What have you done today to lower your impact?

We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.

Blog Archive

Monday, 28 September 2009

The folly that is Geo Engineering w/ video

First a little primer on geoengineering from Bill Becker over at Climate progress;

"If you are not yet familiar with geo-engineering, I will attempt to define it in non-technical terms before offering a few observations on the new research:

  • Geo-engineering is the practice of messing around with global life-support systems we don’t understand. If we did understand them, we might not be in the pickle we’re in today. Or at least it would be a greener pickle.
  • Geo-engineering is a relatively new field based on the outdated and repeatedly discredited assumption that we humans are smart enough and wise enough to rule over the rest of the biosphere. Rather than applied engineering, we might call it “applied conceit”.
  • Contrariwise and at the same time, geo-engineering is a symptom of our growing skepticism that we are able to stop climate change with rational solutions such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, carbon pricing and behavioral changes. In other words, interest in geo-engineering is rooted in the idea that although we’re too stupid to do the simple things that would slow climate change, we’re smart enough to do the improbable things.
  • Geo-engineering is one outgrowth of our apparent learning disability about the law of unintended consequences. That law would be unleashed full-force once we started manipulating the oceans and atmosphere to create what one environmentalist calls “the Frankenplanet”. Geo-engineering is like a grownup version of whack-a-mole, where hammering down one problem causes others to pop up, to our great surprise."

This geo engineering craze is the same kind of thinking that got us into the problem we are now facing with runaway climate change. Hubris in the extreme. In our arrogance we assume we know how to engineer nature to make into something we want it to be, look around and you can see where that got us. The biosphere is an unbelievably complex system that developed over 4.5 billion years and we think that with the knowledge we have developed in a few hundred years we can design something better? Our "engineering" has nearly brought about the unraveling of the entire planetary ecosystem. That paradigm must be put aside.

Aside from that obvious drawback it is dangerous in that geo engineering encourages us to continue on with our over consumptive ways. THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE TO CUTTING EMISSIONS! If we don't the oceans will acidify beyond the point where they can support life. We are entirely dependent upon the ecosystem services that the oceans provide as living breathing habitats full of diversity.

Geo Engineering also cleverly sidesteps the issues of the limits to growth. We are running up against them in everything we do.

Geo Engineering is being supported by the big oil and coal companies because they see it as a way to continue business as usual. Other major corporations see it as a profit making venture and hope that we will continue to believe that we can pass responsibility for global climate change out of our own hands into theirs. This is folly.

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