Public Comment

The Peril We All Face Due To Human Folly

Jack Bragen
Sunday January 07, 2018 - 02:54:00 PM

Soylent Green was a 1973 movie starring Charlton Heston, loosely based on the 1966 science fiction book "Make Room, Make Room!" by author Harry Harrison. The movie explored the effects of unchecked population, it predicted global warming (in 1973) and it concluded with the uncovering of a secret, that the ocean was dying, and with it, everyone would die.

Thus, human beings have known of global warming for more than fifty years. It was too inconvenient for us to find alternatives to fossil fuels.

Worse yet is how human beings treat our oceans. We've used them as a sewer, a garbage dump, a nuclear testing ground and nuclear waste sight, a platform for military battles. And worse. Recently there was the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear reactors, which released large amounts of radioactive material into the ocean. Additionally, we had the BP oil spill disaster in Gulf of Mexico.  

At the same time, we expect the ocean to provide us with oxygen, and we use it as a source of food. The ocean is responsible for about 70 percent of the oxygen we breathe. Due to warming of the oceans, some scientists believe that there has already been a forty percent reduction in the plankton that produces oxygen.  

When our situation worsens, it is conceivable that our oceans could turn anaerobic. This means everything in the ocean will die, and it means that human beings and most animals will slowly suffocate to death. 

Environmental issues are no longer strictly in the domain of bird watchers, hikers and nature lovers. Environmentalism is also no longer about mere health concerns, such as carcinogens in our environment, lead and mercury contamination, birth defects, towns becoming sick due to toxic waste, and so on. Now, the ante has been raised to whether or not our planet will continue to support human life, whatsoever.  

Is it too late for us? We must not assume that. It appears that the Republican Party, the fossil fuel industry, Congress, and the President, believe that it is hopeless to reverse global warming; and that we may as well build structures that will house the fortunate few. 

I am certain that President Trump is well aware of the scientific fact of global warming, despite his public denial of that. His circle of concern excludes everything and everyone other than his own power, importance, and wealth.  

To appease some of the less informed members of the public, oil companies have periodically aired ads claiming that we can take the carbon dioxide out of our atmosphere and store it. Any credible scientist can tell you that this would either A; require more energy than was obtained by burning the fossil fuels, or else B; it would deplete our atmosphere of oxygen.  

We currently have sufficient technology to convert to renewable energy. What stands in the way?--human folly of various kinds, such as greed, denial, the desire for comfort, and resistance to change. 

As it stands, we're looking at the likelihood of most life on our planet becoming extinct, and it seems to be happening much faster than we anticipated.