Delight Springs

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Keep hope alive

Cubs win! Congrats to their long-suffering fans, and to Cleveland's for coming oh-so-close this time-their time's coming. (And thumbs down to the churlish sour-grapes Cards' tribalists who make me question my ancestral allegiance. It's a game, people.)

We close Atmosphere of Hope and look ahead to Ecotopia today.

When the climate gives us lemons, we can make lemon shandy. That's one way of thinking about chemical capture and storage. Generously pour that excess CO2, not on the rocks but into them. Or into cement, or sand, or some other smart and safe hideaway. We could even capture ships' exhaust at sea and release it in a carbonate form that might go on capturing more CO2 from seawater.

The famous 1953 Miller/Urey experiment didn't really "create life in a flask" but it did forge new frontiers with the potential to replace fossil fuels through power generation based on captured carbon. Crossing those frontiers won't be cheap, but there are no intrinsic technical barriers to make them impassable. Energy economics may be dismal but it's not rocket science.

Some people who don't like looking at wind farms or other renewable technologies want to keep the Antarctic a visual wilderness. I'm with Flannery, they don't have to look. They can retrain their aesthetic sensibility to reflect eco-reality. And Exxon, Mobil, et al, can change their business model. What did Mr. Wells say, adapt or perish?

Flannery is heartenend by the spirited activism of young people lately. "If their elders had been half as effective as they are, we would have the climate problem under control by now." Despair is not a constructive attitude. Let's remember that as November 8 impends. "Younger people need to be given the chance to create a better world for themselves." Their time's coming too.

6:15 am/7:14, 68/82/55, 5:47


  1. I wish I felt more sanguine that the big and little studies and actions that Flannery discusses will have the positive effects he hopes for. Convenience and habit are strong motivators and it's hard to break their hold without a cataclysmic event, a ridiculously easy transitions or a WIFM that cannot be ignored. I continue to drive everywhere to shop, to class, and go about my business, rather than ride Rover. Most days, I only feel a little guilty. I'd consider changing my actions if gas were $10/gallon, lost my car or lost eyesight. I do have hope that the younger generation can make their mark by leading the way to a dramatically lower carbon future. Stopping the current demagogic denier running for President would be a big step in that direction. But how to enlist an army of environmental change-agents will be a monumental challenge. Like Flannery, I'll cling to hope and do my small part in giving them a chance to create that better world.

  2. Thomas Berry comes to mind: "The Universe is by definition a single, celebrity event." I agree and hence I think there is no room for despair. Evolution moves eternally forward three steps and backward two, an endless circular dance that slowly expands creation toward greater circumference (assuming a circle for convenient metaphor).

    Yet Newton's third law is: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The statement means that in every interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects. The size of the forces on the first object equals the size of the force on the second object.

    Accepting the current assumption that everything that exists is energy (which our minds' filters observe as solid form), I find this outward expansion extraordinary. This is not an equal reaction of one amount of energy to it's opposing force. This implies to me, 1.) that there is an inherent "expansion gene" (don't know how else to phrase it right now) in the Universe, and 2.)
    that time doesn't exist, that everything I experience is happening now, expanding and contracting in one, huge, endless explosion ("single, celebratory").

    These thoughts being true (and I don't know!), even if the Trumpeters and climate change nay-sayers win this election next week, there is growth and expansion inherent in the Universe that will save Life... And we can hope our self conscious species as well. So I have great hope in our younger generations, in their optimism, pragmatism and energy. May they succeed!