Saturday, July 08, 2006

Complain, adapt or die!

Nature is slow, but sure; she works no faster than need be; she is the tortoise that wins the race by her perseverance.
- Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)

Nature adapts to every situation and condition. It has been thus since the so-called Big Bang.

Since life began on earth some 3.2 billion years ago, there have been many large extinctions of life, some that nearly wiped out the entire animal population that lived on land (such as the one 225 million years ago at the beginning of the Triassic Period).

When life began, plants grew in conditions that no known plant could live in today. In fact, until recently scientists believed that no life could life in those extremely toxic conditions. There may be life forms that exist around vents in the sea floor (about which we know very little at this time) that exist today in those primitive conditions.

Some life did survive each great extinction. There may even have been primitive animal life (bacteria) or viruses that existed in those times before life as we know it existed.

In the intervening billions of years, everything that constitutes environment for life changed dramatically. With each change, plant and animal life adapated, many died and some began new life forms.

Glaciers came and went in more recent history. Animals and plants adapted to survive in conditions similar to those currently near the North and South Poles. Alaska and northern Canada were at some times almost totally frozen and at others tropical. With each change, plants and animals died and others adapted to the new conditions.

It would be totally foolish for us to believe that climate modification would mean the end of life as we know it. Humans have adapated to live in every climatic condition that exists on earth today. Nothing in our history suggests that we could not adapt to any change that happens as a result of "global warming."

Despite all the abuse we have heaped on the atmosphere that surrounds our planet over the past 200 years, surface air temperatures have risen only 0.6 degrees C in the past century. Some parts are hotter than ever before, but others are cooler. Some glaciers have shrunk in recent years, but others have expanded considerably.

Not one coastal city has been flooded, despite the direst warnings. Not a single person has moved from one of the most at-risk island groups on Earth, the Maldives, because of rising sea levels. Their highest point above sea level on any of the islands is one metre.

Our media ply us daily with warnings about weather disasters and warming statistics. Rarely, if ever, do we hear that the very same greenhouse gases that will warm our atomosphere are toxic for us to breathe. Rarely do we hear that humans contribute only one-tenth of the conditions necessary to warm the atmosphere, whereas nature provides 90 percent.

The industries (especially including those that produce power, as a majority of those use coal) that contribute greenhouse gasses to the air above our planet are poisoning us with their fumes. These contribute to the compromise of our immune systems, which makes our bodies more susceptable to disease and degeneration.

While our media warn us that our air might get another half a degree warmer, we continue to breathe the toxic fumes that reach us from smokestacks. Nature adds nothing to that situation.

We can't do much about changing our atomosphere. We can do something about our being systematically poisoned.

We had better do something soon. Or adapt.

Considering how reluctant people are about stepping forward to complain about industries poisoning the air they breathe, we might better hope that we can adapt.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help us adapt our attitudes to changing conditions around us.
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