Personally I doubt someone like Marco Rubio (or his ilk) gets it why, when he says the age of the earth is up for debate, he is put on a persona non gratis list for future government leadership by anyone who takes science seriously. This is not about whether there is a creator or there is not. It's about something science has data to prove-- the age of the earth. For someone who still considers creationism equal to evolution for potential to be right, (whether it is said out of ignorance or pandering) that person should not be taken seriously as a national leader. There is a reason for this and why it matters-- global warming.
Having written on the subject of global warming several times in this blog, what is being said about it hasn't changed much-- if you read scientists who are not paid to give the answer someone wishes. Basically it is called global climate change now because too many humans couldn't get their heads around how the earth growing some degrees warmer would actually make some regions colder. The earth is getting steadily warmer; but when we talk of weather, it's about possible ice ages (from 2003) as well as super storms. When ocean currents change, what does that do to the world's climate? Can you see the connection?
If you read no other links from this piece, please check out the following. It's lengthy and the story of one man's investigations into what was happening and where might it lead. Was he an alarmist or trying to get attention by telling humans what's coming whether sooner or a bit delayed? What should we be preparing to do? This is one opinion from 2007 (not when he began speaking or writing on this but date of this interview).
At one time Lovelock believed the earth would balance itself, but it's looking less as though it can when man is doing little to help it happen. The release of methane in the Arctic might contribute to why this thing is badly out of control. Some think we can do nothing but are they the same ones worried more about dollar cost than scientific research?.
For me caring about this and believing it's happening is not new. Here are a few of the pieces I have written on the subject, all with links most of which still work and are worth following.
When you do research, a lot of the articles talk on what is likely to be seen with a few degrees of increase. Then there was this-- what if it's more and comes faster? There is plenty of evidence that the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere is unprecedented for anybody who believes in science. Yes, scientists can now check such things through old ice and rocks.
Basically the earth is warming and humans are unlikely to be able to totally stop it. Can we though slow it or delay it? Some still don't believe it will happen, think their god will fix it, or claim since it costs money and inconveniences us, why do anything?
They are the same ones, of course, who wouldn't value anything listed above. They think dollars will fix any problem. Likely they believe they can move to some new country where the weather is better-- but can they? Will they find they are trapped in the world they created and die along with the poorest of poor?
I am not sure why some desire to amass wealth in things. They appear to think $1 billion + dollars is necessary but what they can do with it to improve their lifestyle that they could not with say $100 million? Isn't there a point where those dollars accrue to no avail and where the damage they have done to the earth, which is of value beyond paper or gold, isn't worth it? Evidently not yet for the ones still paying for environmental studies that will let them keep on abusing and avoiding real choices that might change this.
Listening to a speaker on NPR the other week-end, he said we could still change things on the East Coast of the US by reducing our emissions. According to most experts, it will not stop it, but it would slow it. What many experts are suggesting is we do what we can but we also prepare for the change. Are we? Anywhere? If the oceans rise will dikes be enough to save major cities like New York City? There are places where a lot of people currently live that are likely to become uninhabitable.
The latest super storm should convince those of us who can do math to change our view of at the least shorelines. Shouldn't it? The houses built on the shore in New Jersey should not be rebuilt there. I know humans like to think we can fix anything with money but once again, we cannot-- not when it's a big earth shift.
Facts and figures and we all agree-- right?
Except they don't because for all the major scientists predicting this kind of thing, there is a rightie claiming it's all communism and there is a paid fossil fuel corporate scientist who says it isn't happening or if it is, it's not man's fault. For those who think that way, it requires ignoring the climate changes they are seeing, the horrible tornadoes of 2011, the super storm of 2012, the melting ice caps, the change in the Arctic because they confuse climate and weather. Since it seems colder to them today, global warming can't be happening.
The end result is a resistance to government doing anything and they aren't considering possible changes for their own lives if this thing does get worse. Such people like the Rush Limbaugh faction claim it's Henny Penny running around crying the sky is falling and they forget the story of the grasshopper and the ant. Of course, a lot of them have been stockpiling wealth because everybody knows dollars/euros/gold can protect them from anything, right?
Well it cannot and whether the direr predictions of Lovelock come to pass, this earth has been in a balance. It will crave balance and won't let us vote on how that happens.
To have the Republican party put people at the head of Congressional science committees who believe the earth is 9000 years old, who believe God can fix anything, who think more trees should be cut down since they use oxygen, who don't believe in science basically at all, says they are currently the party of yahoos; and if they want to change that, they need to find new candidates to run for office. right now they get the title of science deniers and dollar valuers-- while they call themselves the values party.
So what do I think we, who do take science seriously, can or should do? One thing is be prepared ourselves to see disruptions in food supplies. Commonsense just says that regardless of whether a major disaster is imminent.
Then support new technologies. If you aren't in the field, you have no idea how many ideas are out there. The latest I heard about was getting water from air (assuming the air has it in it, of course)-- NDB Nano. The advances in solar and wind are impressive with better batteries to store the energy.
We use solar for the electric fence on our leased cattle property. Some of these new green technologies won't work in the long run but others will and it takes support to get them off the ground.
Too often such ideas were bought up in the past by oil corporations who didn't want competition. The innovators need to hold out and think of the long range, not their short range gain. Same with keeping the companies in this country instead of the temptation of sending them off to other nations with $.50 an hour labor. We have to as a people care about more than ourselves and think of the future generations.
Once a super storm is on its way, there's not much we can do except get somewhere safe, if possible, and accept that maybe where we live isn't going to be safe in the future. What do we as a world do when that's whole nations? Do we really care about our brother or is it all us? The days ahead may cause many of us to have to seriously consider our own answer to that question.
What can we do other than put our collective heads in the sand?
Be sure we are living somewhere that has a maximum possibility of surviving big changes.
Redesign and build homes that can survive tornadoes if that's where we live. If not your whole home, make sure you have a well-designed storm shelter.
Learn hunter gatherer skills.
Practice container gardening and buy heirloom seeds that can be saved and used the following year.
Be flexible and alert to what's around us.
Always look up, down, around, and listen.
Learn the earth's patterns where you live.
Stockpile a rotating food supply
Owning basic tools would not only be good but valuable for barter if things truly turned bad-- they are good for now even if they don't.
Favor government support for research into green technologies.
Minimize our own carbon footprint without a law forcing us to do so.
And finally for anybody who does believe in science, they absolutely cannot ever vote for somebody who says something like this-- Marco Rubio has no idea of age of the earth. That person cannot figure out how to deal with what is coming because they give equal weight to a theological interpretation of the Bible and what science can determine with technology. I think people can believe in a creator and still believe in science; but they cannot question the age of this earth and consider it equally possible it's a few thousand years old. You might consider that a partisan statement but it doesn't have to be if Republicans stop catering to ignorance and creating heroes out of religious leaders who have turned into political ones.