Monday, January 18, 2016

Doug Tarnopol in Rhode Island on the perils of unchecked global warming (from the New York Times)

One comment in particular of the 90 comments following the heartfelt oped in the NYT titled CANCER AND CLIMATE CHANGE by Piers Sellers

was from Doug Tarnopol in Rhode Island, who said:

"I agree that one has no choice but to try, at whatever level, but I'm fairly certain our post-medieval civilization is approaching endgame. Perhaps even the species itself, if not to the point of actual extinction. The species has reached the point warned by many along the way but perhaps by none so pointedly as Jonathan Swift in Gulliver's Travels: our power over our environment has far outstripped our power over ourselves.

So, we can make all the hopeful noises we like to salve this fear I think everyone sees, if only out the corner of the eye, as it were.

Again, I basically land whereh Sellers does. Just without the whole "hope" thing -- there is no such thing. There is only action or inaction, plus luck and contingency. Look deep in your heart: would you really give up something like, say, owning your own car for the mere benefit of future generations? We want convenience more than justice, more than survival, even. (I'd love to blame it all on capitalism, which surely magnifies human selfishness and shortsightedness. But I wonder. However, we ought to run the experiment and see if it's really "us" or "the system.")

At least we should achieve the maturity to look ourselves and what we've wrought in the face without illusions. For its own sake, but also because the only up and out is by realizing the hole one is in: morally, ecologically, politically.

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