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View Diary: White House Meeting on Arctic Media Blackout (143 comments)

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  •  YucatanMan: (16+ / 0-)
    When has our country ever evidenced centuries long dedication to solving a huge global problem?  No one has any experience doing such a thing in any nation, which may be one reason civilizations in the past simple collapsed and disappeared.
    Trouble is, we've been relying on "history", except that's the portion that's been recorded in some sense or other, and that's not very long, as time goes. And even then, so-called modern cultures started by refusing the lesson of what it means to denude Mother Earth of her protective trees...

    Native American cultures had precepts that worked before the age of science, based on many many years of observation and story-telling to remind the listeners over centuries to honor Mother Earth and preserve the environment "to the seventh generation." Which is to say, remember to try to figure out the correct action today that will ensure life and livelihood to the descendants seven generations down.

    Applied science, in many respects, and "religion" have made us blind to a long-term view of the cesspool we've been creating for humankind (and for all critters and plants). Monsanto, anyone? Terminator seeds? Round-up?! (what would we do without it?!)

    •  Definitely agree with that. (16+ / 0-)

      We have examples from history of man-made climate change on a local scale.  The deforestation of the Yucatan peninsula and the Mayan highlands in Guatemala, etc.  Deforestation of Europe.

      The little ice age in Europe is thought by some scientists to have been caused by the massive die-off of Native Americans, thus allowing reforestation of the territory known as the USA over a relatively short period, thus removing a large amount of carbon from the atmosphere.

      (It is thought that first contact in the Caribbean and Florida touched off a wildfire of disease that spread across the continent, decimating Native American populations before Europeans ever explored the interior or even much of the coasts.  The forests and prairies which had been carefully managed for strong wildlife production and sustainability then burst into growth.  The huge flocks of birds and other wildlife reported by later European explorers were not natural either, but over-population caused by the sudden disappearance of their former main predators: man.)

      As far as we know, there has never been anything like this caused by humans on a global scale. I'm pessimistic as to whether bickering humans can ever be brought together around the world in positive action in time to address the issue.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:37:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  do you have citations for this? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GreyHawk, WarrenS, Brooklyn Jim

        of course, i knew about the population collapse in the New World, but I had no idea about the climate change consequences.  

        •  Links (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chi, serendipityisabitch

          http://www.sciencenews.org/...

          Original research on this came out of a team at Stanford:

          http://news.stanford.edu/...

          Note that the researchers don't claim it was the sole factor, but this was likely one key contributing factor.  

          Similar to the story of the mammoths: the question being What killed them?  More often than not, the general populace and edutainment try to offer up singular answers to a question like this.  Was it over hunting by early man?  Was it disease?  Was it climate change?  In reality, all evidence points to a combination of all three.

          Same goes for the little ice age.

          And the same will go for the loss of the Arctic ice cap.  Was it thermal forcing due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas?  Was it due to decreased albedo?  Was it due to shifting weather patterns due to more open water over the Arctic ocean?  etc.

          At the end of the day, the accurate answer will be all of the above in a complex and shifting order of significance.  Ultimately, we with our industrial era based lit the fuse, but precisely what causally permitted the ice cap to disappear entirely during the summer months is much more complex.

          Politically, I identify with the desire to assign blame and a singular cause.  In the case of climate change: man did it.  And in a very real sense, yes we did.  But to throw out all the nuanced understanding undercuts the establishment of a culture that actually appropriately weighs knowledge of long term realities in complex systems.  If only we as a people had the ability to collectively and in majority accept what the scientists were saying about global warming in 1970.  But we already were on a modern trajectory of valuing sound bites over true debate and silver bullets over dedicated long term maintenance.

      •  Since the LIA started in 1300s... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GreyHawk, WarrenS

        ...I'm gonna say no.

        Though of course, the death of perhaps 98,0000,000 people did not improve things.

        Then again, without the LIA which may have been ended only by man-made output of greenhouse gasses, we may have faced climate change problems a century ago instead of in the last 30 years.

      •  Yup. Incan emperor killed by European disease (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GreyHawk, WarrenS, Chi

        before a European ever set foot in his empire.

        America's greatest political dynasty...the Kaan

        by catilinus on Wed May 01, 2013 at 02:46:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Rubbish. Science is NOT the enemy here. (4+ / 0-)

      I agree with your sentiment, though it waxes nostalgic.  But this particular item?

      Applied science, in many respects,... ...[has] made us blind to a long-term view of the cesspool we've been creating for humankind (and for all critters and plants).
      C'mon.  Science is NOT the enemy here.  Nor are scientists.  Nor is even applied science or engineering.  It is greed.  Policy based on greed.

      Science has helped confirm the age of the universe, the age of the sun and the age of the planet.  Without science that is less than a century old, we wouldn't know that bodies from outer space can impact the moon or the planet.  We wouldn't have good ideas about what killed the dinosaurs or perhaps if there ever were dinosaurs.

      Those Native American mythos you romanticize?  The precepts did NOT come from the stories.  The oral traditions were the vector of cultural knowledge.  That cultural knowledge was based upon accumulated trial and error, mistakes and success.  That is a form of science.  Perhaps not the modern scientific method but as scientific as any baby learning about gravity through picking up and dropping toys.

      In the modern era, knowledge of the atom has been wielded arguably with great irresponsibility.  Likewise, in retrospect our progeny may determine that knowledge of genetics has also been wielded equally irresponsibly.  (See your Monsanto comment, with which I fully agree.)

      But in the here and now, scientific knowledge of the biosphere and whole Earth climactic system is routinely ignored by industry leaders and policy makers simply because it disrupts their revenue streams.  Greed.

      Again, science is not the enemy here.  Science is more than capable of accounting for longer time scales.  But it is those motivated by pathological greed that hinder such understandings from playing serious roles in our policy making.

      •  Applied science has been sold as a cure for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brooklyn Jim

        whatever ails modern living, that somehow, science would come up with a solution. But more often than not, applied science has simply taken the route of "good immediate usefulness" rather than a longer view of impacts. And science, as applied, has always been seen by nonscientists as a "cure" rather than a palliative of limited effect and questionable impact.

        I have no dispute with science as a great universe of understanding. But, for instance, everyone getting in a car and driving nowhere fast while polluting the atmosphere and melting the icecaps (just an example) and enabling overpopulation, to boot, is one of the ugliest examples of applied science undermining the long-term wellbeing of the planet.

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