Sunday, February 02, 2014

It's A Forest/Trees Thing

David Atkins over at Hulabaloo has a good take on the frustrations we are having with trying to get the reality of climate change talked about as seriously as it should be. Couple this frustration with the latest idiot decision on the Keystone Pipeline and it becomes insane.

The thing is, we humans have real trouble grasping the true "big" picture especially if it is something we would rather not hear. We like to reduce it into manageable bites, that may individually be pretty bad but not nearly as bad as the "big" picture.

The Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands are a prime example of this. The pipeline is awful. It will leak...we know it and it will leak in the worst possible places. It will virtually destroy the most important aquifer in the world and pollute the breadbasket of the world. The ancillary environmental damage will be awful and who knows how many men, women and children will be affected by the pollution. All tragedies and all multi-generational...maybe a couple of million people will actually die. Expanding the use of tar sands will be insane as well...increasing pollution globally. Horrible.

While millions dying or sickened by the pipeline and the tar sands is bad it is actually not that bad when compared to the "big" picture. The reality is that if we make it possible and actually burn all the oil extracted from the Canadian reserves we will destroy the planet and that means humans and the majority of all other life gone forever.

We can dither and wobble over pipeline leaks and pollution and cancer and all but it is just a distraction so we won't have to think about the end of life on the planet.

The sad thing is that I am not sure the race has the mental fortitude and stability to actually grasp and tackle the problems we are truly facing. If I am correct then we are doomed to a painful death in the near term.

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