[lbo-talk] The Planet is Fine

lbo83235 lbo83235 at gmail.com
Wed Dec 14 07:56:13 PST 2011

On Dec 14, 2011, at 9:16 AM, Fernando Cassia wrote:

> (a picture is worth a thousand words)
> http://busybeingfabulous.typepad.com/.a/6a00e55065630088340120a538fa20970b-800wi

In which we read, among other things, "The planet is fine. The people are fucked!"

But this depends entirely on what one means by "the planet":

"Climate change over the past ~30 years has produced numerous shifts in the distributions and abundances of species1,2 and has been implicated in one species-level extinction3. Using projections of species’ distributions for future climate scenarios, we assess extinction risks for sample regions that cover some 20% of the Earth’s terrestrial surface. Exploring three approaches in which the estimated probability of extinction shows a power-law relationship with geographical range size, we predict, on the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, that 15–37% of species in our sample of regions and taxa will be ‘committed to extinction’. When the average of the three methods and two dispersal scenarios is taken, minimal climate-warming scenarios produce lower projections of species committed to extinction (~18%) than mid-range (~24%) and maximum- change (~35%) scenarios. These estimates show the importance of rapid implementation of technologies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and strategies for carbon sequestration."

- "Extinction risk from climate change," Thomas, et al. <http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v427/n6970/full/nature02121.html>

A generous reading of calls to "Save the planet!", however clumsily those calls may be expressed, would acknowledge that they are, at heart, a call to change whatever it is that (some) human beings are doing to destroy much of the life on it.

Pricks to hubristic anthropocentrism are almost always a good thing. Disempowering cynicism, not so much.

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