Sun. Dec 15th, 2019

HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE CLIMATE CHANGE

The most telling trait of the climate worriers is that all their terrors about climate change hinge on the selfish notion of a thwarted determinism.

Or, to put it another way, they see the human race as the centre of the universe. They show scant respect for the majesty of nature, or appreciation for the ultimate indifference of the universe.

The great 20th-century American philosopher Alfred E. Neuman put it best when he said, “What, me worry?”

Alfred was onto something because he had learned to stop worrying and love the all-encompassing chaos that enwraps us in its unpredictable storm.

Those who allow their own self-importance to lead them to fret about the fact that the universe is constantly expanding and will one day contract with an almighty bang only betray their conceit.

Many a poet will survey a scenic view of nature and produce a veritable bouquet of sublime sentences, so romantically will they lace their verse with a perceived beauty in nature’s superficialities.

They will absorb a forest and translate their impressions into ornamental prose, missing the ineluctable truth that the poet’s sense of beauty is the wildlife’s unending dread.

Nature is violent. The pristine beauty of the wilderness is merely the setting for a savage struggle for survival. A critter being suffocated by a python has little time to reflect on how marvellous the view might be.

Nature does not owe the wildlife a living, nor does it guarantee one, and it sure as hell owes the human race nothing.

The trouble with humans is that we’ve been trying to tame chaos for so long that it’s become a sense of existential entitlement.

Our reliance on science and a study of predictability has led us to expect that we can overcome, or that we can control our environment when in actual fact, we are dust it has blown around for its own amusement since we slithered out of the slime and hung animal skins around our apelike bodies.

The idea being put forth that harvesting cattle for sustenance is killing the planet through all the methane emissions from the animals we cultivate presupposes that there would never be the same number of beasts farting up a storm if we were all vegans instead of carnivores.

Likewise, to suggest that anything is unnatural about manmade industry when we are of ourselves products of nature requires an arrogant belief that we are somehow apart from nature. What is coal, after all, but petrified dinosaur shit. If we happen to burn it for fuel, we’re only recycling nature’s own produce.

Life comes and goes, as the dinosaurs proved, and all at the whim of the randomness of nature. The instinct of any beast born into this life is survival and it will do so whatever the cost. A tiger feels no guilt when it hunts prey, and a fish experiences no indignation when a whale comes along and gulps its entire family for a snack. It doesn’t worry about the karmic consequences.

It might be an existential truism, but whatever will be, will be, and the forces of nature are not, and never will be, in our control.

Bushfires will occur and produce pollution whether or not a pyromaniac is around to light the blaze that pollutes the air with atmosphere-choking smoke.

Let’s face it, humans have been geniuses, even gods of adaptation. We win a few, we lose a few. And it is entirely unimaginative to suppose that we haven’t been here with overpopulation and climate change before – recent studies of the Sphinx and other ancient marvels have led certain academics to the very credible theory that at some time in the last 10,000 years the world experienced a sudden rise in the oceans. But those ancient ruins stand testament to the fact that we soldiered through and pretty quickly caught up with where we left off technologically speaking.

Humans will most likely make it to Mars. The fact that we’ve managed to project ourselves into that vast and mysterious inky canopy called space only increases the odds that this travel offers a bold new frontier. Life will carry on, and perhaps, like at the ending of 2001 A Space Odyssey, we’ll go on to crack the multidimensional thoroughfare to a whole new level of consciousness.

So, shut up about climate change. Stop worrying about whether the planet is warming up and learn to love it. Eat your beef and leave your air conditioner on 24 hours a day, because in terms of problem-solving, you’ll be keeping the human brain at its sharpest. We need these challenges.

And just imagine what amazing changes evolution will force us through. We might end up with six pairs of eyes, or the ability to fly. We may learn to sing our way into the stars or breathe underwater. Who knows?

Let’s all get down with uncle Alfred E. Neuman, stop worrying, and learn to love climate change. It’s just another test, after all; a further problem for us to solve so’s to keep us on our toes.

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