MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The number of people living on this planet has now topped seven billion. A few hundred thousand more and the earth might start careening out of orbit, like an airplane that exceeds its weight limit (which would likely result in a crash).
It's hard to imagine how the natural resources of the earth can sustain an exponentially growing population. The climate deniers, of course, believe that we can ravage the earth apart like carving a turkey on Thanksgiving. The difference is that in the belief of the climate deniers the meat on the turkey is somehow magically restored over time, while Thanksgiving eaters at the groaning board know that what you are left with at the end of one's gluttonous plunder is a bare carcass.
The climate deniers also, of course, don't believe that pillaging natural resources for profit -- instead of seeking sustainable alternatives -- creates a toxic imbalance that creates deadly climate change. They don't believe it or simply are indulging in a billionaire's carpe diem, an orgy of excess that has no regard for future generations.
According to a September 12 article in Rolling Stone, scientists are now regrouping and fighting back against the corporate mass media assumption that there is even a debate about fossil fuel/extraction industry/corporate-caused/automobile guzzling degradation of the climate in which we live -- and the deadly impact of such alterations to our earth and atmosphere.
Simply put in the sub-title to the Rolling Stone piece: "Scientists are fighting deniers with irrefutable proof the planet is headed for catastrophe." At the forefront of the counterattack against the false assertions of the massive industry-based campaign to deny the self-destruction of our planet is a body called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):
The IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report [to be released on September 27] offers slam-dunk evidence that burning fossil fuels is the cause of most of the temperature increases of recent decades, and warn that sea levels could rise by almost three feet by the end of the century if we don't change our ways. The report will underscore that the basic facts about climate change are more established than ever, and that the consequences of escalating carbon pollution are likely to mean that, as The New York Times recently argued, "babies being born now could live to see the early stages of a global calamity."
Jeff Goodell, author of the Rolling Stone article observes "But perhaps the most significant thing about the new IPCC report is not the scientific findings. It's that the release of the report may actually mark the beginning of a new phase of the climate wars – one in which scientists and activists learn to fight back."
That is good news for a planet that is crowded with people regarded as marketing targets more than humans by an industrial economy that is driven by the assumption that happiness and economic well-being are driven by ever-expanding consumption.
There used to be, many decades ago, a high-profile movement known as Zero Population Growth (ZPG) which achieved prominence for advocating that the ability of the earth to sustain limitless population growth was -- well -- limited.
Explosive population growth combined with the ongoing triumph of the vulture industrial sector behemoths in delaying action on reversing climate change have created the perfect storm of impending disaster.
Taking a bleak view, Goodall ends his article with this comment:
In a more rational world, of course, we wouldn't need any more IPCC assessments. We would have listened to the scientists, built a global consensus and forged international agreements to reduce carbon pollution and head off the risk of climate catastrophe. But in the 25 years since the IPCC was formed, global carbon pollution is rising faster than ever. Future readers may view IPCC reports not as landmarks of scientific inquiry, but as suicide notes from a lost civilization.
Let us hope that we can manage to become "a more rational world."
Otherwise, this may be a period resembling the last days of Pompeii for Mother Earth.
(Photo: las - initially)