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15. Risking Your Life

Because you love to do something.

The men who became astronauts were first fighter pilots, and then test pilots flying the most advanced aircraft (jet and rocket powered) in the world. Many died in the process. The best of the living volunteered to become astronauts.

One answer has been doing something for money versus doing something for love.

I have had several careers and they always involved doing something I loved. But once you marry into group of business people you may find people who do it just for the money, and nothing else matters.

My guess is that oilmen do it for the money, and that is their right. What is the mystery is that once they are wealthy and discover their business causes harm, they continue to do it.

The men discussed below could barely put food on the table being test pilots.

Left: A gathering in Poland on Greta’s Day

Right-above: the major polluting countries. They either stop completely within 10 years, which means starting work today, or we are history.

Greta Thunberg’s eloquent speech at the United Nations will not have the effect needed.

Of all the sentences I could write, this is the one I have feared most: that despite clear warnings of the effect of emissions of greenhouse gasses, most segments of our society have failed to take the necessary actions and the disturbances to our climate continue to increase. .

Two warnings are particularly important, that of Edward Teller’s to the petroleum barons in 1959 and that of James Hansen’s to Congress in 1988. Each sounded a loud and clear warning. Dr. Tellers speech (an excepert is reproduced below) told the oil industry what it already knew from it’s own research. Dr. Hansen's was effectively ignored by President George W. Bush. It is clear to me that both of these reactions revealed a side of the human race so oblivious they will lead either to an inhabitable planet or one ravaged by horrendous weather events leading to incomprehensible suffering and a large reduction in population.

17. Caring for the Earth

The Science Behind The Needs

Science is just reality understood and verified. With it nature becomes mathematics. To every real scientist it is the key to understanding the world, from stars to sand bars. We cannot survive without it.

The figures below show science applied to climate change:

Figure 1 shows us at the edge of a cliff in 2020. If we don't tame emissions, the temperature curve goes up faster and faster.

Figure 2 shows "scenarios" the IPCC has worked out as possibilities. If we do RCP 8.5 (the worst, business as usual) we might just as well throw in the towel. RCP 2.5 is idealistic, and would require a miraculous change in human behavior. Anything worse than 2.5 will still leave us in trouble, unless we do Negative Emissions.

This picture is of a galaxy similar to the Milky Way (which we cannot photograph because we are in it). The solar system is in one of the outer arms. There are about a thousand trillion trillion stars in a galaxy such as this.

18. There Is A Moral Obligation

To Do What is Right.

I once had a very small company for printing and selling fine-art photographic prints. It was funded by so-call “angel investors,” people with enough money that the investment could never imperil their finances. The chairman of the group of investors once told me that the only thing that mattered was ”shareholder value.” In other words, as long as the stock price increased, nothing else mattered. I have since learned that a large portion of the world operates that way. Cigarette manufacturers knew they were killing people yet continued to sell hard, until government regulations started to interfere with the business. So now they go to eastern Europe and hand free cigarettes to teen agers knowing that many will become addicted. I consider this murder.

As we know, history repeats itself. In the long quote above from Edward Teller he is warning oil companies that carbon dioxide will harm the earth. This was in 1959. We now know that these same companies were doing research and coming to the same conclusion. They concealed the results. The murder victim was now the earth.

It is one of the great moral conundrums of all time, why companies that have and/or are making a great deal of money keep inflicting harm by making more. As of September 2019 the companies in the list above are pushing oil and gas, knowing exactly what harm they are doing. Not only that, they receive government subsidies. And they pay a great deal of money to the right people in the right places to continue to let them do this. And of course senators, congressmen and others of influence readily accept the payoffs. For us the consequence is that we may end up with a dead planet.

19. A Challenge Unlike Any Before

Here is a partial list:

1. Keeping weather and climate separate is an approximation.

2. The time scale is large. It took millions of years to get the planet into an equilibrium state. Then we come along and for all intents and purposes through bombs of CO2. And keep throwing them.

3. This makes the climate impossible to model. Equilibrium has been replaced by chaos, so the models keep missing anomolis events. An example is suddenly finding the oceans holding 40% more heat than expected.

4. Projections have often been optimistic with the extremes not presented and it turns out that moddeling limitations make it nearlhy impossible to decided between averages and anomolie.

5. Something in human psychology has made greed grow worse. Ronald Regan's first take cut and trickle down economics were the beginning of the end. We began a caravan of trucks moving wealth into the money bins of the already wealthy. The ideology of small government and low taxesis inherently unfair since it helps the wealthy the most. An ideology with a quality of outcome or justice measure is immoral.

6. Educational quality is widely sacrificed. Rigorous science is rarely taught. The "well educated" (and this would include Barak Obama) think that because they have Ivy degrees they are “intelligent” whereas the quality of science education necessary to begin to understand today's world is missing. They received a fool’s diploma and did not know it.

7. This now spills into the media. The New York Times does a horrible job of reporting on climate change because no one on the editorial or publishing side understands science.

8. Scientists do not know how to communicate science. They also could not get themselves organized. There should have been a thousand or so marching on the capital. They wrote nice articles that only a few web readers saw.

9. We are seduced by windmills and solar panels. They are good and essential. But they are built too slowly and cannot pick up the load fast enough. But every solar panel we see makes us feel that we are getting there when in fact we are being lapped. Fosil fuel barons, knowing full well what is happening (and just like cigarette makers) keep pumping. Shareholder equity wins over any other measure (except executive salary).

10. Humanity is sick. There are no discussions of what the human experience can be outside of money. The essence of living is lost. And so are we.

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