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The Hidden World of the Nearby

REQUIEM


For a civilization. II.

IS THIS THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE?


So far.

WHY AM I WRITING THIS?


To avoid sleeping outdoors in my pajamas tonight.

SHOULD YOU READ THIS?


Probably not.

So what’s the point?

I really don’t know.

So what makes you do it?

Maybe it will keep me from upsetting Susan further.

So what’s going on?

Humanity.

O.K. Here goes...

Just reading about the weather in Texas in the New York Times and a letter I got from a friend about how we need to follow Darwin’s advice and “adapt” to the changing climate.

If that wasn’t enough, the Times had a story about people who scam old ladies out of their life savings. About $20 billion per year.

I first read about climate change about 20 years ago.

It talked about positive feedback when the tundra melts and releases methane. My first though was “we’re screwed. I am profit.

What has happened? We have discovered human nature. What have we discovered? Actually it’s been known for a long time. Humans do not respond to warnings about the future likely because we evolved as hunter-gatherers and the future was very short compared to what it is today, and there was usually some place to move to. So what happened?

Agriculture came. Food production soared and the hunters were unemployed, so they founded “civilization” which mostly meant wars ostensibly for religious reasons but really for power.

Then came technology in the form of the steam engine and with that carbon dioxide.

In 1824 Joseph Fourier discovered the greenhouse effect. A few years later steam power and the burning of fossil fuels began wholesale generation of greenhouse gases. Scientist knew.

In 1959 the physicist Edward Teller, inventor of the hydrogen bomb, addresses the 100th anniversary celebration of the beginning of the oil industry. He told them about global warming. Then they did their own research and confirmed his projections and buried the news. They are still fighting regulation. But now it is too late. Why?

Because the CO2 which began at about 270 ppm (parts per million) is now well over 400.

If we stop all greenhouse gas output today, the earth will continuing warming for at least 1,000 years and become mostly uninhabitable.

When was the last time we could have done anything about this? About 1980. James Hansen addressed congress in 1988 and John Sununu quashed the effort proposed by the president.

The borrom line?

I once had a tiny fine art publishing company that was bought by angle investors. It was called EverColor® Fine Art. The chairman, in one of our meetings, told me that the only thing that mattered was “shareholder value.”

On the big screen (Wall Street) or wherever investors are at work it means low taxes and no regulation or making money-pumps to take from the poor and give to the rich and to continue doing this no matter what the consequences.

Global warming is one of the consequences and the investors have continuterd to warm the earth despite clear warnings for at least 50 years.

Could anything save us? Sure. A miracle. At this stage a very slim chance of building a few thousand nuclear powered air scrubbers (besides reducing emissions to zero). But we will be fighting climate disasters, the virus and human nature.

Any bets?

Below: Guarantor

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