On April 22nd a large percentage of the population of the earth will celebrate Earth day, to a greater or lesser degree. To be truthful, the vast majority will not celebrate earth day at all, but rather will be aware of a media phenomenon called “Earth Day”. The media, all over the world, will make Earth Day a reality to a lesser or greater degree. The media will let us all know that on April 22nd, there is some special attention that we ought to manage to direct towards our planet, the Earth. To some greater or lesser degree, it is safe to say that there will be a sizable percentage of the population in most industrialized nations around the world that will in some way or other acknowledge the existence of a celebration, of sorts, that has something, or other, to do with our planet Earth.
Inevitably, these references to our planet, Earth, will lead someone or other to mention Global Warming. There is even the possibility that Global Warming will be the main concern of the Media, after all what better way to get someone’s attention than to mention the possibility that a mass extinction phenomenon is in the works, and that the human race is most likely to be the protagonist of the ensuing drama that is likely being unveiled, slowly but surely, before our eyes. The media will mention the rising temperatures; the media will mention the polar caps, how they are melting at an alarming rate; the media will mention the struggles of certain species of animals that are being affected by the changing climate; the media will mention the rising levels of carbon dioxide; the media will mention the possibility of methane being injected into the atmosphere as a result of melting glaciers that will expose underlying deposits of methane in the soil; the media will likely mention Al Gore(in the United States that is very likely);the media will mention hurricanes, droughts, and all sorts of natural disasters that might befall us in consequence of the rising levels of CO2. The media might even mention possible solutions, like the development of aternative energy sources, or cleaner burning coal plants, or possibly even Nuclear alternatives. The media will probably try to give us an idea of how beautiful our planet is and how nice it would be to preserve that beauty. All in all the media, round the world will do it’s best to make us aware of how important it is to be in tune with our planet, and the possible dangers that our planet faces as a result of our existence. There is however, one fact about the phenomenon of Global Warming that the media will likely not mention.
All that we know about Global Warming and our planet Earth indicates that our planet is experiencing a change, and that the change is rather dramatic. The Earth’s temperature is climbing, the CO2 levels are climbing, the glaciers are melting, and species are beginning to vanish, or suffer hardships due to the warming. What is not being mentioned is what we dont know. We dont know if it’s too late to stop the consequences. We dont know if we have already gone beyond the point of no return. We dont know if the core of the Earth will not also warm. We do not really know the extent of the changes that we may be facing. The media will not likely mention our lack of knowledge for fear that some may use this admission as a reason to work against the proposed solutions. The media worldwide believes that it must somehow help us along the way to reducing CO2 emissions, and it must do so by espousing a polemic attitude that insists that we are in fact facing a very dangerous situation, but that at the same time there is something we can do about it. The media is not doing anything wrong, it is in fact doing everything right. Unfortunately doing everything right may well result in the wrong ideas being fostered, and those wrong ideas may well provide the basis for our extinction.
Extinction? Why would telling everyone about global warming lead to Extinction? The author must be crazy! Before you give up on this article, please understand that our problem here is not that we know, that is not the real problem. The problem is that WE DO NOT KNOW ENOUGH! We are in the dark when it comes to what the earth is really doing. We have no calculus that will tell us what to expect next from the Earth. Our best simulations cant even tell us what the weather will be like a week from now(at least not with precision.) WE CANNOT PREDICT WHAT THE EARTH WILL DO IN A MONTH MUCH LESS A YEAR, OR TEN YEARS OR A HUNDRED! We are in the dark! That is the ultimate truth, and in attempting to celebrate our Earth, and in attempting to make everyone aware of the problems we are facing as a planet, we will inevitably omit the truth. A crucial omission that can have cataclysmic consequences. The truth is we dont really know what is coming next.
Tomorrow could start out a beautiful day, and all our hopes, and aspirations may seem just outside our grasp for now, but certainly attainable in the long run. A beautiful day can sometimes give us a fleeting sense of immortality, that despite all our difficulties, despite our natural limitations, despite the overwhelming evidence of our past experience, there is in the sunlight, and in the cool wind, and sky high mountains, and the seemingly boundless oceans of the Earth a sense of immortal breath if only our spirit can spread it’s wings wide enough to master the infinite beauty of the world. Indeed on the morning of tomorrow we could find ourselves flirting with immortal dreams. Yet, by the afternoon of that very same day we may well be facing the end of everything that we are, or have ever been. We could be facing the infinite darkness of extinction. On the very same day when we flirted with unending wonder, and boundless potential, we could well face the end of all that is , or ever was, or ever will be.
