Climate Change or Climate Choice?

part 2 of “Food from Trash: A story of how bioshelters will save the world”

ice James_Balog

I just got home from seeing the movie Chasing Ice, it was beautiful, awe inspiring, humbling, it was also thought provoking.

A documentary showing global climate change’s direct impact on glaciers melting, Chasing Ice throws very cold water on any remaining doubt the earth is warming.

I’m not a climate scientist, so I can’t vouch for the movie’s accuracy (it is just a movie after all). But I understand how a change in atmospheric chemistry, caused by human industrialization, is warming the atmosphere, thus melting glaciers. And, I personally have experienced the power of the greenhouse effect, the process that is causing global warming, because it is the same effect powering our bioshelter.

Chasing Ice inspired me to finally put into words some thoughts that have been rolling around in my mind lately.

It got me thinking about humanity’s impact on Life’s diversity.

Our bioshelter was built on a part of our back yard that had very little growing on it when we got here. Ecologically it was pretty close to being a desert. A few weeds and grasses, that’s it. Now, with the bioshelter in place, that patch of Earth is teaming with life, even during the winter months.

That my human hands can make such a positive change to the wellness of that space, as a result of the choices that I made, is nothing short of miraculous. I can decide how a 400 square foot patch of land can go from lifeless to life-full.

Is there a choice in the matter of climate change’s ultimate outcome, a planet full of life to mass extinction?

The possibility of mass extinction can numb the mind. How could we possibly wrap our brain around what mass extinction means to our day to day existence or even what effect it will have in our lifetime. Maybe a simple graphic will help re-stimulate the brain cells.

taxonomic family increase graph

The blue line above shows the history of mass extinctions over geologic time. Science has now proven that we are in the midst of another wave. It has become more clear that most likely human beings are the harbingers of death this time around. Particularly as the earth warms due to climate change, and species having little time to adapt.

But there is a trend hidden in the graph, the red line. From the perspective of Life’s evolution, drastic change is good. Since the beginning of life on this planet, mass extinctions have helped drive life’s diversity and complexity in a positive direction.

We could say the graph shows a long term global wide disturbance pattern. That the disturbance mass extinctions cause INCREASES life over time!

Bear with me as I make another observation…

There are modern examples of increases in ecological diversity from short term devastating region wide disturbance.

For example, new science is showing that even the dreaded invasive pine beetle, powered  by climate warming, is creating life, not destroying it, as outlined in: From Death Comes Life: Recovery and Revolution in the Wake of Epidemic Outbreaks of Mountain Pine Beetle

As global disturbers, whether we like it or not, humans are now an integral part of this trend. It also seems, that the graph shows mass extinction is inevitable, whether humans are the cause or not.

Except there is one phenomena that could never effect the nature of mass extinctions in the past, until now — conscious human choice.

O.K., I know, I know, what exactly is the point of all these thoughts I’ve put to words?

Like the decision I made to increase life inside the bioshelter, will humanity DECIDE to increase earth’s diversity, solve the climate change problem, be a part of Life’s positive evolutionary trend?

Or will we just be a catalyst for the next round of geologic mass extinctions?

What is fascinating, and liberating somehow, is that life will continue to flourish either way. Here is the real kicker though, and the point I am trying to make:

Humans have the power to choose how the graph will look tomorrow!

We can make a choice between a living planet or a dying one.

What is your climate choice?

For more on the relationship between bioshelters and climate change, make sure to come back and read part 3.

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7 thoughts on “Climate Change or Climate Choice?

  1. Pingback: Food from Trash | The Backyard Bioshelter Blog

  2. Pingback: God dam fucking privileged human beings | The Backyard Bioshelter Blog

  3. Excellent piece. Especially when combined with the current one today on The Privileged. What you don’t mention here is the possibility (now perhaps the probability), that humans may be the species that has inadvertently designed its own extinction. We are, after all, a part of nature. Not the masters of it but its inhabitants; in a system that may be unconscious and uncaring about what happens to its inhabitants. I have long believed that the short, and maybe near, term (100 – 500 years) the trend for suffering the consequences of our rapacious nature is not a good one and that we will see millions if not billions of our species perish along with many other species, including their extinction. The transition will be ugly but not without hope. Being a positivist, I also believe that it will take us that long to learn and start radically altering our ways so that medium to long term we have a good chance (but no guarantee) to improve and live in balance and harmony with the rest of nature. We may be accelerating that learning process with efforts and work such as yours which I know are growing world wide every day and have their roots is Carlson, Wilson, etc…and even in many of the world’s ancient philosophies and all its religions.

    Love, Dad

  4. Pingback: God damn fucking privileged human beings | The Backyard Bioshelter Blog

  5. If humans just caused x number of extinctions and then our actions actually led to more life at some point, that would be ok, but the problem I see is that greed and ignorance would prevent humanity from ever stopping its harmful actions, leading to a number of extinctions that are way beyond anything natural. And I tend to think that if we read into something like this in a positive light then it could give people more reason to perpetuate their harmful actions… similar to how people think consuming is ok because they can just recycle.

    • GHG… you say, “I see is that greed and ignorance would prevent humanity from ever stopping its harmful actions”… and I would agree that those contribute to our state of denial. I would add that our short-term time horizon (e.g., immediate gratification), preference for convenience over difficulty (drive my car versus mass transit), acquisitiveness (wanting to possess/own things thus consumerism), habit-bound natures (only some 20% of our actions are thoughtful, reasoned) are a few more of the root causes of humankinds inability to be aware of the consequences of its actions.

    • Thanks for mentioning this greenhousegnome. If you knew me, you’d know I don’t condone people not be responsible for their actions. My point of the blog post is that humans are “NATURE”, and that “natural” massive historical die offs have been as bad or worse then anything humans have done to this point, yet life rebounded with more gusto each time. These are just facts to contemplate when we all consider the devastation human greed and those with power are doing to this planet.

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