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Monday, October 4, 2010

What if we can't save the World ?

Who hasn't seen, at least once, those shows where they show you electric car prototypes or new home designs that are 100% eco-friendly?
Global warming has got us by the balls, and for every moment we waste things will go downhill, unless... we go Green.
Doesn't this seem to be pretty much what the world media has been saying for the last couple of years ? All of a sudden Sustainability has become the focus of almost every innovation, and videos like The Story of Stuff get thrown at you every day in an attempt to sensitize you to an issue that hits close to home: Our Survival.

Who hasn't seen, at least once, those shows where they show you electric car prototypes or new home designs that are 100% eco-friendly? Solar panels are the new Bling. That's all good and dandy, but let's get down to the core of the problem: We need a large-scale solution. Yes, electric cars help, on a personal level. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said on the global level. A simple look at the world's current energy needs and the efficiency of Green energy sources would point out the obvious: We're in trouble. So now you'll say:

Green energy sources would become more efficient if there was more research funding

That might be true... Although not every problem can be solved by throwing money at it. It's been the way we've gone around problems most of the time, but what if after throwing a lot of time and money at these sustainable energy technologies, it turns out we can only make them slightly more efficient, and simply not much more useful?

Here's something else to think about: What if our green energy has polluting by-products? That seems quite paradoxical doesn't it? Solar panel production is still struggling with pollution problems in the manufacturing process. Same goes for electric car batteries. There has been studies that showed significant soil degradation around wind farms, not to mention the disruption of migratory bird patterns. You might not see much significance in this last one, but introducing a source of entropy in the dynamical system that is the global ecosystem can disrupt it tremendously. A few wind farms might not do much harm, but if we're going to rely on this technology to meet the earth's energy needs, we might want to look into some of its consequences, you know, to avoid making the same mistake twice...

As early as the mid 70's, the term Global Warming has been used by scientists in an attempt to get the world's attention about this issue, in vain until lately. What's remarkable is that the "We have to act now or we'll be in serious trouble" talk has been going around for decades, and yet, we still are not acting. Of course, we have a Blog Action Day about it, and the world seems to know much more about the issue, but what are we doing, really, as a collective effort to ensure our survival? Nothing much... But then again, should we ?

That might be a grim vision of things, but what if this resembles the case of a smoker who's been indulging in three cigarette packs per day for fifty years, and has just been told about lung cancer? Suddenly he realizes he does cough more than he should, and worried for his life, he decides to quit smoking. Unfortunately for him, the damage was way beyond done, and the wheels had already been set in motion, leading to the inevitable: His Death.

What if there is nothing we can do at this point? What if our procrastination has finally gotten the best of us, and played us into a corner? What if, under the best of circumstances where we all come together as a species, we pull together, only to find our most epic battle has been lost before it even started?
It might as well be the case. The world today, and its effort to overturn global warming, resembles the War Room at the end of Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove: We're fighting over profit and world domination while staring the apocalypse in the eye.

On a more humorous note, I'll leave you with one of my favorite comedians' view on Saving the Planet. Enjoy!



"The planet is fine. The people are fucked"

comments

October 4, 2010 at 1:12 PM Chantal Akkary

Interesting subject Fadi!! You said it all...

October 4, 2010 at 1:25 PM Liliane

Fadi bass ma fhemet shoul point of the topic. Not sounding offensive or anything, you know VERY well how much Climate change is a dear subject to me, and when the shit hit the fan in Copenhagen last year I got really pissed, and am sitting there watching the world do nothing about it.. and we won't and 2 degrees celcious will never be reached, and the atmosphere will not be 350ppm ever again, and countries such as maldives will drown.. etc..

Alternative energy and holding historically responsible countries to cut their co2 emissions don't seem to be taking place or going to take place even in 20 years, poor countries asking for money, rich countries not providing them, it's a big game, and saudi and oil. and then you have the poor countries who are not historically responsible are not responsible for a lot of CO2 emissions such as china and brazil, what do you do them? china is on the rise. how can you expect countries to give it money.. ya3ne its so complicated its disgusting.

so maba3rif what do you want us to say :( but i had to comment lol

October 4, 2010 at 1:34 PM Fadi

I don't really know what to say or what I want you to say, it's just a reflection on the current state of things.
We're talking big about alternative energy sources, and saving the world, while "we still haven't learned how to take care of ourselves and care for one another" (as George Carlin says it best).. It would be great to have the world come together like in a hollywood movie or something, I just wouldn't bet my money on it.
What is likely to happen is: the rich will find a way to survive or at least die last, through scheming or war, and that's that. Morals speak very little in the face of profits and survival instincts. Right now corporations are doing their best to survive, which is not in the global world population's best interest, and soon enough, the people with the money and power will do the same, which means that your average person is screwed.
I warned you this post would be depressing...

October 4, 2010 at 1:47 PM Liliane

yes exactly, you saw this year's topic for blog action day is water, okay but you know who's suffering from lack of water or dirty water that is? it's the poor, in 20-30 years, there will be different types of water, and the more you pay, the better quality of water you will get..

we are heading for a disaster, the rick will survive, the poor will go away... is that the survival of the fittest all over again?

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