I am sorry for my attempts at theatrics, but this is exactly the kind of precipitous drama we may be facing, for in reality, we are in the dark, we know almost nothing of what this dramatic rise in CO2 may lead to, for at the moment we are intoxicated with our own possibility for growth. The truth is few will admit how deceptive our present state of knowledge is concerning the Earth’s dymanic nature. The ones that believe in Global Warming will not admit the truth that we dont know much about our situation, because they know that doing so will open the door for the nay sayers who will take that admission of our real uncertainty and turn it into a war cry for abandoning any attempts at cleaning up our emissions since cleaning up our emissions will be expensive and those in denial feel that the money we will save by doing nothing goes a long way in justifying their own stance on this all important matter. We have been forced into a position where there is little ground for circumspection. The politics of Global Warming are likely going to become the principle forces in shaping the world’s perception of the real meaning of Earth Day. This reality could well prove fatal to our species if it continues into the next decade.
The last thing we can afford is to make Global Warming a battle ground for opposing political ideologies. The only possible direction that we can take at this point in the Global Warming phenomenon is towards the attainment of it’s underlying truth.. We must abandon contentious politics for a course that points to truth as the highest possible achievement in our attempts to deal with Global Warming and our relation to our planet Earth. This may sound fanciful,or pedantic but in reality it is the only way that we can guarantee that no matter what happens, no matter what the Earth may do next, we will be able to meet the challenge at our best. The only way to prepare for the possible battle for our collective lives(if this is what it will ultimately be) is to ascertain the truth of our present condition so as to enable us to understand as much as possible about our alternatives in the future, should that future turn out to be uncertain , and have multiple outcomes, as is likely the case. In order to meet the whole range of possibilities we must prepare ourselves in a wide range of capabilities. This can only be done if we abandon narrow minded ideologies for very broad, and open minded research and experimentation in intellectual, technological, social, and political sciences. as they might apply to the reality which we now face.
A change in climate, or living condition for our species will need to be met with a fundamental change of perspective and attitude of our species. We may well need to abandon our own selfish ego centric positions, for a more general perspective that seeks to preserve the whole, rather than a part of the world. The time may have come to expand our horizons not in theatrics, and empty gestures designed to get us into a better position to make personal gains, but in real hard core commitments to establishing a world community that is intimately connected through a fundamental allegiance to the global civilization as a whole. Grandiose as this may sound, it is most likely the only action that will serve us in contending with what may become a very difficult time for all in our world. This is a notion that you will not likely hear a lot about on Earth Day. The notion that we should all celebrate as one world on Earth Day is not likely to become the major theme in the media(especially the U.S. media.) Yet, this is most likely the most important aspect of Earth Day. Earth Day may not be a very big day in comparison to some other holidays today, but in the future it may turn out to be the most important of all holidays. The day when we celebrate our unity, and our life as one people.
In a world that seems on the verge of changing fundamentally, it is most likely that we as a species will have to change fundamentally as well. Conservation is most likely the key. In a world of dwindling resources, we cannot hope to continue in this wasteful present day manner. Our society needed to grow in the past, but now comes the hard part, to maintain our society, to maintain what we have grown. We cannot rebuild, for rebuilding requires destruction. Many civilizations in the past were very gifted when it came to growing, but few had the gift of permanence. This is the most challenging stage of our existence. With the phenomenon of Global Warming the challenge of maintaining our huge civilization will be more difficult. There is little time to waste on immature assumptions of grandeur, and privilege. Whatever time we waste on maintaining such outdated notions, is in reality being wasted on pondering and facilitating our own destruction. We must abandon the specious position of a self-centered existence for the vital position of an interdependent, ecumenical civilization.
Suffice it to say for now that Earth Day should be celebrated by all human beings, and that on this day it is a good idea to take a few moments to not only see and enjoy our beautiful , blessed Earth, but also to consider our present and future relationship to our fellow human beings on this our common home. It is vitally important that each of us considers these matters in earnest for we have likely entered upon a new common reality that will require the greatest care from all of us; that is if we wish to maintain our civilization, and our freedom.