The Current Environment

“Scientists decided to move the hands on the so-called “Doomsday Clock” two minutes closer to midnight. It’s sparked a debate over whether environmentalism has become all about raising awareness about the earth by scaring its inhabitants half-to-death.”

From CBC’s The Current’s podcast page on Earth Day, 22/04/2008: “Catastrophizing” Earth Day [mp3 file: runs 23:59] – an interview with  Marq De Villiers on his book Dangerous World Understanding Natural Calamities and Protecting Human Survival.

Is calamity a motivator? or just anxiety producing?

If Tungusta hit London, it would wipe it out. Nudge it out of the way first. Earthquakes and terrible building codes would flatten Tehran. Enforce better building codes. Overdue eruptions out of Yellowstone calderas could wipe the US clean. Do we have the willpower, the political will, to prevent the problem?

Are people a cancer destroying the Earth organism? Do we have the means to distribute the resources to deal with this? Is apathy the problem? Do we need a shock?

Do we have a “pornographic eagerness for apocalypse?”

Interviewed after the break, and not on the podcast, was Brian Fagan, authour of The Great Warming, Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations.

“In some areas, including Western Europe, longer summers brought bountiful harvests and population growth that led to cultural flowering. In the Arctic, Inuit and Norse sailors made cultural connections across thousands of miles as they traded precious iron goods. Polynesian sailors, riding new wind patterns, were able to settle the remotest islands on earth. But in many parts of the world, the warm centuries brought drought and famine. Elaborate societies in western and central America collapsed, and the vast building complexes of Chaco Canyon and the Mayan Yucatan were left empty.”

I think the summary is: Worry less and do more. Argue less and fix the obvious problems.

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