ETHICS ISSUES: CLIMATE CHANGE

imagesCA67UIAUCLIMATE CHANGE IS A PERFECTLY NATURAL OCCURRENCE, and MAN IN ALL HIS ARROGANCE CANNOT CONTROL IT.  Earth is in an interglacial period (meaning it’s warming naturally).  Nature is adapting and will continue to adapt to it as it has for millennia.   It’s the system at work, and it’s a good thing, not bad. We need only act responsibly, relax, enjoy it and stop trying to change it because we can’t (another good thing).  http://www.extremeethics.org/?p=708

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It’s clear that Earth is a living planet, unique in our solar system, probably beyond.  Although born devoid of life, it seems to have created its own unique environment for it; it has remained alive since the advent of prokaryotic bacteria some 600Million years ago. That the geologic and biologic realms are interrelated is supported by the coevolution of organisms, climate and the earth’s crust as deduced from the geologic record.

We don’t know the origin of those simple photosynthetic bacteria that started it all back in the preCambrian era, but the fossil record proves their existence. These simple cells (without nuclei) were responsible for altering Earth’s atmosphere from anaerobic to aerobic to enable the support of life beginning with the basic eukaryotic cell (with a nucleus) typical of plants and animals. This cell is the progenitor of all life forms that have evolved from it.

Organisms co-evolve with their environment, the biotic system influencing the abiotic system that supports it. Organisms interact with the inorganic environment to complete a self-regulating system that maintains life-supporting conditions on Earth. The biosphere, atmosphere, lithosphere and hydrosphere combine to maintain the balance necessary for our living Earth. That’s the way the system developed, and that’s the way it remains.

The gases of our atmosphere are produced by biological reactions with Earth’s soils, rocks and water, and are maintained in spite of changes in earth processes.  Atmospheric conditions have remained constant enough to maintain conditions necessary for life, and are kept in a narrow range by the life it supports. Air is 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, just under 1% Argon and traces of other gases, and 0.04% Carbon Dioxide.  Oxygen is a very reactive element that if much higher would lead to dangerous conditions (fire). That this probably occurred in the past is supported by the occurrence of natural charcoal in the Carboniferous coal measures, deposited when oxygen exceeded 25% of the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide is critical to maintaining atmospheric temperatures and in maintaining the Oxygen level. Its major contributor is vulcanism, an ostensibly chaotic occurrence that nevertheless exerts significant control over concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that help maintain our climate within acceptable limits. (And there’s lots of it.  In addition to the ones we witness, undersea volcanoes occur constantly, adding huge amounts of CO2 to seawater.)  Another is animal life—it produces carbon dioxide by processing life-giving oxygen. Carbon dioxide is removed by vegetation, carbonate rocks, and certain phytoplankton. When carbon dioxide increases, more plants grow to process it.  Naturally. This includes certain algal blooms in the oceans, which increase with increasing carbon dioxide concentrations.  The oceans are instrumental in controlling carbon dioxide, and there’s a lot of water–and plant life–in them.

The hydrosphere includes all water in all its forms (vapor, liquid and ice).  The amount of water in earth’s system remains constant—it does not increase or decrease.  Further, the interchange between forms is automatic—it varies with the needs of the system. This automatic balance is instrumental in earth’s adaptability to changing conditions.

There is feedback between the oceans, the atmosphere and the entirety of the hydrosphere. Ocean salinity remains near-constant at about the 3.4% necessary for life to exist in spite of natural phenomena that would seem to alter this number. This is partly a function of organic processes; organisms naturally improve their environment in order to survive. It’s natural, not planned.

Solar energy apparently has increased by 25-30% over time but surface temperatures seem to have remained within the limits of habitability in spite of it.  Apparently the life-friendly environment has withstood all of the many violent (literally earth-shaking) changes that have occurred since (and before) life appeared—vulcanism, sea-floor spreading and plate tectonics, meteor strikes and other cosmological hazards known to have occurred—to maintain conditions suitable for life to continue and develop to the current level.  It’s natural.

THERE’S A SYSTEM AT WORK HERE, and it works very well on its own.  Call it a complex adaptive system or, if you prefer, spontaneous order. While it may appear from our limited perspective to be a chaos of pressures, tensions and constraints with no hope of resolution, that’s not the case. It’s not the case because Earth is innately ethical. And it’s innately ethical simply because it’s the way it isa first principle.  And the environment as an ethical whole will handle whatever comes its way. “Nature Bats Last.”  Nature always adapts, and it’s always done “on the fly,” and we, individually or collectively, haven’t a clue as to how it really works. But one thing we do know is that it does work in spite of whatever happens to thwart it because the norm is innately ethical. If it weren’t, mankind would have been done for long ago. This, the way it is, is beyond our control, and that’s a good thing because we seem to be hell-bent to screw it up.

http://www.extremeethics.org/?p=708

We are part and parcel of Earth—as it goes, so do we—and in spite of what we currently believe, we are in fact not responsible for it!  EARTH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR US!  Of course we should treat it with respect as our progenitor and means of life, but Earth and its inhabitants are evolving constantly (and that evolution includes extinction), just as the Universe has been evolving for nearly 14BILLION years.  What makes anyone think that we’re responsible just because we’ve recently become aware? Mankind is not in charge.  The whole of nature is, and we’re just a miniscule part of it.  We are guests—not hosts.

Enjoy.  AndGoTo:   http://www.extremeethics.org/?p=667   for more pertinent information.

And:       www.extremeethics.org/?p=148 , www.extremeethics.org/?p=594,  and                                          www.extremeethics.org/?p=822     for even more.

 

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