The title is a quote from one of Angela Sayers’ lovely books, I forget which one. Surely she, in England, never met up with a snow bank such as this, but the principle is universal. Machines do not dominate the weather; they only move it out of the way, or give us time to get out of the way.
And we would be better to remember this principle, as we try to discuss climate change, which is all about our human misuse of God’s energy to make machines so we can do whatever we want to do. There ae some things that machines can not do, and it’s better to remember this fact.
For example, we can use the energy of life to make the roads, to push the snow off the roads, to heat our houses, and to grow our food — but we cannot change the way the energy of Life works to operate and maintain Life. And so we fuss and complain because our machines didn’t make the world be like we want it to be, and now we have climate change, and what are we doing about that?
Basically, we are still trying harder and harder to dominate nature with the machines, and doing more harm – as a generalization, we are not trying to understand that machines cannot change how God made energy to function. Maybe it would be better to study how Nature really functions, rather than throwing a tantrum because we can’t have everything, because the way we are now going will most likely end with nothing that we want, as the climate of earth changes holistically in response to our micro-efforts to dominate the Earth.
Clearly, climate change is not merely a change of temperature. That claim is just one of many boondoggles organized by politicians to encourage us to argue among ourselves — as though our arguments have some impact on the laws of thermodynamics, or gravity – to give us some relatively inconsequential details to argue about so we won’t recognize the holistic reality.
Meanwhile, they are extinct or going extinct — those other organisms that created the climate and shared in the climate in which we evolved and thrived. We didn’t create the climate, nor could we – they created and maintained the climate, in their balanced interactions – but now they are gone and going, in huge numbers, and that is largely why the climate is changing.
In fact, some people are trying to save the extinct species using cryogenics and the like, but that effort is not likely to be very effective, because the reconstituted organisms will have no place to live. Because we are converting their environments to make food for ourselves. It’s a cycle, a runaway negative cycle, we don’t want to think about – only to control. We could use it to inform our efforts, but we cannot control it. We are putting our faith in the ridiculous notion that we can control God with our machines.
If one defines climate change according to a temperature, then of course, the temperature will change according to the systems that control it (the system created by all those other organisms that are going extinct) — but we won’t be here, because the Biosystem is not a bunch of little things that we can fix. It is an entire whole “body” like ours only much more complicated, and it will have to start over, make itself over, slowly adding and testing billions of interacting parts (like our physiology, but much more complex) that gradually “learn” how to work together to re-evolve a new set of sustainable conditions before becoming once again complex using whatever new species arise. That scenario is inevitable (or something very similar) if we continue as we are. It has happened a number of times before in the evolution of this living earth, and it will happen again if we cannot align our beliefs with the realities of our existence within the universe.
The future is not the next century we continue so confidently to talk about, as though nothing will change. It can crash dramatically in a few decades, if not supported and nurtured, and then it takes more like thousands of years for earth to begin recovery from a mass extinction. From our point of view – forever, because the higher organisms die off first, and that includes us. And then whatever simpler organisms manage to survive begin to repopulate the devastated earth as they find new kinds of environments that can support life, and begin again the evolutionary journey toward another, similar but different, complex earth system.
If we don’t like that scenario, then perhaps we should do something to prevent it, and what we should NOT do is more of what caused the problem in the first place. If we want to save ourselves, we must now try to establish a new norm for humans. A new “storyline” that does not involve domination as the solution to every problem. Unless we want to simply keep on recycling the extremes: the Hitlers and the Mother Theresas: unto our extinction, the new norm must be based on a new storyline that honors the balance among the systems: sustainable balance and respect for Life itself. It’s too late to solve our problems with growth and domination.
So our recourse now because we as humans are not competent to “make” a viable ecosystem, is to stop trying to force our ignorant will (the word ignorant means uninformed, not stupid or dumb — this is possible, we just aren’t doing it) to stop trying to force all of nature to do whatever we want it to do and instead honor the reality that systems of life – those that survive — work together for the common good.
For example, we have been overgrazing the earth since approximately the turn of the century. That means we have been taking out of the earth more than it can continue to grow.
These are genuine data that have nothing to do with opinions. Lester Brown, for example, is a nonpartisan expert who has been recording these data for more than 40 years, nearly 50, until his recent retirement. It’s not like we don’t know; we do know. If we do not stop overgrazing the earth we do know the result will be something on the order of the scenario in the paragraphs above. We can stop in two ways. One is to stop eating/using the available food and other energy supplied by the earth system; the other is to stop reproducing more people than we can feed. We are not making any particularly noticeable effort to do either.
Our politicians get elected by promising to NOT stop.
Opinions do not change facts**. Whatever we want to believe will not change the fact that the earth has only so much capacity to feed however many organisms and at the same time maintain its own balance as a life form. Maintaining its balance INCLUDES but is not limited to maintaining the climate. Nor will human opinions change the basic laws of nature that we are only beginning to understand, such as how gravity works and how the naturally evolved complex adaptive systems of the universe balance each other to maintain (or not maintain) themselves. It is not by domination, overall, but by cooperation, system with system.
What we do know, that every “hands on” farmer in all of history also knows, if you put too many cows in the same pasture they will eventually destroy the pasture and die. And that exact same scenario applies also to humans on this earth. We have been overgrazing the earth, beyond its capacity, now for nearly 20 years, and we cannot change what we have done. Dead is dead.
And now that it is done, we have a problem, and there is no point arguing about it, because whatever our opinion, our best solution is to behave as though it is true. Then, if it is true, we have a chance to save our world for the children. If it turns out that I am wrong, then we still leave to the children a better (more healthy) heritage than we received, and a much better opportunity to solve new problems as they arise.
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© 2017, Dr. M. Lynn Lamoreux
© 2017, Photos by Lynn
*Metaphors – at one point in the history of this blog I promised to not use metaphors, but that turned out to be impossible because all words mean different things to different people. Some of my readers may prefer to use “emergent properties of the system” or “environmental system” or “higher power” to replace the word God. Some might prefer to think “evolve” where I said “learn.” And you may want to know that I use the term “emergent property” synonymously with “macro-property of the system,”
Brown, Lester R. 2008. Plan B 3.0; Mobilizing to save Civilization. W.W.Norton & Co
Sutherland, Stuart. 2013. A New History of Life. The Great Courses, DVD