Wednesday, March 21, 2012
This is one of those pictures my enigmatic friend Crow likes to send me from the distant past or the distant future - sometimes it's hard to know which but in this case he included a note to say they were flying over Manhattan. I'll leave it to you to decide when.
Meanwhile, here in Halifax as well as most everywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere, spring arrived just yesterday and summer came today. Now that's what I call progress. Already 60° (15°C) before noon it's supposed to be 77° later today. We haven't lived here long enough to be experts on local weather patterns but it does seem a bit unusual to have it be so warm in March. Still, the arguments about global warming continue and, truth be told, it's a complicated subject especially in view of the fact that popular attitudes are polarized by markedly opposing views. (I'll take a pass on mentioning any opinions posed by the religious right.)
The debate between the scientific groups is based on the views of those who subscribe to two different theories. The first group believes that when mankind began changing the landscape by means of agriculture 11,700 years ago (conversely, some think it was the 18th Century when the Industrial Revolution began) we entered a new geological age called the Anthropocene - the Age of Man. The first few herds of cows probably didn't change the world by much, nor did the first steam engine, but I'm sure you've noticed we've come a long way since then The alternate scientific viewpoint is one proposed by paleontologists who say that in the long view (and it is a very long view) the world is a complex system that's gone through huge changes in climate over the course of millions of years. Even now we're essentially in a planetary holiday period between Ice Ages.
Earth's climate is unstable no matter what we believe the cause may be. What seems really weird is to aggravate the situation by digging up tar sands, fracking gas deposits, poisoning the waterways, chopping off mountain tops, acidifying the oceans, and pouring tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. You might as well claim that because a forest fire was caused by lightning, dumping planeloads of gasoline around its edges can't possibly do any harm.
Of course, you know all of this as well as I do and what I've wondered is why is it that people in positions of power continue doing those things that make the situation worse rather than plan a course adjustment? Then I read about Hagbard's Law (from a book called Illuminatus!) which states:
Information can only be communicated by equals, since in a hierarchy, those in inferior positions face very strong incentives to tell their superiors only what the superiors want to hear.
That explains it. In today's governments and corporations, the disconnect seems to be pretty much total.
Ah well, in view of the nice day I think I'll go out for a walk along the shore. It's always fun to see Crow land that thing. I hope it's a nice day where you are too.