Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Tell me I’m wrong.

Filed under: children,consuming,fallacies,naïveté — alison @ 06:43

I’m fed up with all the pious concern about greenhouse gases. Really.

Most or all the remaining fossil fuel underneath the earth is going to end up as C02 in the atmosphere. The question is when: are we going to move it all from the earth to the air in the next 50 years? Or 200? But we are going to move it. So what’s the fuss?

No, we can’t compensate for fossil fuels in the air by replanting the forests we’ve cut down. The carbon that was in the forests is now in the air. If we replanted all the forests we cut down, they would suck up all the CO2 released by cutting down the original forests. The fossil CO2 would still be out there.

Besides, we can’t significantly replant the forests. Not without reducing the human population to below a million (and keeping it there). The land the forests used to occupy is needed for human habitation and agriculture.

It’s too late anyway. Does anyone remember when the Kyoto accord was signed? And how we were all so disappointed because it was too little, too late, and anyone who thought that Kyoto targets were meaningful had missed the point? Well. We’ve missed our Kyoto targets. And if they were too little, too late, then we are up shit creek, aren’t we.

I know it’s not polite to say, because having children is what people do and for most parents is the most (difficult but) satisfying part of their lives, but I honestly don’t know what people think they are accomplishing when they reproduce.


  1. I was messing about in the blogs that follow the political articles this morning and deciding that I will enjoy being as cynical I am. Then I read this. Your piece here takes cynicism a new distance. Opens up new space for the practice, as it were! Bravo!

    I think you may be wrong about a dramatic detail or two — for example, I do think that a gloriously forested world could sustain more than a million people, and that to live a good life we don’t have to do agriculture or settlements in sprawling fashion as we have done recently — but I do hope to God you’re wrong that it’s just too late.

    Comment by Susan W. — Thursday, October 16th, 2008 @ 07:06

  2. Wow, Alison. Seriously cranky. Put your dog on your chest and go for walk! I love the smell of autumn don’t you? All those leaves… (hee hee)

    Ethan says hi…


    Comment by Katinka — Thursday, October 16th, 2008 @ 07:53

  3. You’re wrong.
    Feel better?

    Comment by Sophie — Thursday, October 16th, 2008 @ 08:57

  4. I am a suprememe pessimist or optimist depending on who agrees with me…I believe it is too late…we are doomed by our own selfish unstoppable disposable greed. My hope is that the planet will self implode within the next 100 years or some virus will wipe out the human race. Done, finito, over & out.

    Comment by Char — Thursday, October 16th, 2008 @ 18:57

  5. I just worry if a virus takes out the human race (a frequent fantasy of my own) then what about the massive plastic nets that are drifting about on their own in the oceans tangling up the beings that live there, and the nuclear generating stations that would hum away all by themselves, and the industrial chemicals that have infiltrated the soil everywhere that cause cancer and genetic mutations? Who will clean up and turn off all these things? The beings of this planet can’t do it by themselves. We’ve imposed these things on them, and we can’t abandon them with the mess we’ve made that’s causing them so much harm!

    Overwhelming, isn’t it?

    Gee. Thanks, Alison!

    Comment by Susan W. — Friday, October 17th, 2008 @ 05:58

  6. I like what I heard Suzuki say on the radio the other day: People who say the Earth is sick are wrong, the Earth is just fine and will continue to be fine long after the human species is extinct by its own hand. (my paraphrasing)

    Comment by Adam Wasserman — Sunday, October 19th, 2008 @ 12:58

  7. How cheerful. Personally, I had sort of decided as much (along with the remarks of Adam and Susan) when I was 11. Now I try not to be so incredibly pessimistic on a day to day basis. Anyways, as to reproducing? Well, it is sort of the same as human relationships, or even continuing to stay alive instead of offing oneself this afternoon, since we are all going to break up, or die, anyways. The point of human reproduction from the individual point of view, with few cases, has been about the present, and people’s own lifetimes, rather than some longterm view. Hell, the majority of kids used to not make it to maturity… you just enjoy them anyways. And they enjoy life. Moment by moment.

    On the other hand… there was some wonderful thing I saw online about living as if global warming (or god, actually, it probably was) existed or not… divided up into a grid. Such as “exists” “doesn’t exist” along the left, and “believe” and “don’t believe” along the top.

    And whether it exists or doesn’t exist, one is usually far ahead if one acts as if one believes. One prepares for the worst, takes care of oneself, life, resources etc, and then if the worst doesn’t arrive (or god doesn’t exist and you just die in the end), you will have lived to the best (which is not to be equated with lived to the limits of excess). You will not have lived in devastated surroundings, polluted water, piles of discarded disposable objects etc if you find sustainable ways of doing things, instead of acting like global warming or whatever doesn’t exist. Even if it doesn’t, being stuck in traffic, piles of unrecycled junk, breathing fumes etc, just fucks one over day to day.

    who didn’t reproduce, but it comes down to the same sort of doesn’t it.

    Comment by Leanne — Monday, December 15th, 2008 @ 23:48

  8. On this subject I have to agree with the late George Carlin, that we humans are so arrogant to think that we can save the earth, when we can’t even make peace amongst ourselves. The earth doesn’t need saving, it was here millions of years before we were, and it will be here millions of years after we’ve destroyed ourselves. The people however need saving, desperately!
    Watch his beautiful rant:

    Comment by Michel — Sunday, May 16th, 2010 @ 08:01

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