On Having Hope: Part 1

I’ve noticed lately that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stay on task until the job is done.  Trivial jobs, like carrying the recycling out or finishing a blog entry before the thought escapes me are routinely left undone for no other reason than that I abandon or forget them ere completion.

With physical tasks, like the recycling, a lot of the difficulty is very understandable, for M.S. makes all such things much more difficult.  But why the interference with work related things?

Part of it has to do with one of the same things I continually encounter as an obstacle people have as I try to communicate my vision to them: hope.

At first glance, people almost always think my prediction of an inevitable, human inspired and created, Gaiacide here on Earth is a hopeless view of the future.

I do not.  I see it as a realistic observation of what is happening and what can and cannot be done about it.  I, too, at first felt a strong  depression and was only vaguely, intellectually, aware of any hope.  But then the role of thankfulness became a factor.

I see humanity’s hands around Gaia’s throat, chocking off her air and watching her face turn blue.  And, alone, I’m incapable of relaxing the muscles of the hands that do the chocking.  I cannot imagine a movement large enough to effect that kind of a change in society’s behavior.  There are just too many people on Earth with too little reason to try to do anything more noble than care for their children and themselves.  And there are about 220,000 more of them today than yesterday.  Every day.

I believe, too, that the threat is far greater than a mere threat to the survival of our species’ dominance on the planet, or even to our avoiding extinction.  I think events we will trigger, or may have already triggered, are destined to kill all life on this planet.

No, “think” is not strong enough.  I know it.

So, well you might ask, “What’s so optimistic about that?”

Well, I also see an avenue to save Gaia’s life.

In one sense you might think it hopeless, for her body will be left as a corpse, when all is said and done.  But, in another, the future is brilliantly hopeful, for it is, essentially a rebirth-a new start for humankind (or maybe for a more highly evolved species).  A new Eden.

But the means of getting there is like magic.  And most people distrust magic.

My generation saw the magic manifested, if only in the alpha version.  None of us understood it all, but we all knew what made it possible.  The magic, of course, was space travel.  What made it possible was dedicated effort, on a massive scale, of the people.

Our motivation back then had to do mostly with a sense of a struggle with a life threatening enemy, the USSR.  Today a far greater enemy is threatening all of humanity, but, rather than focusing our attention on the real enemy, our leaders are denying it exists at all.

But I don’t want to neglect that for which I am  thankful.  I am so thankful that I realized the situation before it was closer to being a reality (1986).  There is still time left.

I’m thankful that I researched my perceptions before attacking the issues directly.  Having done so gave me time to deal with my own depression and the knowledge that makes the obvious solution a credible basis for hope.

You see, it is impossible to see the probable future (the utter destruction of the environment) as inevitable without seeing the only possible solution.  If Earth is going to die, then the only option for saving Gaia is to get off Earth.

(To be continued)

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3 Responses to On Having Hope: Part 1

  1. Hank Raymond says:

    George, I can’t get this page to display properly on Internet Explorer 7. This box and the 3 above don’t display on my monitor in Internet Explorer 7.

    Your fears of all life on the planet dying because of humans releasing all the buried carbon may be unfounded. The earth has experienced this before, just 56 million years ago during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) You can read about it here:
    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2011/10/hothouse-earth/kunzig-text
    and you can see the photos from that article here:
    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2011/10/hothouse-earth/kunzig-text
    My copy of National Geographic with that article (October 2011) also has some graphs, but I don’t know where they are online. There will be hugh changes if we dig up all the carbon and release it into the atmosphere, but if the PETM is any indication, we won’t eliminate life, but only change it. Humans may well not survive it, but life most likely will.

    • George says:

      Hank:

      I apologize for not posting this earlier. The notification I used to get via e-mail is no longer coming to me and I just stumbled upon this comment awaiting approval. I have a response, but am too tired to compose it tonight.

      Until tomorrow (or maybe one more day)

    • george drake says:

      Hank:

      I am familiar with the PETM from the article you have given me and from James Hansen’s treatment in Storms of my Grandchildren. (I highly recommend that source, BTW). I’m also aware that nothing I predict is a scientific certainty.

      What matters most to me is the degree to which the public at large takes for granted the opposite position. While there is no proof that life cannot survive humanity, the arguments that there is proof that it will in the fossil record are totally specious.

      The easiest way to show the fallaciousness of that thinking is to point out that I cannot be killed by illness because I was almost killed as a child form Valley Fever.

      It is worth noting that 95 % of all life was destroyed in the PETM and temperature rise was something like 5 Degrees C (sorry-I don’t have the figures easily at hand). The possibility of runaway green house effect is quite possible, for the fact that temperature rose before is no guarantee it won’t exceed prior levels and/or that the runnaway effect won’t be triggered this time.

      In other words, neither of us knows with certainty. The question, then, Is should we proceed on the assumption that earth is safe, or that she is at risk? For me, the answer is unequivocal.

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