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Friday, April 2, 2010

Lovelock irresponsibly promotes the Eat, Drink, and Be Merry Scenario

Dear Readers,

Lovelock says it is time to eat, drink and be merry because there is nothing we can do to save the planet.

He's 90.  He's had his day.  We get that.

But I have a 24-year-old daughter. 

Maybe there is much that cannot be saved. 

But we do not need to go down the path of extinguishing all life on this planet, including the human species.

That's just crazy.

We have to do what we can to save something.  We don't need to turn this place into a hell hole of toxic fumes. 

Civilization and most human knowledge may be lost, but to turn the entire planet into a wasteland where nothing lives is, well, a sin, in my opinion.

OK, so below is some of what he had to say and a link to the rest on the BBC.


Lovelock: 'We can't save the planet' 
Professor James Lovelock, the scientist who developed Gaia theory, has said it is too late to try and save the planet.

The man who achieved global fame for his theory that the whole earth is a single organism now believes that we can only hope that the earth will take care of itself in the face of completely unpredictable climate change.
Interviewed by Today presenter John Humphrys, videos of which you can see below, he said that while the earth's future was utterly uncertain, mankind was not aware it had "pulled the trigger" on global warming as it built its civilizations.


3 comments: said...

Thanks, Tenney. Lovelock has been a hero of mine and he may be right about the planet. I also have children in their twenties and it's insane to encourage business as usual on steroids. At least as a spiritual practice we each must do what we can. We influence each other. We can help each other. The transition can be better or worse and if it's every man for himself, it will be much worse.

Andrew MacDonald said...

I'm a fan of Lovelock's also and admire his dispassionate and erudite commentary. This short video doesn't show much of his thought, but he does say that we should be into adaptive behaviors now (how we can mitigate effects) since we can't prevent some effects from happening. I don't see him advocating eat, drink, and be merry and he himself doesn't do that; he recently published The Vanishing Face of Gaia and I think speaks out regularly.

I think rather than eating, drinking and being merry, the reality is closer to: every tiny thing we do will help or hinder someone down the road.

Cougar said...

Species processes are not fractal and as you drill deeper you see something different. As such there are always two messages in flight. One is for individuals, the other is for the species. The messages are different, as they should be; no single individual person can be called to sacrifice themselves for our species.

This applies to our response to global climate change as readily as it applies to reproduction.

For the individual, the message on impacts is this; Understand that your daily life activities do impact the planet, and the accumulation of individual activities can change the planet's ability to support future generations. At all times live as lightly as you can to have as little impact as possible. In this way you will be leaving more for your children after you have lived the full measure of your years and are dead.

For the species, the message is this; Understand that you have grown too numerous too quickly. You have leveraged technology on a massive and unregulated scale to change the planet on which you evolved. The world is finite. You do not have another world to turn to. You have gone past the point of simple survival and have enter the realm of collective madness. Stop this, or perish.

I believe this dichotomy is more commonly accepted than actually discussed. I've heard Lovelock in other interviews say "You might as well enjoy your life while you can" which remains sound advice even during a crisis. And I am a firm subscriber to the reality (sorry) that a few individuals sacrificing themselves "for the greater good" will not help even the greater good. We are without question past the life style adjustment "right choices" stage of things. We won't get 90% emission reductions by changing light bulbs or driving less. We might by getting rid of lighting entirely, and driving not at all, but that isn't a perceived option for most or many or even any. Sorry, I don't write the rules nor the propaganda and neither do you.

So he's correct. We need something else to happen globally -- across the species -- or else we're toast. And until the world as a whole pulls together you might as well relax and do what you feel is right in the meantime because you sense a moral imperative to do so ... but NOT because you are going to change anything on the greater scale, because you won't because you simply cannot. Don't worry about that part. You will enjoy you life more because you have done the right thing as you see it, and that's perfect.

If the species (through the leadership and at the local level globally) is smart enough as a whole to see the danger and react appropriately then we have a future. If not, then we never did. We had a good run but we blew it in the end. Something will come after. It matters not in the slightest.