Human advances hurt our climate |

Human advances hurt our climate

On Thursday, the Aspen Institute’s Great Decisions program is holding a session on climate change. Here are some thoughts on the topic.

Climate change is not the enemy. The enemy is us.

We get distracted by the unceasing arguments about climate change. How can we stop it? Is it real? Can we preserve resource-extraction jobs? What will renewables cost? Won’t innovation get us out of trouble? Doesn’t history show it’s just part of a cycle? Is it a leftist conspiracy?

Well, may I suggest that climate change is not the source of the problem? That source is us. Homo sapiens.

We are too successful as a species. We breed like, well, humans. Our world population is through the roof. We have no predators to eat us, other than the viruses we hope to be able to control. We need water and food and shelter in ever-growing amounts. There are just too many of us, and we are running out of the natural resources we need to thrive.

And then there is our brilliance. We innovate. We have solved most of our problems with our world in the past. Surely we can do it again. But the raw fact is that, brilliant as we may be, there are limits to what we can do. Think CO2 and methane. Think water.

The long-term solution is reducing our numbers. War. Pests. Birth control (good luck on that one). As so powerfully illuminated in “Don’t Look Up,” we need to be realistic, to evade the feel-good hypotheses, and to get to work to avoid extinction. Climate change is real! What can we do? Think.

Parker Maddux


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