So I've been reading a lot of new dire predictions about climate change on the interwebs. One article sited a study published in Nature and said that a new understanding of how clouds form as the temperature rises predicts that the earth will experience catastrophic climate change (4 degrees C) by 2100. The other focused on loss of sea ice and said that the world might be unlivable as soon as 2050.
I'm not entirely sure what to make of these predictions. I mean, I pretty much think that catastrophic climate change is inevitable given the unwillingness of our collective world governments to tackle the problem in any meaningful way, but... earth unlivable by 2050?!? That's soon enough that I might have a ringside seat. Hmmm.... it sorta makes one stop to think.
But.... rather than waste our breath arguing over whether that's a real possibility or not, let's just say for a moment that the worst prediction is true. Runaway climate change is upon us and within the next 36 years human beings will become an endangered species. The debate is over, even the Koch brothers say it's so.
My question is this: What do you do now?
When I say that, I don't mean it rhetorically, and I don't mean "you" as some expression of collective humanity. What I mean is, if you somehow knew definitively that the worst prediction was on its way to happening, what you personally do?
Would you sell everything you own and move as far north as possible?
One of the articles I read implied that the change will cause a massive die off of plankton, which would cause earth's oxygen levels to plummet. In that case, I don't think latitude would do you much good.
Would you construct a bio-dome, lock yourself in and try to create a sustainable mini-habitat?
It's an interesting idea, but unless you've got a pretty good fence around that thing, it's hard to imagine it and its inhabitants surviving intact when the post-apocalyptic hungry droves start to descend.
Would you make large donations to geo-engineering research?
I've always thought that the whole "science will save us" approach was bargaining with the devil, but if things really were that dire, perhaps it would be worth giving it a shot?
Would you have kids?
This is an interesting question. If you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that a person born today would have a slim chance of making it to age 40, and would do a heckuva lot of suffering to get that far, would you bring them into the world? Sorta makes me glad that I don't have any progeny to worry about.
Or would you just ignore it?
You could just say, "Oh screw it, marijuana is legal in Colorado now, let's go smoke a doobie and forget about it!" Hmmm.... tempting.... Seriously though, there is an argument to be made that if the world is gonna end and there's nothing you can do about it, you may as well enjoy your life now while you can.
I do have a very hard time believing that a system as big as our climate could change on a dime like that. But hey, I studied music and psychology in school, so what do I know? And you have to admit, it is a very interesting question.
For the moment, I made one tiny change and signed up for Denver's municipal compost program. Part of me thinks this is a ridiculous waste of money (it costs about $120/year) since I compost most household organic waste myself. But there are some things like sticks etc that are just too hard to compost without a commercial setup, and maybe my neighbors would like to use the bin as well.
I know it's spitting in the ocean, but it did make me feel a tiny bit better.
So tell me... what would you do?