Global warming, a reality or hoax?
Global warming is serious. A recent study by NASA researchers detailing the “unstoppable” trajectory of glacial melting in Antarctica is raising alarm bells around the world — or at least in scientific communities and with politicians actually paying attention. Due to warmer seas, the lifespan of many ancient glaciers strewn across massive sections of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has been shortened considerably. Within the next several hundred years, Pine Island, Haynes, Thwaites and Smith glaciers, along with others, will disappear. The result will be a rise in sea levels of four feet or more.
While this spells bad news for coastal populations, in my opinion, it doesn’t spell bad news fast enough. It’s like cramming for a difficult test. You do all of the work at the last minute, even though you’ve been given plenty of time for prep, and then hope and pray that you’ll pass.
Melting glaciers and rising oceans levels are a thorny problem, but with decades, if not centuries, to procrastinate, many believe we can dally about until it’s time to “cram” and deal with the problem in a concentrated, globally cooperative manner — or else we can just learn how to swim for years on end.
It’s not that I want glaciers to retreat faster, yet a quickening of the pace — in a perverse sort of logic — might actually help catch the attention of a fickle public, and a rapid-fire news cycle hopping from one “crisis” to the next. The human mind tends to measure time in terms of a single human lifespan or a couple of generations at most.
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“Breaking News: Everyone in New York, London, Hong Kong and Singapore Is Going to Drown — In About 200 Years”
That first bit is great. It catches the attention of a news consumer, but the ending, unfortunately, destroys the deadly urgency. When we’re stressed or feel threatened, adrenaline and cortisol shoot into our brain and makes us pay attention. The 24-hours news cycle relies on that fact to keep viewers engaged. Even though our conscience might tell us to be concerned about the well-being of future generations, 200 years or more lowers the level of imminent threat, which means we can now change the channel and do something better with our time — like catching up on “Game of Thrones.”
Global warming has a mystical history. Speaking of “Game of Thrones” in relation to a reactionary media that adores danger and a significant part of the population that still insists on framing global warming as a “debate,” I’d like to take a brief, albeit related detour for a moment and talk about the Lannisters. If you’re not familiar with this awesome television series, don’t worry. All you need to know is that various houses and dynasties are competing for dominance of a mythical kingdom.
House Lannister, headed by Tywin Lannister, does a lot of bad things in the name of survival and legacy. Even so, Tywin has one noble trait that people living in the real world — regardless of nationality or beliefs — would do very to emulate. He worries about the future for many generations to come, which means hundreds, or perhaps even thousands of years. True, he does so for selfish motivations, yet this doesn’t keep him from planning far ahead.
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Time is a matter of perspective and many of us need to get off the daily or weekly clock. Just because it’s unusually cold or warm outside doesn’t mean the planet is doomed or out of harm’s way. A bit of a longer view of things just might help save the planet, which really is just a clever, attention-diverting way of talking about how we’re going to save ourselves.
Nations, political groups and individual citizens need to survive in the here and now. This basic fact often keeps us from addressing major problems that appear to be a long way off. Global warming that doesn’t happen overnight won’t grab our attention. Climate change will keep chipping away until one day future generations we’ll never get meet (unless you’re planning on being cryonically preserved) will wonder what the hell we were thinking.
Glaciers that die over decades and centuries aren’t sexy news. If a giant chunk suddenly breaks off, and New York or Sydney is quickly underwater, we’ll have to pay attention. I really hope that doesn’t happen, but if it did, I’m sure even FOX News would cover the story — although they’d probably blame illegal immigrants or the poor for the flooding due to the wrath of God because we were taking it too easy on illegal immigrants and the poor.
“Breaking News: Liberals and Poor People Piss God Off.
Bigger Border Fence Needed to Keep Out Illegals and Floodwater”