Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A higher calling

"You bring them in, and you say, "ladies and gentlemen, you belong to the single greatest profession on the face of the Earth. This is the profession which makes all others possible. You are the ones who will man the ramparts, you are the ones who will make possible music, opera, all the things we associate with our civilised society. You make possible the footy that takes place on the Saturdays, and the cricket, and the parties which take place. You are the sentinels of democracy.""

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Why climate change activism is humanocentric

A few weeks ago, I posted a question asking why it was important that humans continue to survive. A few days ago, I was talking to a few friends on public transport and a thought arose that made itself into the title of this post; namely, that climate change activism is a humanocentric activity.

Think about it: who benefits the most if we manage to successfully mitigate the effects of climate change? Humans do. We retain our primacy as the supreme species on the planet. If we aren't successful, then billions die and, in a worst case scenario, we get thrown back to some sort of pre-Industrial level of civilisation. Certainly, we would lose our ability to influence the environment as much as we do currently.

Climate change activists may argue that they are attempting to save the environment, to save Life in its entirety. But Earth has experienced temperatures far higher than anything being predicted, and Life has still survived. In the last 540 million years, five major extinction events have occurred, one of which, the Permian-Triassic extinction event 251 million years ago, wiped out 90-96% of all species then present. And yet the sheer diversity of Life present today still persisted through it all. And Life will persist through any catastrophic climate change event as well. Humans, probably not as likely. But we're just one species, of one family. In the greater scheme of things, we aren't the most numerous nor the most widespread of species on this planet, so does it really matter if we make it or not?

I mean, if humans are so bad for the environment and all that, wouldn't it actually be better if we all died, thereby saving the planet from our evil artificial corrupting influence?

Of course, climate change activists wouldn't agree with what I've said. They can't admit that they're just as afraid of dying as the rest of us. At least the rest of us don't have to put up a fa├žade about the environment to justify it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Twelve years

It has been twelve years since the day the world changed. Twelve years worth of children growing up knowing fear, and war, and the scourge of terror. Twelve years worth of children who were not alive to see the fateful day when civilian aircraft became weapons of war. Of all the people on Earth, I envy and pity these children the most, that they never experienced life void of a world in which terrorism and conflict play such a casual role.

A dozen years since a younger me watched the live news coverage of planes flying into buildings, of people who preferred to fall to their deaths than be burned alive, of the unleashed fury of a nation and a peoples united in their grief. A younger me was prematurely thrust to the precipice of of adulthood, was reminded of the bonds of kinship that unite the world. On that day, I felt like an American. On that day, I felt like a citizen of this planet.

I have had the honour of visiting the 9-11 memorial in New York City. It is a quiet, sombre place - no towering monuments, no gold or glitter. Two pools of remembrance, gouged out of the very flesh of New York like a scar that will never quite heal. 2,958 innocent people plucked from our midst, but not from our memory. Innocent men, women and children going about their daily lives. Firefighters, police, first responders who charged up the stairs no less valiantly than the men at Lexington and Concord, or Gettysburg, or on the beaches of Normandy. We are all the poorer that they have been taken before their time.

In this year, in the twelfth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, we conclude our military involvement in the Middle East. As we step into the unknown future, may it always be with an eye and a thought towards the events of the past that have led to our present.

Lest We Forget.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Arguing with Greenies

Had an interesting thought whilst arguing with some Greenpeace supporters on the Greenpeace International Facebook page today.

"even the worst predictions of global warming won't lead to conditions that remove life from Earth. Life, on Earth, is amazingly resilient. We've found bacteria that grow in boiling sulphur pools. We've found bacteria that can survive temperatures over 120 degrees Celsius. We've found bacteria that can survive exposure to the vacuum of space, bacteria that can feed off radiation in the cooling towers of nuclear plants, bacteria that can process basic elements no other lifeform on Earth can, and survive. Even if humans manage to kill ourselves and any other large vertebrate animal, life will find a way to survive. On a genetic level, does it really matter what form that life takes? Does it change, in one iota, if it's humans that inherit the Earth, or Escherichia coli? I mean, humans aren't the most populous species on the planet, either in terms of mass or number. And, if we're apparently the cause of all of the world's problems, wouldn't it make more sense to just do away with humankind completely, and leave Nature free to propagate without our influence? In your imagination, does your ideal Earth have humans on it?"