Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Global Warming is Inevitable
‘It’s in your nature to destroy yourselves.’
-T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Terminator 2: Judgment Day
The Metro, the paper found on most buses in Britain, recently published a photograph of a melting iceberg- a familiar but poignant image in today’s ever-warming world. This particular iceberg, however, had a vaguely facial appearance to it- an elongated enclave resembling feminine lips, a distorted, long nose of melting ice, and one long, shadowy eye-like ledge. This crumbling, frozen mass seemed trapped in the centre of the otherwise smooth walls of the iceberg. On the left of the picture, a section of the iceberg wall juts over the space where you’d imagine the other eye to be. Under the arctic sun, a stream of ice water falls from this space, gushing into the freezing sea below.
The paper suggested that the face was that of Mother Nature herself, crying over the damage done to her planet in the short space of time humans had lived on it.
There was, however, one angle not covered by the piece- an issue seemingly unnoticed by the paper and even the United Nations. I thought I should provide that angle. It may have proved too radical, however, as it didn’t make it onto the letters page.
The ‘Tears of Mother Earth’ photograph (3/9/09) was excellent, and another vivid reminder of what we are doing to the planet. However, I doubt humankind will take heed from Mother Nature’s supposed warning. We’ve been powerless to stop our own ravaging of the planet for 1.6 million years- when man first harnessed the power of fire. This was the beginning of global warming- our harmful effect on the planet. The trend cannot be ‘stopped’, as the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon suggested. But it is important that we delay this devastation as much as we can by encouraging the use of more efficient power sources than oil, petrol and wood.
It has been brought to my attention, since sending this letter, that I’m right. Not regarding my eco-thoughts, though; just the fact that my ideas are too far-fetched for newspapers. My original argument was this: the first fire that man created was the first step towards today’s extremes of global warming. The ability to burn things, as the Jungle Book’s King Louie reminds us, is what sets us apart from every other species on the planet. (‘Give me the power, of man’s Red Flower so I can be like you!’)
Yes, we are a million miles (and years) away from Paleolithic flint-bashing. But nature gave us the gift of combustion. I think nature made us harm the planet. I’m surprised so few people agree with me. But fair enough: it has only been since the industrial revolution- starting at the end of the 18th century- which our polluting habits have started to take their toll on the Earth.
It has also been brought to my attention that, even though the planet is heating now, it will inevitably cool off- then heat up again. This is due to ‘Milankovitch cycles’, natural patterns in the change in the Earth’s temperature.
My point is that we can’t stop it. Our reliance on cars to get from A to B, and our need for oil to keep the lights on around the world, show no sign of letting up. I’m just going to keep separating my waste for recycling and using public transport where I can, but I won’t be waging war on Shell Oil and ranting at passers-by from my tree-house.
Not in the near future, at least...