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Why Climate Change? Don't We Have Enough to Worry About Already?

At a time when societies around the world are coping with the results of financial shenanigans and rising unemployment, there are even weightier matters confronting future generations. The economic crisis and the problematic job markets will eventually be sorted out, but do we also need to urgently deal with issues of climate change?

There is a lot of noise about global warming, but very little common understanding is being achieved. While we are focused on immediate concerns, we might be ignoring a looming future catastrophe. It is important to transcend our obsession with short-term gains (that's what forced the world economy into a tail-spin, after all) and carefully consider long-term consequences.

What are the actions of today that will affect the world of tomorrow? Because of our current behavior, what will our descendants be dealing with? Let's separate fact from fiction and face the very real effects of global warming and the extremes of climate change.

Recently there have been extensive revisions in the assessment of climate change issues by many scientific organizations. Greenhouse gasses are increasing dramatically due to huge industrial growth in China and India. Plus, with the thawing of the poles, rising sea levels are eminent (possibly 55 inches by the end of the century) and this puts the highly populated coastal areas in danger.

Changes are happening, but how do we know what they are?

Of course, our planet has been experiencing weather's ups and downs and highs and lows for billions of years. What makes us think the climate is changing more drastically now, and what could be causing it?

The invention of the Morse electric telegraph in 1837 made it possible to gather reliable observations over wide areas. In 1849, the Smithsonian Institution established a surface weather observation network across the United States, and similar systems were begun throughout Europe.

By the end of the 1800s, many countries had established national meteorological services that added to our store of scientific information regarding the world's dynamic weather patterns. So, as far as record-setting climate events are concerned, at least we have accurate information to review throughout the 1900s.

We also have reports spanning all of human history that document weather patterns for thousands of years. In addition, we have excellent geological evidence that provides data encompassing millions of years. It is clear that this exciting little planet has been going through extreme upheavals ever since it began.

Considering known cycles of the past, some say we are overdue for another ice age. Research suggests that the earth's magnetic field has been diminishing lately, and this could be a sign that a magnetic shift is eminent. The North and South poles might actually flip, causing catastrophic upheavals that could rearrange continents and severely shake up all forms of life. We know that such things have happened in the past, and they are sure to happen again -- but when?

We depend on the planet's magnetic field to protect the surface from deadly solar radiation. If it is currently becoming weaker, that won't help us much if the sun starts blasting us with extreme killer flares. Records indicate that our old reliable sun has recently been behaving in radical, unexpected ways, and it could fry the entire planet at any moment!

There are also more exotic views of upcoming earth changes...

Many researchers insist that ALL of the planets in our solar system are heating up, and climate change is not just a local condition, it is a far reaching cosmic development. There are those who speculate about a buildup of hyper-dimensional electromagnetic forces that will influence not just our own planet's weather, but the future evolution of our entire solar neighborhood.

Daring to behold an even larger perspective, some say that our solar system is going through a cycle that causes it to bob up and down through the disk of our Milky Way galaxy, and we are soon to come into alignment with the galactic plane of the ecliptic. This could result in a surge of unknown energy and particle phenomenon that has been repeatedly experienced before by our planet, but it is something that modern humans have not had to deal with before. Nobody knows how such a development would affect our civilization.

There is also a growing movement of doomsayers who insist that the world will endure some sort of significant transformational event on December 21, 2012, as suggested by the famed end of the Mayan Calendar and the puzzling prophecies of Nostradamus, as well as other metaphysical sources.

Yikes, it looks like fun times are ahead for planet Earth! But before we get too stressed out, let's settle down and confine ourselves to reliable, factual information. With a new emphasis on non-ideological scientific inquiry, we are getting a flood of studies that must be seriously considered. Clearly, we must deal with this matter now... along with all the other problems that can no longer be ignored.

George CarlinGeorge Carlin The Planet is Fine...

We're so self-important. So self-important. Everybody's going to save something now. "Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails." And the greatest arrogance of all: Save the Planet. What? Are these fucking people kidding me? Save the planet. We don't even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven't learned how to care for one another, we're gonna save the fucking planet?

I'm getting tired of that shit. Tired of that shit. I'm tired of fucking Earth Day, I'm tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren't enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world save for their Volvos.

Besides, environmentalists don't give a shit about the planet. They don't care about the planet. Not in the abstract they don't. You know what they're interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They're worried that some day in the future, they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn't impress me.

Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are fucked. Difference. Difference. The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We've been here, what, a hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? And we've only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the CONCEIT to think that somehow we're a threat? That somehow we're gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that's just a-floatin' around the sun?

The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles... hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages... And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet... the planet... the planet isn't going anywhere. WE ARE!

We're going away. Pack your shit, folks. We're going away. And we won't leave much of a trace, either. Thank God for that. Maybe a little styrofoam. Maybe. A little styrofoam. The planet'll be here and we'll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet'll shake us off like a bad case of fleas. A surface nuisance.

You wanna know how the planet's doing? Ask those people at Pompeii, who are frozen into position from volcanic ash, how the planet's doing. You wanna know if the planet's all right, ask those people in Mexico City or Armenia or a hundred other places buried under thousands of tons of earthquake rubble, if they feel like a threat to the planet this week. Or how about those people in Kilowaia, Hawaii, who built their homes right next to an active volcano, and then wonder why they have lava in the living room.

The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we're gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, 'cause that's what it does. It's a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed, and if it's true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new paradigm: the earth-plus-plastic. The earth doesn't share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn't know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, "Why are we here?" Plastic... asshole.

So, the plastic is here, our job is done, we can be phased out now. And I think that's begun. Don't you think that's already started? I think, to be fair, the planet sees us as a mild threat. Something to be dealt with. And the planet can defend itself in an organized, collective way, the way a beehive or an ant colony can. A collective defense mechanism. The planet will think of something.

UnacceptableWhat would you do if you were the planet? How would you defend yourself against this troublesome, pesky species? Let's see... Viruses. Viruses might be good. They seem vulnerable to viruses. And, uh... viruses are tricky, always mutating and forming new strains whenever a vaccine is developed. Perhaps, this first virus could be one that compromises the immune system of these creatures. Perhaps a human immunodeficiency virus, making them vulnerable to all sorts of other diseases and infections that might come along. And maybe it could be spread sexually, making them a little reluctant to engage in the act of reproduction.

Well, that's a poetic note. And it's a start. And I can dream, can't I? See I don't worry about the little things: bees, trees, whales, snails. I think we're part of a greater wisdom than we will ever understand. A higher order. Call it what you want. Know what I call it? The Big Electron. The Big Electron... whoooa. Whoooa. Whoooa. It doesn't punish, it doesn't reward, it doesn't judge at all. It just is. And so are we. For a little while.

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