NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

June 25, 2013

By land and by sea

(Continued)

In our century, we could use a win-win, but what would it look like, who are the key players and how could we achieve it? How about saying the Earth and human beings are the key players? If that’s true, then right now we are causing our planet to change at an incredibly rapid rate, which may be fine with technology, but not for people.

Trouble is, Mother Earth is much tougher and more resilient than we are, newcomers among the species that have lived on the third planet from the sun. While we have never had to face anything like the severe challenges of climate change, our planetary home has seen much worse and lived to tell about it in its geologic records of ice ages, volcanic eruptions and drift from the single continent that once was all the high ground she had.

There was a buzz recently when a monitoring station in the 50th state recorded 400 parts per million of carbon in our atmosphere, 50 ppm more than the level climate scientists have warned is the maximum we can allow and survive. The reports noted that Mother Earth had not experienced such a high carbon level for many thousands of years, long before Adam and Eve.

So you see that for a win-win, we wouldn’t have to save the Earth, except that she is the head of household and we are all her dependents, so our survival depends on hers. Our reckless behavior in burning way too much fossil fuel way too fast won’t cause her any severe pain, but it will make this planet a living hell for us. The inferno that may await us, according to some prophets and preachers, will not be in the future, in an afterlife, but in the present, in this life.

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