~ PROLOGUE ~ HOW I MET THE CLIMATE ~ THE MEANING OF SCIENCE ~ THE STATE OF THE CLIMATE ~ BEGINNING
ONE CHANCE ~ TRIBES ~ SENTIENCE ~
~ AGONY ~ LETTER TO PRESIDENT REIF OF MIT
WHO IS AT FAULT ~ CRITIQUE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES ~
WORLD CLIMATE AUTHORITY ~ A BIT OF BIO ~ APOLLO 8 ~ EPILOGUE
ORIGINALLY THIS WEBSITE BEGAN with an overwhelming feeling on my part of a need to do something about climate change, for I viewed it as a seriously unappreciated threat to the Earth.
AS THE SITE GREW TO IN EXCESS OF 50 "CHAPTERS" I slowly realized that the treat to the planet was really a threat to all of the dimensions of Civilization. There was not one facet of life: survival, coorporation, tribalism, technology, truth, religion, history, education, evolution, and our entire concept of who we are that would be spared, including our very existence.
EVERYTHING WAS AT STAKE AND EVERY PART OF OUR CIVILIZATION WAS ON TRIAL OR SOON WOULD BE.
GRADUALLY A MORE BROAD PERSPECTIVE STARTED TO FORM in my mind that we were not simply an advanced civilization, whose technology and democratic institutons would save us, but that when everything was taken into account we were a mismash of philosophies, religions, carry-overs from earlier varieities of our species and we were not facing this, that this was in fact the most pivital moment since the beginning of history.
BECOMING SUFFICIENTLY BETTER AT THE VARIOUS SKILLS THAT MADE US WHAT WE ARE HAD ALWAYS BEEN A DELUSION that we had made it and that gradually incremental improvements would tie up the loose ends, and lead, world-wide nervana. Worse, simultaneously, leadership was moving in irrational directions and leading to greater separations between countries and societies just at the time we needed to be coming together and although I had found myself attempting to deal with a wider range of issues, this was in a way a singularity all its own, and a deeper rethinking was necessary that would encompass global warming but attempt to put it in the largest context possible.
HOWEVER, CLIMATE CHANGE WAS STILL THE DRIVING FORCE for because of the helplessness of our civilization it would proceed unimpeded and both the temperature of the Earth and the challenges to civilization were on the verge of an exponential explosion. Indeed, if one were to do the simplest projection possible, a trend line extrapolation of NASA temperature data from 1860 to 2017, a jolt was appearing that I had not anticipated would be there. This extrapolation is reproduced below.
Already there are many signs the climate is running away from our efforts and it will not take much more rise in temperature before the temperature curve becomes exponential. It is our ONLY home and, especially in the United States, we are not devoting attenton to its problems and instead following policies to permantently and seriously damage the earth so that it will not support nearly its present popuation, and concievably could become uninhabitable.
ALMOST EVERYONE EXPERIENCES positive feedback when a sound system squeals because it is badly designed or the volume is set too high. The sound goes in a circle from the speaker to the microphone and keeps repeating until someone turns down the volume or moves the microphone.
THE CLIMATE story I was reading described a similar phnomena that when carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels heats the atmosphere that in turn would melt the tundra, principally in Alaska and Russia. Melting the tundra releases methane which is a much stronger contributer to warming than carbon dioxide.
I am afraid that only one phrase conveys my feelings at the time and that is "we're screwed," and that feeling has increased over that last 12 years. Much of what I read now is telling the same story but in words that are as graphic as mine. James Hansen was quoted as saying: "The “shit is hitting the fan,” countering “this narrative out there…that we have turned the corner on dealing with the climate problem.” Hansen is lead author of a new study that warns that there “is no time to delay” on climate change efforts and argues that they must go beyond just slashing emissions of CO2—”the dominant control knob on global temperature”—to extracting CO2 from the air, or “negative emissions.”".
ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF AGO I was working on my photography website and learning the ropes of basic website design. (You can see it at wawrzonek.com.) When it was in reasonably good shape I started working on this site. The only problem was that I felt I had to tell a very sad story, because my worst fears were coming true and coming true even worse than I had feared 12 years ago.
THE PROBLEMS ARE BOTH TECHNICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL. Technical because of the need to develop new technology and psychological because of a disconnect I was feeling strongly between almost everyone and what was going on around them. I explain this in more detail in the section called "Evolutionary Psychology" and it was, I am afraid to say, an expected but terrifing feeling.
So I dropped almost everything I was working on and started this website and for the first two months it felt like my head was in a vice. I didn't want to tell this story because I was pretty sure what the outcome would be. Finally I just had to accept the fears and plunge ahead hoping that a technological miracle would save us until that hope was dashed by the election of a president who thought the whole thing was a "hoax" perpertrated by China. I am still hoping for a miracle but can no longer see a path that might create one. The story of my hope I tell in the section "Manhattan Project."
This website has become more and more like writing a book except that to present it I needed to be researcher, writer, designer and publisher. I hope you will read at least parts of it. There is a separate Table of Contents with a link at the top of every page. Clicking on any topic in the Table of Contents will take you to that item, so you can easily skip around to what seems most interesting.