Sunday, June 3, 2007

Who to believe?

I was looking for a nice relaxing nature documentary to watch... "Coral Reef Adventure" sounds so beautiful, no? Well, I put it on and first thing it starts out with is how the coral reefs are endangered... and this was going to be a little exploration in why they are dying in certain places...

I was a little unprepared, I have to admit, and though had it on, couldn't watch too carefully... I will have to get back to it again when I am more able to digest the information.

Turns out there are a lot of factors. Sea temperatures around coral rising as little as 2 degrees will cause the photosynthesizing algae to leave the coral, leaving the coral bereft of energy to grow... which does seem to be happening as a part of global warming. In addition there are problems of overharvesting the coral and its inhabitants... And a problem with silt from large scale logging operations both clogging the waters and clouding the sunlight... I never knew about the point of view of the coral reefs, but I certainly knew about the environmental problems that exist. It still catches in my throat every time I discover the scale of the problems - which we have known about for decades and still haven't solved.

Contrast that with my dad's sunny opinions: and my dad is a scientist and worked for the UN Environment Program. He figures we will have another 50-60 years of oil, and within 20 years we will be using extensive alternative energies... Maybe he watches too much Chinese cable TV, with their cheery propaganda? Or could it really be that our crisis will be more of a transition?

Well, as was pointed out in "A Crude Awakening," "Stone Age man didn't leave the Stone Age because he ran out of stones. Mankind didn't leave off using horses because he ran out of hay." In other words in no other period of human society have we ever depended so heavily and dramatically on as finite and polluting energy source and building material as oil.

Whoever you believe about the time and scale of the changes to come, they shall be dramatic, and within our lifetimes - how could it be otherwise? So snap in your seatbelts and take the ride.

We shall all be in this together, all colors of human shall ride this wave together, whether we can all get along or not, whether we can all agree or not... and maybe that is the meaning of the whole adventure in the first place: that we realize our differences are much less than our similarities, that our conflicts are less important than our harmonies. "I'd like to teach the world to sing!"

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