ETHICAL ISSUES: CLIMATE CHANGE
Sometimes the answer to an important question is so obvious that it’s easily overlooked. Think about this:
What’s so abundant that we hardly consider it as pivotal? Try WATER. Oceans cover more than 70% of the earth—the amount of water in the oceans is unfathomable (pun intended). Water vapor is an integral part of the atmosphere—75% of all ‘greenhouse gases’–(think humidity, clouds, rain, snow). And the human body is largely water, as are the bodies of other animals (and plants as well). Water is not merely necessary for living, it’s necessary for life to even exist. It is an integral part of ALL living things and the earth generally.
Water exists in all three forms of matter—solid(ice), liquid(duh), and gas(water vapor) and as such is virtually indestructible, changing form easily within a temperature range tolerable by life: solid to liquid (or the reverse) at 32-degreesF, liquid to gas (or vice-versa) at 212-degreesF. What else is so rapidly adaptable to change?
The earth’s water is constant—it neither increases or decreases—and remains balanced between its three phases, transferring easily between the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere so easily that we don’t even notice it. (And we adapt to it, without even thinking about it.) What else is so constant? Or mobile? Or reliable?
Water changes temperature readily, providing a stabilizing influence. For instance, the temperature of ground water (that which is tapped by wells) tends to reflect the average temperature of the system of which it is a part (ground water varies in temperature from about 53-degreesF in the Northeast to perhaps 56-degreesF in the Southwest in keeping with the regional average annual temperature). It’s natural.
Could it be possible that water provides a mechanism whereby the earth system is kept in balance? Not only possible, but it does.
Changes in the earth’s temperature are unremitting and automatic, part of the planet’s ability to sustain itself. Earth has survived glacial ages and periods of ‘excessive’ warmth. Through it all the total amount of water has remained constant while it changes form as necessary. Amazing? Actually not, because it is the system. We just have to accept it for what it is, and don’t try to change it (because we can’t). That these conditions will not last forever should be obvious, but just as obvious should be the fact that life adapts as the earth adjusts—that is to say, v e r y s l o w l y.
Not to worry…humanity and the world we live in are compatible. That’s what nature’s all about. So long as we live responsibly (ethically, in the large sense), it will all work out for us. Just my opinion? Perhaps, but a well-considered one…
Comments are of course welcomed.