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The progressive web comic about global warming.

start rant

The Camel's Back

My mind was occupied by two semi-related thoughts the past few days. The first was if a person walked by a car with its windows rolled up and inside the car was a baby and it was a very hot day our first inclination would be to break a window and save that child.

And yet, it's clear from the science that our Earth is like a car with its windows raised, and our misuse of fossil fuels is heating our environment rapidly, and we're that baby trapped inside. Only no one's coming to save us and not enough people care enough to find a way out.

(I tried, hard, to make a cartoon illustrating such a comparison. Couldn't. That's one reason today's 'toon is so tardy.)

Have I bummed you out enough? People, I'm just getting started. (Yeah, I'm in one of my moods... again.)

The trouble is CO2 which, as you know, is a powerful greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere. Most of this excess CO2 is a result of fossil fuel-powered transportation. Unfortunately, there's so much in the atmosphere today that even if the entire human race ceased creating all CO2 in the next second it would still be too late to stop the melting of the ice sheets. What happens next is best described here. It ain't pretty.

So the human race really has two futures, neither of which is good.

One, we continue on as usual and basically broil in our own juices until all life on Earth is extinguished within the next hundred years or...

A massive solar storm hits the Earth. And soon. If we're lucky our entire electrical infrastructure will be totally destroyed, mostly in the form of blown transformers. It could be repaired, certainly, but it's rather difficult to construct new transformers when the electrical system doesn't work. This would take a very long time.

Meanwhile, complex Western societies, lacking power to feed and provide water to its citizens, would shrivel and die, highlighted by one last glorious orgy of cannibalism, leaving behind only agrarian societies in less-developed countries who know how to work the land without the benefit of advanced technology. Billions of people would die but CO2 emissions would plummet, though methane levels would temporarily spike as billions of humans decompose in their overpriced mcmansions. The good news is that although the vast majority of humans will perish other species will  flourish, at least as far as rising temperatures will allow.

Can we do anything to save ourselves? How about, just to keep ourselves occupied, we increase gas taxes by a LOT and plow all that money immediately into a massive publicly-owned renewable energy system, including vast solar arrays in our desert Southwest.

Another good idea is to start rethinking our use of the personal auto, making public transportation, utilizing electric-powered buses, free and efficient, paid for on the front end by gas taxes and on the back end by excess monies generated by solar and wind power. (A temporary progressive income tax rate can be applied to make sure the poor don't pay the biggest burden for this idea.)

And how about having fewer kids, eating less meat, and possibly quit thinking that's it's your divine right as an American to visit every single tourist trap on Earth via plane, boat, or car before you die. (We're not impressed, anyway. Frankly, I only care about people climbing Everest if they die in the process, something that's occurring more frequently these days thanks to our old friend, climate change.) Stay home and pick up trash around the lake on the weekends, or help out at a homeless shelter.

Admittedly, there's the very real possibility that the science is in error, that no matter how horribly humans mistreat our environment that it will eventually heal itself. But where is the harm in assuming that it can't?

(Rant truncated due to real life, but you get the idea.)

Now excuse me. I need to go bite something.


end rant

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