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“Our Planet On The Brink”

“Environmental risks have grown in prominence over the 13-year history of the Global Risks Report, and this trend continued in the latest GRPS. All five risks in this category occupy the top-right quadrant of The Global Risks Landscape 2018 (see Figure I), indicating higher-than-average perceptions of both likelihood and impact. Among the most pressing environmental challenges facing us are extreme weather events and temperatures; accelerating biodiversity loss; pollution of air, soil and water; failures of climate-change mitigation and adaptation; and transition risks as we move to a low-carbon economy....” (click above for the full report)

It is a bit startling to read in this report from the World Economic Forum what I have been reading and writing about for the past two years.

However, it is also stunningly discouraging. It is beyond the pale that humanity is sufficiently selfish, unaware, unwilling to take a courageous and perhaps audacious stand to save its own planet.

My estimate, taking into account what I have read about the intentions of oil companies, the incompetance of government, the virtual silence of media, and the unwillingness of scientists to combine forces and make a statement the world will hear is that the earth will get far to warm for our own good.

There is something wrong with humanity either intrinsically or as a result of the timeing of wars, technology and fundeamental flaws in the way we educate that has led us to a virtually certain bad outcome, although how bad is not yet clear. An MIT professor characterized greater than 2°C as “horrible” and yet my bet would go onto 3°C to 4°C at the end of the century. This would be beyond horrible.

I have discussed the characteristics of global warming that make in inherently difficult to deal with. Yet there is something morally and intellectually lacking in the way that our government has delt with knowledge of the problem. George H.W. Bush made an attempt that was ultimately squashed by John Sonunu.

I have spent my life in science (I was reading astronomy and cosmology in middle school, engineering (MIT 1963, 1964, 1967), and photographing the landscape for the past 45 years. The earth is familiar to me as a product of the universe, as a place of gestation of our species and as a place for our civilization to grow. But apparently it has not grown.

Perhaps a telling point is when visitors come to my home, which is also a gallery off my work and the different ways they react or not react to the art on the walls. Some will dwell for a long time, and some will not notice it at all and I will say it is quite striking for the images are large, perfectly printed and compelling. One is reproduced below.

Our vision is obscured as is our intellect. I often have the feeling we are not so far removed from the hunter-gatherer tribes which preceded us. Money rules and for only a few does the gift of sentenience illuminate our souls.

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