Monday, August 02, 2004

Something else to worry about...

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Disaster at sea: global warming hits UK birds

From the article:The reason for the collapse is linked to a small fish that the birds would normally feed on while nesting:So, instead of breeding, the birds starved to death.

Why did the fish disappear?These movements of the plankton are affecting all the higher species that depend on them in one way or another.

The closing quote in the article mentions this:And that is true. Lots of people care about the environmental impacts of global climate change. But let's say you could care less about breeding seabirds. In that case, we know that most glaciers and ice sheets are now melting. Eventually, cities like NY, LA, DC, London, etc. will see the impact of rising ocean levels. So, whether you are an environmentalist worried about wildlife or a capitalist worried about trillions of dollars in real estate, you have an interest in stopping global warming.

What is so interesting about global climate change is our apparent inability to help ourselves. Even though we all know what is causing global warming (fossil fuels), and even though we all know how to stop it (stop burning fossil fuels), we are unable to do anything about the problem. We all need to go to work -- There is no alternative. To get to work we need to use cars or buses or trains, all of which burn fossil fuels either directly or indirectly. There is no alternative to that either, unless you ride a bicycle, which most people cannot do. Therefore, we all contribute to global warming every day. We have wired modern society so that, in order to survive, we must contribute to global warming.

It is a classic Tragedy of the Commons situation, where there is no short-term economic benefit to solving the problem, and quite a bit of short-term benefit to perpetuating it. So we spiral downward. One of three things will happen:We can all watch and see what happens.

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