Nature Doesn’t Do Bailouts

November 26, 2010

You think you were furious about bank bailouts after the big crash?  You ain’t seen nothing yet. While we toodle along in our we-can-burn-oil-&-coal-till-the-cows-come-home-without-a-care bubble, creating fire and spewing smoke to make our go go, nature is already warning us that in the not too distant future the cows may not come home, but our chickens will be ominously returning there to roost.  

See, unlike the government, nature doesn’t do bailouts. While we’ve been making huge CO2 deposits into her atmosphere bank without withdrawals, nature’s been tallying up and is starting to make pay-backs with interest, with no TARP-type backsies. As the people of Pompeii and Pakistan learned, nature is mercilessly non-homo-centric. In fact, it’s likely that in upcoming ecological events even the junk of Wall Street’s biggest chest-pounding homoerectus’ will wilt.

 Alluding to recent history, journalist Johann Hari puts it this way: “Before the Great Crash of 2008, the people who warned about the injection of huge destabilizing risk into our financial system seemed like arcane, anal bores. Now we all sit in the rubble and wish we had listened. The great ecological crash will be worse, because nature doesn’t do bailouts.”

In his article about the upcoming Cancun conference on global warming Hari says, “. . . Cancun should be about – surveying the startling scientific evidence, and developing an urgent plan to change course. The Antarctic – which locks of 90 percent of the world’s ice – has now seen eight of its ice shelves fully or partially collapse. The world’s most distinguished climate scientists, after recording like this, say we will face a three to six feet rise in sea level this century. That means the drowning of London, Bangkok, Venice, Cairo and Shanghai, and entire countries like Bangladesh and the Maldives.

“And that’s just one effect of the way we are altering the chemical composition of the atmosphere. Perhaps the most startling news story of the year passed almost unnoticed. Plant plankton are tiny creatures that live in the oceans and carry out a job you and I depend on to stay alive. They produce half the world’s oxygen, and suck up planet-warming carbon dioxide. Yet this year, one of the world’s most distinguished scientific journals, Nature, revealed that 40 per cent of them have been killed by the warming of the oceans since 1950. Professor Boris Worm, who co-authored the study, said in shock: “I’ve been trying to think of a biological change that’s bigger than this and I can’t think of one.” That has been the result of less than one degree of warming. Now we are on course for at least three degrees this century. What will happen?”

What will happen?

I’ll tell you what’ll happen. We’ll soon be wearing speedos in Antarctica and designer breathing aparatus and pontoons everywhere else. But for now we spew and dawdle and listen to money-and-power grubbing slugs like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh as if there’s no tomorrow, which may be the ironic existential case.

Via 3 Quarks Daily



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