It is conceiveable that this could be salvaged, but it would the shock of a Pearl Harbor and then some. However, we would require leaders of a quality I do not see among the presidential candidates. The nearest is Elizabeth Warren, but she would need consideral help including an morally and technically informed congress and a cabinet and stff or extraordinary quality. I do not think there is any question they exist but there is a more fundamental block.
The World Economic Forum described our civilization as having drifted back to a kind of high-tech, ruthlessly competitive politic where compassion is non existent. Put another way, our technology has outrun our humanity. Humans are, too often, no longer human.
There are many villians: 1. A rapacious energy industry; 2. A Republician party that has lost all sense of sense, morality, intelligence and patriotism; 3. Scientists that have lost the courage to rouse the rabble (and speak English); 4. Media that is impossibly inadequate to the task (think of all the big names) where expertise in science and the future of the world are both afterthoughts.
Finally, I have been struck by the absence of a philosophy of life itself in the debates. Cannot one person assert the unity of our republic as a family with government of, by and for the people. It is not just that technology has outrun us, but our entire philosophical, religious and education systme has, in my opinion, plinly bombed. The prime driving force is tribal supremacy and there is noting remotely resemblihg the enlightenment. A particular example sticks in my mind where the previous dean of the Harvard Business School had as his priority teaching how to earn the maximum amount of money. He is gone, but much more had to be gone, and gone quite soe time ago.
The experience of life should be transcendent, full of joy and if not, filled with a sense of reciprocity between those who have succeeded and those who have not. In its place we have a Republican party that will not stop at any cheat, desception, morally repugant and at least quasi-illegal tactic in order to gain advantage. It is the equivalent (so far) of a civil war.
I have left Donald Trump for last because he would (althought present at this computer only in spirit) quickly dominate the conversation with a knee deep puddle of muddy scum, but a scum that millions have fallen for and which prevents any involvement that is sensible. All become filthy in a short time.
There are two fundamentals of a humane society: accepting reciprocity as an operating principle and a continuing search for the transcent in art, relationships, nature and the entire creation.
It is now 2 am and I have not slept well for two years.
I have attempted to leave President Trump out of the discussion until the very end. His presence, even in a presentation on paper is to throw any discussion into chaos. On the few occasions that he has ventured an opinion his comments have been utter nonsence. However, at this point I believe he is the absolute road block. His complete lack of understanding of almost everthing and his insistence on coming to conclusions without knowing anything will be, should he serve a second term, the greatest catatrophe in the history of mankind. In addition to all his other disasters he will continue to stand in the way, at a most critical time, of efforts to save the earth.
It is important to look back perhaps 40 years and to put a simple weather rating on each decade. The most critical fact is that not only has the weather become worse every decade but the rate of degradation is increasing. In the terms of calcalus this means that both the first and second derivatives are increasing. It means that our "weather car" is increasing its speed and the rate of increase is increasing. This is either a power function or an exponential and it implies thermal runaway and an eventual reset of the climate. A reset means finding another higher temperature that leaves the climate in a stable condition. Please see the previous section, Tripping Point Analysis, for a more comprehensive view.
Malcom Gladwell in The Outliers observed that in the major accomplishments he described, luck was always a factor. Luck can be, as an engineer would say, just noise in the system or it can be something more profound.
As my most intelligent friend Joseph Holmes keeps me apprised of developments in the climate world I try to envision a scenerio in which these could be brought together. At this point, that is where luck would have to play a role. Someone has to learn how to dance around the devil.
Emissions keep rising when they need to be dropping at an extreme rate and that cannot happen without help. If you have not read Tom Wolf's "The Right Stuff" you will not know what I mean. I have just gotten to the Chuck Yeager part and he was the first man to fly faster than sound. We need to get ahead of the raucous chaos around us and that is probably what it will take.
(7/22/19 12:43 AM). JJW
I have tried to accomplish a number of objectives:
1. To teach about the meaning and significance of the earth.
2. To examine the place of the earth in the cosmos.
3. To briefly describe how the earth came into existance.
4. To examine the characteristics of the earth that make it suitable for human life.
5. To try to characterize the nature of what human life and experience mean.
6. To show the critical role the nature of the earth to support life and the critical role of climate in making this possible.
7. Above to try to explain why those who exploite fossel fuels continue to exploit them despite knowing the horror it will lead to.
8. To understand the horrendous manipulations of Right Wing extremeists Republicans to commit human crives to attain more power. Their support for fossel fuels may well make the Earth virtually uninhabitable.