What are your feelings on Global Warming?
It is a very complex situation.
Certainly there is a significant rise in CO2 levels, and there is also a rise in temperatures.
If the temperature gets high enough to melt the ice at the north pole, then it could stop the thermohaline pump that powers the Gulf Stream that makes Europe’s climate so moderate – which would be catastrophic for Europeans.
If the oceans warm a bit more, and methane hydrates release, then the addition of their methane to the atmosphere would vastly accelerate the process.
And there are many other factors in the mix.
From the behaviour of the sun’s magnetic fields, it appear very likely that the sun is about to enter a period of deep solar minima. If that does happen – which seems very probable, then we will experience a drop in global average temperature over the next 12 to 15 years, only to restart climbing again as the sun resumes normal activity.
Then there are other technological effects.
Based on current exponential trends (which have been relatively constant for the last 40 years), the install base of solar power is doubling every 2 years. Currently it meets 0.1% of humanity’s needs. To get from 0.1 to 100% is a factor of 1,000. Ten doublings is 1,024. So based upon those trends, we would expect to see an end to humanity’s reliance on fossil fuel by 2033.
Then there is another technological effect which is the increasing complexity of robotics.
As we develop automated systems that are capable of all aspect of the production and maintenance of themselves, and whatever else we tell them, we gain an ability to put these systems in space, and use them to control the amount of sunlight reaching the earth. Having such ability will allow us to rapidly compensate for any effects due to greenhouse gases or anything else.
That technology could be with us within a decade if there is a significant investment in producing it, or within about 25 years at current rates.
So I would rate greenhouse gases as a real, yet minor threat in the larger scheme of things.
The greatest threat to humanity and to other living systems, is the very poor allocation of resources that comes from the incentives given by market based valuation systems.
There is no economic incentive to effectively harvest solar energy – as it is too distributed to centrally control, and incumbent energy monopolies (oil and coal) will do everything in their power to prevent solar from happening.
I don’t lose any sleep over global warming; and I did plant 13 Ha of trees to offset our use of fossil fuels.
So it is something I take seriously, and it is something we can, and are, controlling.
And as many have mentioned, there are many other issues, not least of all our move to packaged and convenience food, and away from fresh fruits and vegetables.
Here is a graph from the Australian CSIRO of sea level changes over the last 140 thousand years.
The idea that anything is stable on this planet is a hangover from the ’60s idea of universal stability. It is a myth.
It does not exist.
Most of the earth systems are chaotic, and vary significantly in response to a large number of very complex factors. It is just that they usually do so on a time scale that is much longer than human lives.
We human beings are changing many of the system, and many of those changes are not in our own long term best interests, yet the idea that we are somehow upsetting some grand equilibrium is a nonsense.
Certainly, we can do a lot of things a lot more efficiently than we are, and a lot of things we are doing now serve no purpose but to make money.
Most of the “personal hygiene” products on the market are actually far more dangerous than they are beneficial.
We use detergent for dishes, and biodegradeable washing powder for our clothes washer, and that is it. I have not used any personal soap or hair care products in a decade. I shower in fresh water daily, and scrub vigorously using finger tips, and I smell a lot less than I used to (anyone who doubts that need only contact Ailsa).
I’d had a BO problem most of my life (since my teens), and it wasn’t until a friend who nurses old men said to us one day that she noticed that men smelled less if they didn’t use soap. So I tried it.
It took about 4 weeks, and then I really started to notice that I smelled only when I got really anxious.
I shower at least once a day.
Every time I shower I wash my hair, and massage my scalp vigorously with my fingers. No oily hair problems.
I scrub my armpits very vigorously with fingertips also, rest of body less vigorously, and thoroughly.
I use no deodorants of any sort.
It seems that in my case, most of the odour was generated by bacterial breakdown of soap residues sticking to my skin. So they were selling me soap that made me smell, then selling me deodorants to try and mask the smells.
The only time I use any sort of soap product now is when I am working with greases and oils (like changing the starter motor on a diesel engine, or fixing a wheel bearing, or like last night, fixing the Kenwood mixer (which had a problem in one of the dog clutches)).
I also have a strong allergy to polycyclic aromatics, which eliminates many perfumes, and some cleaning products.
We really only need cleaning products if someone has a very contagious bug. Most people in the developed world suffer from various degrees of auto-immune diseases because our environments are too clean, and we don’t give our immune systems enough work to do, so they start to attack us.
We need a reasonable level of good healthy grime for general good health.
A vacuum cleaner and a mop with warm water is all most people need most of the time.