Archive for January, 2010

Turn Up the Heat

OK, I’ve been content to entertain you with my little stories, but I can see you’re a bit farther along in your little handbasket ride than I expected, and you’re so beleaguered with terrible news every day that I thought I’d better explain something in my avuncular, reassuring way that will make you feel better. Or at least keep you quiet for a while so I can get some sleep.

Of all the horror available for your viewing pleasure, Haiti destroyed, Iran getting nukes, terrorists hating us, blah, blah, blah, the one that simply refuses to go away is global warming. Man-made carbon dioxide is running amok. Another species goes extinct every time you flip on a light switch. You drive to work over the screaming bodies of baby polar bears. Every time you exhale you are destroying the planet. Go ahead, listen to your iPod while the sea rises up to your stupid neck. No wonder you’re scared. I’d be scared too if I had that corpulent toad Al Gore screaming in my face with his doughnut-laden breath of doom.

So what I have to say should come as a welcome surprise. No, I’m not going to tell you that climate change isn’t happening; of course it’s happening, as it has been doing for four and a half billion years. In fact we probably are in a warming trend, as we are still recovering from the Pliocene-Quaternary ice age, which started about two and a half million years ago, with the glaciation period ending a mere ten thousand years ago. In between these ice ages the Earth warms up to the point where Greenland, Iceland, and Antarctica are mostly ice-free; obviously we haven’t gotten there yet, but maybe we’ll get lucky and it won’t take much longer.

Now, we can’t take all the credit for the pleasant warming trend, as we only got here about 200,000 years ago, but maybe we are helping it along. My point is, that doesn’t mean we are destroying the planet. We are always talking about destroying the planet. When we invented atom bombs, we rubbed our hands in glee and said, “Now we can destroy the planet!” Now we believe we are doing it with our Hummers. Well let me tell you, Bunky, we aren’t Supermen. We’re like the ant with a boner, floating on its back down the river yelling, “Raise the drawbridge!” We cannot destroy the entire planet (at least not yet.) All we can do is destroy the planet for humans!

You see, that’s the good news! The planet will still be here! We may be able to take the polar bears with us, but there’s no way we’ll snuff out everybody! There are organisms on this planet that thrive at 176°F and higher. I’m sure the cockroaches can take it. Probably when we’re no longer eating everything in sight, whole new life forms will evolve that love the sun and generate their own natural sunblock, with built-in beach chairs growing out of their butts. Just because we’re not here to see it doesn’t mean it won’t be great! I’m sure the new owners will even be smart enough to avoid creating reality TV. Don’t you wish you could be here? Well, get over it; you won’t. But it’ll still be great.

Have a nice day.