t know… what do we do?

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