Life is too short for grief. Or regret. Or bullshit.
~ Edward Abbey
The title of this essay refers not to the rock band. Rather, I’ve revised the common expression denoted by the acronym attributed to American aircraft engineer Kelly Johnson: Keep It Simple Stupid. My modification: Keep It Simple for the Stupid … and the ignorant and mean-spirited, too (KISSIMS?).
I’ve repeatedly presented my message in written and spoken form. Apparently it’s time to repeat the exercise. Surrounded by every conceivable form of stupidity, ignorance, and rampant pettiness, I’ll try again with this short essay.
Why? Perhaps because I’m as stupid as deniers of abrupt climate change leading to near-term human extinction. Or, more likely, my inner teacher is again overcoming my frustration with the purposely dumbed-down, willfully ignorant masses. Empathy’s a fantastic gift for the recipient. It’s a bitch for the person with empathy.
I’ll provide few embedded links this time. That evidence-rich approach hasn’t worked yet, and there’s a search box on this weblog. It’ll lead you straight to the catastrophe of your choosing. If you’re interested in evidence, this recent presentation will do the trick, as will my long, climate-change summary and update. If you’re not interested in evidence, this probably isn’t the website for you. Neither is the graph below, which illustrates the exponential function under way, albeit conservatively.
I’ll start with the conundrum to which some have recently referred as the McPherson paradox. Civilization is an omnicidal heat engine. Shutting off civilization warms the planet even faster than keeping civilization running, due to a phenomenon known as global dimming (aka the aerosol masking effect.)
There’s another paradox, too. According to the most conservative imaginable sources, including nearly all scenarios envisioned by the vaunted Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, geoengineering must be employed to reverse an extinction-causing rise in the global-average temperature of Earth. Not surprisingly, considering that a lot of misguided “doing” got us into this pickle in the first place, further doing is best deemed fantasy technology by such conservative sources as the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
As if a pair of paradoxes isn’t enough, there’s more bad news. Earth is in the midst of the Sixth Mass Extinction. Not surprisingly, Homo sapiens is about to follow several other species in the genus Homo over the cliff of extinction. Our favorite species is destroying habitat for us, too, as we cause some 200 species each day to vanish forever while gleefully grinding the living planet into dust. As with every other organism on the planet, ours requires habitat to survive.
Earth has harbored Homo sapiens for about 300,000 years. The looming ice-free Arctic Ocean, projected to occur in 2016 plus or minus 3 years, will be the first such occurrence in a few million years. The planetary heating to follow ensures a disturbingly rapid transition to — or more likely beyond — the most common temperature experienced by Earth within the last two billion years, 22 C. The transition will occur too rapidly for most multicellular life to keep up, thus relegating us silly, food-eating, water-drinking, air-breathing mammals to obsolescence.
How soon? I don’t know your expiration date, nor that of our species. However, I know Earth is in the midst of abrupt, irreversible climate change. I understand the meanings of words such as abrupt and irreversible. I understand the obvious outcome for organisms that require habitat. I understand that all organisms require habitat.
As a result of my knowledge of easily understood terms and also my knowledge of conservation biology, I confidently predict loss of habitat for our species at a planetary scale shortly after the Arctic Ocean loses its final, fragile bits of ice. Even the occasional politician admits as much. That blue-ocean event is projected to occur this year or next. Furthermore, as a result of loss of habitat, I predict there’ll not be a single living representative of humanity on this planet in 2026.
The calvary is not coming. This time, there is no calvary.
I’m not pleased with this prognosis. It’s been costly to ascertain and promulgate. And, unlike most people who know what I know, I am unwilling to lie about it.