How soon before McDonald’s opens in an Arctic shore town?

12 May

Ice Age

As a child I was shocked to learn there were Ice Ages. My concern was they would return.

With the globe warming up, I no longer worry.

As an adult, I’ve always been of the mind that the Earth is cataclysmic, dynamic and without care for the creatures and life forms that inhabit it. Because of this, I haven’t spent much time trying to figure out what’s going on with the current variety of climate change. I’m not even sure I could.

It is clear to me, however, that today’s Earth will not be tomorrow’s Earth. Nature has never worked that way.

There aren’t many trees on the Mid-western plains of the United States because they once were under water. Humans or pre-humans walked out of Africa and into Europe because there was no Mediterranean Sea.

So now the ice is melting and temperatures are getting warmer. Surely, the great amount of carbon gases being produced by the dominant species is a contributor. But are there stronger, natural, cyclical factors at work?

Maybe. But I wouldn’t know.

Does it matter?

Human cultures seem unable and unwilling to actively and intentionally reverse things. It is possible the market place could do the job on its own when advances make clean energy more profitable than dirty energy. Until then, we will suffer the disadvantages.

Just as past civilization have migrated due to changing climate, we will, too.  The Earth won’t even flinch.

When the shock of the coming changes wears off, we should focus on the benefits. And there are benefits.

Temperature change chartThink about it this way: If you lived in an ice world and have fully adapted and someone says they could melt it for you, you’d say no. If you lived in a world without ice and someone says they could freeze it for you, you’d say no.

No one wants change, even if their butts are as cold as mountain snow. The good in change often is obscured by the status quo and a locked-in mindset.

Since we are changing, let’s look for the good that has been ignored.

  • We can grow wheat in Canada.
  • They’re making real estate again.
  • New tourist destinations are coming.
  • There will be new access to abundant minerals and resources.
  • You can ship goods across the top of the world and save bundles of money. (The once mythical Northwest Passage is real).

Polar bearUntil recently, I hadn’t heard anyone talk about such things. It would be rather insensitive in light of the many species losing their habitats and the wealthy losing their beachfront homes.

But it is being talked about now.

The Obama Administration this week released a national strategy for the Arctic in advance of a conference of eight polar nations, where temperatures are warming twice as fast as everywhere else.

“Our pioneering spirit is naturally drawn to this region for the economic opportunities it presents and in recognition of the need to protect and conserve this unique, valuable and changing environment,” the president said.

I think the key words are “economic opportunities.”

My experience is little gets done unless there is money to be made.

While the environmentalists moan, complain and argue about climate change (not necessarily bad), visionary entrepreneurs are jumping in an investing. They see the possibilities. From a strategic and security standpoint, the U.S. cannot let other countries – Russian, for example, which has miles of Arctic coasts – get ahead or dominate in the new, warmer world.

And it won’t.

It’s just a shame the kind of mobilization and investment that is about to occur couldn’t have been used to combat the climate change in the first place.

Then again, maybe it wouldn’t have worked. Maybe nature has its own plan and our CO2 really is not a factor. I wish there was a way to know.

Either way, I’ve finally stopped worry about the coming of a new Ice Age and having to wear animal fur 24 hours a day. I guess that is some consolation.

By Lanny Morgnanesi

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One Response to “How soon before McDonald’s opens in an Arctic shore town?”

  1. earthstonestation May 12, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    True true true. We can not really predict the future. In the current status of CO2, NOAA just published stats for levels that are at 400ppm, the graphs readings which were started in 1958 are sobering.

    Like

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