A Start to Something

Everything has to start somewhere - even this.

Two questions with two answers:

What have we done?

Our way of life is starting to lose control. Maybe we never really had control to begin with - but then again, we've never really tried, either. As a species, we've never tried to steer ourselves in any particular direction - for as long as any of us can remember, we've been a car on salt flats. We can just close our eyes, let go of the wheel, floor the gas - and see where it takes us.

Unfortunately, it turns out we're better at some things than we thought - like changing our environment.

What can we do?

It's time for a revolution of thought and perspective. We need to reorganize everything we know around a simple goal: 450 parts-per-million of carbon dioxide in the air by 2050. 450 by 2050. It'll take everything we've got - this effort belongs to the people, not politicians or environmentalists. It's just us.

And without getting all scary, if we let ourselves climb much higher than 450, the world's going to react - cycles shutting down, ice releasing methane as it melts, oceans turning acidic. All stuff to be avoided.

Some perspective: We started the industrial revolution at 200 ppm, about 150 years ago. Right now, we're at 380 - and we're adding more every second. That calls for some pretty drastic action right there, and there are plenty of plans waiting or already set in motion - but we've got to do it now. Not even soon; now. Without getting into specifics (which are topics for the future!), we know what we can do. The science is there, the technology is there - our understanding is there.

But is our humanity? Can we start steering our species? Can we focus on something so big it'll take the cooperation of the entire species to see us through intact?

All that's what I want to explore. By doing it through a public blog, y'all can come along too - and maybe with a bit of awareness spread around, we can start taking action together.

Just as long as it happens soon.


  1. On a hopeful note, it strikes me that we -- at least in the developed countries -- have steered the our course in a positive direction in at least 3 instances (though you may debate how completely effective it has been): Mutually Assured Nuclear Destruction was judged a bad thing and has been at least partially dismantled; Space has been maintained as an international arena; as has Antarctica. Maybe we can make this global effort work, also.

  2. It's true that those are all good examples of something global being done well, but I'm not sure they fit the same kind of bill. MAD is a great thing, without a doubt, but is so much more immediate than climate change - it's worrying that it might take us longer to react, as a result.