Some musings on the future
I can be a little dark. If you know me, you know this. But I would counter that if you knew me REALLY well, you’d realize that I’m actually an optimist. There’s only one person that knows me that well. Yea, it’s only me. I don’t let anyone else in that far.
See, I actually have great faith in the power of humanity’s collective ability to solve ANY problem. We keep doing it, over and over and over again. Got a plague, we’ll survive it, even if it means we need to abandon our cities to do it. Potato blight? Okay everybody get on the ships and get your asses to America. People coming down with a mysterious disease that cripples them? Hey, Mr. Salk get to work on that!
We overcome obstacles. That’s what a thinking, intelligent, curious species does. It’s what makes us unique in the animal kingdom. Yea, there is the argument that whales, dolphins and even crows are intelligent and curious. But they don’t have the ability to modify the environment of the planet they live on. Humans do. And we are doing it at a breakneck pace.
I don’t really care what your take is on anthropomorphic climate change, the climate is changing. That’s an indisputable fact. Whether humans are causing it or not is irrelevant (although, how anyone can believe we’re not, given all the evidence, is beyond me). We are the only species on this planet that has any hope of changing the situation. I think we can all agree on that. So should we make any effort in that direction?
I would posit that we already have. Solar energy is now capable of competing with any other type of energy production on a pure cost basis. In fact it’s often the cheapest option. So why don’t we do more of it? Governments, the world over, subsidize fossil fuels. They have since the dawn of the industry. There was a time when that was necessary. That time ended decades ago. But the subsidization continues. Everybody likes free money. Cut them off.
Industry in general has had a free ride for most of the last couple of centuries. Who pays for the pollution of the air and the waterways? It sure as hell isn’t the industry creating the pollution. And that cost isn’t built into the product they sell. It’s time to extract from their profits all current and previous environmental abuse. It’s time to calculate the cost and add it to the bottom line.
The earth is a commonwealth. Everything extracted from her is taken from the future inhabitants. I believe it’s long past time to pay back the debts. This won’t be a popular idea among the shareholders of the world. But it’s necessary. The earth is actually a closed environment. It’s a non-profit world. It’s time we treated her like one.
None of this is going to happen in a capitalist economy. I don’t have the answer but capitalism and its “profit above all else” motive isn’t going to solve any of the big problems of the future. We need a new paradigm. And NOW.
I have faith in our younger people. They’ve grown up in a world unrecognizable to their parents. It seems to me that they probably have the tools to create an economic system just as unrecognizable. I’m an old guy. The very tail end of the baby boomers. I’m willing to step aside and let them take the reins.
They really can’t fuck it up any worse than we’ve already done.
Thank you for reading.