Monday, December 14, 2015

Lovely Spring Day on December 14th

I walked three miles today, to and from a doc appointment. Along the way, I saw many beautiful scenes, and also was fortunate to be able to give directions and a recommendation for lunch to a couple of visitors/tourists in our town - Joey K's on Magazine Street, which has wonderful down-home NOLA food in a delightful atmosphere with a great, kind service staff.

The recent agreement on slowing-or-stopping global warming by cutting carbon-based energy usage seems to me a very mixed bag: if all countries take significant steps - not simply make efforts, but act significantly - then maybe the accelerating march to a Planet of Death will be halted. If some countries do not make efforts, or if many countries - or several big countries - do not take significant steps, then there is nothing that can be done because there are no enforcement mechanisms. So life and civilization changes dramatically or fatefully. If some countries take significant steps but miscalculated on what steps were essential, then we are doomed. If many countries make excellent estimates of what they need to do, but some do not, then we are doomed. And of course if the best estimates made this week are inadequate then we are all doomed.

So, why the uproar of praise and joy, the congratulations, and the expectations that Obama will be a historically great President because of leading the world's nations to finally agree to do something - enough - to stop the destruction of our planet? Is it pie-in-the-sky baloney, realistic optimism, or something else - perhaps the relief that something has happened that might cause our Earth to survive? Is this part of the aura of our era: that we thrill to the mere possibility that we can (appear to) take mature action for the common good? Or have leaders of many nations and groupings overcome moral and intellectual inertia and actually taken action that will make a difference - have risen above hopeless, care-less and ignorant futility?

This is another point at which I am glad to be old(er) and aging. The near term - US election 2016 - and the medium term - global climate change catastrophe - are fraught with uncertainty, maybe fraught between uncertainty and soul-jarring, civilization-crushing terror. Peace be with you.

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