(guest post by dontshootme and Teratornis)
As a little bit of holiday cheer, here’s a comment from the Guardian’s Review of the Environmental Year. It’s my first Guest Post.
Teratornis is one of the most prolific commenters on Guardian Environment, with 262 pages of comments so far. He’s replying here to a comment by dontshootme.
I particularly like the paragraph about joining Facebook, accumulating some friends, then discovering to your horror that they’re all mass murderers.
dontshootme 21 December 2012 12:20 PM
Funny how the world was obsessed with today being the apocalypse when the apocalypse started about 50 years ago and is is continuing. We are killing the world and the politicians fiddle while Rome burns. We will be the most hated generation. That is assuming that there are many more generations to follow us.
Teratornis 22 December 2012 7:17 AM
“We will be the most hated generation. That is assuming that there are many more generations to follow us.”
I’m not so sure we will be the most hated generation. Our future victims will have every reason to hate us, but it’s not clear that they will be any more aware of what we did to them than we are aware of what we are doing to them.
By “we” I mean people generally. When you step outside the tiny bubble of ecologically aware people, it seems the vast majority of people are almost completely oblivious. They don’t know a greenhouse gas from a carbon footprint, aragonite from calcite, what the Eemian highstand was, or any of the rest of our inside baseball climate stuff.
If you join Facebook and accumulate some friends, you’ll see them posting pictures from their latest climate-destroying holiday trip, without apology, without so much as a hint that their actions might have been in any sense wrong. And nobody questions them.
If the average person today doesn’t understand what is wrecking the climate, why would the average person in 100 years be any more aware? From their point of view, if they haven’t known anything else, Florida under water might just be the way things are. As long as there are any fossil fuels left to burn, people will probably be idiotic and selfish enough to burn them. On what basis will they judge their ancestors for doing what they might still be doing even as the world spins into climate catastrophe?
When you look at people today who are already the victims of climate change, how many of them are hating the people who burn fossil fuels? The victims of hurricane Sandy are not going around hating on people who drive SUVs – many of them drive SUVs themselves. Fossil fuel addiction is nearly ubiquitous among people who can pay the asking price, and almost everyone who is poor wants to get rich so they can consume more of the goods and services we burn fossil fuels to provide.
I think the only people who could realistically hate us would be people who have overcome any need or desire to do what we are doing. That might be possible but it would probably require a breakthrough in the sciences of mind to cure people of unsustainable behaviors. If such a breakthrough occurs it might also make the cured people less inclined to hate the people who lived before the cure was available. They might then view our primitive urges toward unsustainable behaviors to have been a disease which, like polio and smallpox, had been eradicated by scientific progress.
And a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from me too.