A few thousand years from now, this planet will be clean, peaceful, and advanced in knowledge, health, and everything we consider sophisticated and culturally valuable.
Or we will be gone.
The survival of the fittest will likely prevail, but survival of the smartest is a question mark in my mind.
Should we save the elephants?
I watch what is going on in the global conversation right now – so much talk. But action is stuck in gridlock mode because nobody knows the solution. For instance – on the heels of the COP25 conference of countries failing to achieve consensus on anything besides agreeing to meet again next year – I read the other day that Jeff Bezos invested $50 million in a cold fusion project. I also read that it was more money than that.
Is that the richest man in the world showing leadership in cold fusion?
Or, is it simply somebody with that much lint in his pockets saying, “Hey, let’s try this,” because if he were seriously committed to saving the world, it would be $50 billion.
I’m not belittling the man or any of his contemporaries (Musk, Gates, Branson, etc.) for throwing what most of us would consider significant sums at solving problems. But what issues are they trying to solve, aside from making sure their businesses continue to throw off lots of cash? Bezos investing $50 million is like me investing $100, a token investment but not full-throttle commitment in any sense.
The elephant in the room is climate change.
But the distraction from the elephant in the room is focused on conflating climate change, weather change, carbon dioxide misrepresentation, and politics.
The elephant in the room is not man. Yes, we’ve put plastics and other garbage in oceans. We should stop that. Yes, forms of energy pollute and make these problems worse – the big offenders are coal and developing countries, including big problem ones – India and China. They should stop that.
Weather on earth is caused by the sun. Climate is determined by many things, the sun being chief among them. But for the next few hundred years we probably won’t be able to replicate the sun’s energy production (Mr. Bezos and $50.0 million won’t make that happen), we will still need air to breathe, water to drink, and oceans where fish can thrive. And we should protect the elephants too. They, like so many other species which have been around for millions of years, want to survive.
Humans have been here a short while – about 200,000 years. It’s like we are house-guests; it’s been such a short while. We have been messy and uncaring, but that seems to be changing rapidly in most western/developed countries.
Some wiz-kid will find an energy solution, some other wiz-kid will solve the human parts of the problem, and somebody will save the elephants.
As for saving the planet from its weather and climate, I doubt Mr. Bezos and others like him, if the pooled all their money, could not make it happen. Why? Because the human-caused things endangering life as we’ve known it, are not solved with money or by stifling safe clean energy sources.
The problems are coal, India, and China.
The solution is to phase out coal usage globally until some wiz-kid can figure out how to convert it to natural gas. Those are far more practical approaches than trying to get wealth and wiz-kids to solve it all.
And, if you see an elephant in your room, give him something to eat and tell him we are trying. Tell him we are not trying nearly hard enough.
The reason for anything that happens is usually apparent to any observer – but those of us it is happening to have a less clear appreciation of it.
Being clear about what is happening to us is as clear, or not, as being clear about who we are – about our place in the world, our place in life, and the meaning of what we are doing, what we are struggling with, and what will matter tomorrow. And what will matter in a hundred tomorrows, or a hundred thousand.
We need wiz-kids like Bezos and Musk and Branson; we need the next generation too – we need countries who are prepared to meet all year long, not just next year on another topic, we need 12 yr. old Swedes in the news, but mostly we need to take this seriously. While count myself among those who think the zealousness of carbon-dioxide vilification is over the top and not correct, I don’t believe the sun cares. If I owned beachfront property anywhere on the planet, I would consider moving inland and to higher ground.
A few hundred years from now, this planet will still be here. There will be oceans and ice-caps, glaciers and weather – there will be elephants, but I’m not sure if there will be people. One would think, if we are the supremely intelligent beings that we are, we will find a way to live, to thrive, and to clean up our planet.
We can start with our own backyard.
We can do better. But we all can do more. I don’t just mean the Mr. Bezos can do more. We could start with China and India. We could tell our governments, and more importantly, tell the stores and websites where we shop, that we won’t send our money there as long as they keep burning coal. But, if we did that, we’d have to send a strong message to Mr. Trump and his houses of congress as well …
Coal is the enemy.
Elephants are our friends.
That should be clear to everyone who looks, and the foundational thinking of everyone who cares about our collective survival.