Sunday, April 15, 2012

Decisions of the future.

Today we are faced with a choice. It is one of the most difficult decisions humanity has ever faced. Do we continue on our current track fighting harder and harder to maintain our way of life and our standard of living? Or do we make the sacrifices necessary to ensure a future for our children? It seems we are choosing the selfish route, and endeavoring to cling to a fleeting hedonism of transportation and gluttonous food distribution.

One day though; directly because of the choices we are allowing our political leadership to make, generations of the future will be forced to make much harder decisions. If you really understand the science behind global climate change it is not hard to imagine a future where decision makers will be backed into the kind of corner where they have to decide who will live and who will die on a scale of millions of individuals. I do not envy the leaders of 2050 through 2075. They are the ones most likely to suffer the ravages of our greed and avarice.

We sit poised on the edge of precipice that represents the single greatest change environmentally in human history. It is impossible to argue that humans haven't significantly changed the surface of the earth. What was once naturally balanced ecosystems has been replaced; by farm land, cities, suburban sprawls of parking lots and freeways. What is rarely taken into account is how much we depend on these natural systems for basic survival.

The air we breath is not magically provided to us by miraculous intervention, but by the diligent intervention of millions of organisms. We would not exist if it were not for algae in the oceans and trees in the forest converting tons of carbon dioxide to oxygen everyday. There is a good chance that you might be breathing oxygen produced by a plant that grew in your garden while you are eating it. Even if you have no garden, you cannot escape this entanglement with the natural order in the sterile high rise of a city or the luxury of a climate controlled car.

The food we eat isn't spawned on the grocery shelves singularly, but comes to our tables through the complex interactions of multiple organisms; bacteria that fix nitrogen, fungi that form symbiotic relationships with the plants that make up our food crops, insects that spread pollen, worms that digest organic material to make it more suitable for the other organisms to use. Like it or not, you would not exist with these connections to beings from almost every part of the bio-sphere.

Yet we repay this altruism of natural resources by exploiting it in every way imaginable. Our humanity is truly lost in this world of cold, calculated decisions based on short term profit motivation. I don't see a washed and well maintained vehicle as a sign of affluence, but as a sign of a wanton glutton. It time for humanity as a whole to realize its true place as nothing more than a component of a much larger system. We understand that society has rules that must be adhered to in order for it to function. Why can't we, as an entire species accept that nature also has limits that we must respect in order for our survival to continue?

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