I’m sure many of you have heard the news of the methane gas being released from melting Arctic ice. It seems to me that this is an appropriate time to pause and reflect on the basic sequence of events that led us to this catastrophic point.
What happened was that we found an extremely powerful energy source buried in the ground, a source so powerful that it made all kinds of previously impossible things possible. That energy source is what allowed us to put a man on the moon, for instance — an amazing feat! But what we mostly used that energy source for — other than to fight wars — was to build suburbs, fuel little boxes for us to be stuck in traffic in, and pointlessly ship goods around the world so that companies could take advantage of lower labor costs.
And when it became clear that the side-effects of wasting so much of this precious fuel for stupid shit were threatening to throw off the equilibrium of the entire planet, what we did was build even more suburbs requiring even longer commutes and ship even more goods pointlessly around the world, until the whole thing collapsed into a self-induced catastrophe that has so disrupted human societies that the thought of focusing on the long-term threat of global warming doesn’t even seem to occur to our leaders anymore.
Surely we are the prodigal son of species! We wanted our inheritance as quickly as possible, and we used it up — but there’s no father for us to go home to, no one to fix our mess for us.