Sunday, February 18, 2007

Global Warming?

Want to make a hit at your next party? Just mention casually over a cocktail that global warming is all a crock. That'll liven things up!

I've been copied on some e-mail traffic among friends (at least, they were friends) and the conversation has devolved into diatribe. I'd like to say this is a healthy debate, getting both side's arguments out on the table. And I suppose it could be.

But I've seen this type of debate before. It seems that global warming is modernity's new religion. Either you believe, or you are branded a heretic. And by staking out one's position, and shoring up one's defenses (and constituents), we are simply drawing battle lines, and in the end, I think missing the whole point.

To carry the analogy further, the missed point in the religious debates was spirituality. Left battered and helpless on the doorstep of righteousness.

In this current debate, what is lost is the middle ground, and practical action that can and should be taken.

Free hand of capitalism, with no constraints on one side. Result — depleted natural resources, short-term focus, environmental degradation, monopolistic practices stifling alternative energy innovation (unless they can profit), etc.

Big Government and heavy taxation, with redistribution of wealth on the other. Result — inefficient markets, resulting uncompetitiveness, disincentivizing risk taking, and eventually congress or other bureaucracies picking the winners and losers of the business world, etc.

Nether extreme is a healthy place to be, IMHO.

I like many of the attributes of free market capitalism, but it needs to account for all of the “costs”. Then the efficient market can find those most creative at balancing all of the variables that we are talking about here. Environmental impact. Exploitation of limited, natural resources. Etc.

You can see it will require a wise combination of business and legislation to make this work, not only in the United States, but across the globe (since, after all, we are talking about global implications, global resources, and global ecosystems).

If we stop trying to divide ourselves into camps based on philosophical, political, and ideological grounds, and instead start to suggest the healthy compromises that will make the system and the markets truly accountable, we may get somewhere.

Otherwise, just a lot of fireworks. Which are fun to watch, but after the show, all you have is a cloud of haze, and a somewhat putrid smell in the air.


sushil yadav said...

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.

Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.

A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.

Fast visuals/ words make slow emotions extinct.

Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys emotional circuits.

A fast (large) society cannot feel pain / remorse / empathy.

A fast (large) society will always be cruel to Animals/ Trees/ Air/ Water/ Land and to Itself.

To read the complete article please follow either of these links :




Pat said...

I agree with you, Steven, and I also sense the truth in what sushil yadav is saying.
I hold out the hope that we as humans can learn to balance both our emotions and our technology without having to choose.

Steven Crisp said...

Sushil Yadav,

Wow -- I checked out your links (only the first one was working at this late date), and found a lot more material there. I guess my question back to you is "so what do we do"?

My sense is that we cannot (practically) slow down the world, although there are many who are against modernity for many reasons, and that may well be one of them. But my sense is that we CAN slow down ourselves. We get to choose how we engage with the world, and whether we spend quality time with nature, in tune with its rhythms, or bombarded by the media from a variety of media.

And I am not as pessimistic as you on the future. I like to take the "really long view". Worst case scenario: humans continue destroying the environment and themselves. Earth continues, battered indeed, and evolves. It is amazingly resilient, as we have seen through evolution's adaptations to previous natural catacalysmic events.

We won't necessarily be here to watch, but hey, that's Life with a big "L".

And who knows, with enough awakening, perhaps we will sterr the course of at least the manmade impacts, and keep our species around long enough to learn from our mistakes. That would be adaptation, which is key to evolutionary survival.

Steven Crisp said...

Pat, thanks for your visit. The more I investigate this global warming phenomenon, the more I realize just how little we understand. It is really quite humbling. Which is good, I think.

I also believe, even in the face of uncertainty, we can see the wisdom in sustainable living. And lord knows, we in this country have much to learn about that.