HOUSTON - September 12, 2016
NOAA reports that August 2016 was the warmest in history. It also reports that July was the warmest in history. It also reports that June 2016 was the warmest ... It goes on and on and on. We know what causes it, but what are we suppose to do about it? Stop driving to work? Stop living in a home which uses water and electricity? Stop shopping at a grocery store, where all of our food is trucked in? Stop flying in airplanes that emit greenhouse gases high in the atmosphere? Stop having kids, who exponentially add to the overall human carbon impact? Stop buying stuff that is manufactured and shipped? Obviously those are not viable options in the 21st century.
Like you, I don't want to destroy the only place we have to live in this universe. But, I'm not sure what we can really do -- other than truly inconsequential things that might make us feel empowered to affect change, but which probably have very little positive effect. I do recycle at home and I drive a fuel efficient car. But, I wonder if the carbon footprint of having that recycling picked up each week by a big diesel truck and processed in a big energy-burning recycling plant is a bigger carbon footprint than just throwing it away in the dump. I wonder if the manufacture of my hybrid car actually did more damage to the Earth, as its parts were shipped to the plant from all over the world. (I won't even mention the toxins that would need to safely disposed of in its huge battery!)
As of today's state of technology and infrastructure: as long as we breathe, we can't stop our impact on this planet. Perhaps we need a shift in work culture, to encourage employers to allow their workers to operate from home via wifi if they have office jobs. Perhaps we need to go back to the village format, to live closer to relatives (or work) to avoid the burden and carbon footprint of long drives or flights. Perhaps we need to think about family planning and world population control.
That may work to slow down the impact, but military strategists might cite human nature and say that such a plan would weaken us to the point that a greater power would invade, taking over, then push us back to a consumer-driven economy to become strong again under their regime.
Our lifestyle may have built this country and arguably the world economy, but according to NASA and 97% of scientists around the globe, our consumer economy may just be our undoing and there's really nothing you or me can do about it.