For the past fifty years or so, the human race has nearly tripled in population. The United States has doubled in the same time, to just over 300 million. Americans learned to build bigger and more powerful automobiles, massive shopping centers, commercial jet airliners, bigger and more comfortable homes with central air conditioning, and developed a culture of consumerism which drives the economic engine of the entire world. Americans consume a quarter of the world’s man-made energy production, represent a quarter of the world’s economy, but only have 3 of 70, about 4%, of the world’s people.
America is seen by the outside world as fat, lazy, and wasteful. Americans don’t care about anyone else. What is worse, other nations wish to emulate these wasteful, destructive ways. Unfortunately, Nature has begun to rebel. Soon, the rebellion may take its toll on our culture.
Oil was just discovered in the U.S. for commercial uses about 150 years ago, and in that time mankind has consumed about half of all the economically recoverable oil that has or will ever be found. Between the combustion of oil, gas, coal, and other fossil fuel derivatives, the carbon dioxide concentration in the air has increased more than 70% in the last 150 years. There is no question that man is the cause. Nature is unforgiving in its judgment and punishment of the offending culprit.
Nature’s solution to a world governed by man is to begin to overheat. This is global warming. Temperatures are on the rise. The poles are melting, the glaciers have nearly disappeared, the coral reefs are dying, and the cyclonic storms become more severe and more numerous. The sea levels rise, at first only ten meters in this century, but 50 meters in the next. Droughts will be longer, climates become more arid, and soil turns to dust and sand. Water sources dry up, food becomes scarce, and economies are wrecked. Foolish leaders, in a desperate attempt to steal from others that have better environments, foment wars of acquisition. Instead of fighting for means to solve the crises, nations fight for what’s left over in a dying human culture. It is Armageddon in our own time.
Human leaders are not unlike bacteria in a culture on a Petri dish. Merely place a few drops of sugar water on the dish, and watch the culture bloom around the resource. Times are good. Wait. Within hours or days, the bacteria farthest from the sugar die, and later, the entire culture is dead. No worries, just get another dish, some more sugar, and some more bacteria, then try again. The mark of pure genius, according to many human leaders, is to try the same thing over and over in hopes that there will be a different outcome. Scientists know this method. It is called blind faith. Scientists also know the outcome of these approaches. It is called death.
We are an intelligent species. We should be able to outperform bacteria.
Global warming is evidence that we are failing in this regard.
What do you think we need to do to adapt?