A Broken Relationship: No Other Place to Go
“We can’t go on like this.”
Seems we’re listening in on a failing relationship drawing to a close unless things change. It doesn’t sound good for the long term, does it?. A break-up seems imminent after this final warning. There will perhaps be one last chance for reconciliation and healing. Or else.
The conversation here is not between John andÂ Jane, but between Planet Earth and mankind. At this year’s Society of Environmental Journalist conference in Madison, WI, experts channeling the planet aired her warnings from a list of grievances that threaten the relationship between man and those systems that have sustained him until now, the matters in contention by the planet: drought and desertification; dead zones in her acidified oceans; loss of habitat and species extinction; deforestation, soil depletion, overfishing, and more bipedal consumavores than she’s ever had to support.
But the most immediate and vexing complaint between Earth and us is the exhaust of our civilization building in the air between us now for more than a century. It is a problem for which the blame is ours, and she is right. We must confront this issue of CO2 and climate disruption, not turn our eyes away, not stare at the floor and pretend we don’t know, not find other reasons besides us to explain the sick-building syndrome we’ve caused in our common space, the atmosphere.
Global warming is a “threat multiplier” that exacerbates many of the other soured relationships between us and the planet, increasing the risk of social chaos, failed food systems including the world’s oceans, and the threat of water, food and soil wars and massive out-migration across sovereign borders to find food, water and shelter.
We can’t go on like this.
But we can change, and if we will, we can go on. We know what we need to do to make things right, and we can start on this long list of grievances by making sure that our children’s grandchildren at least have no more unpredictable temperatures and rainfall and sea level conditions than we do in our times.
We can have harmony in our relationship, a homeostatic, give-and-take within limits–a cooperative, globally sustainable relationship–IF we don’t slam the door behind us at Copenhagen in December.
Address the hard issues of carbon in the atmosphere so that we can survive to focus on the many other problems at issue between us. We’re not going to kiss and make up on all that overnight, but we do need to resolve this one thing first.
Think 350 and our future together. If we don’t do this, and do it now, we might as well just pick up our things. And slide the key under the door.
For Blog Action Day 2009 #BAD09 Blog Action Day on Climate Change