Tuesday, April 11, 2017

#101 / Stop Digging

The "First Rule of Holes" is to "stop digging." There may be other things you can do, too. When you are down in a hole, there may be other remedies and actions that could help you out. 

But that "First Rule of Holes" should always come first: "STOP DIGGING!" Don't make things worse as you are thinking about how to make them better.

A recent article in The New York Times, "Planet-Cooling Technology May Be Earth's Only Hope," induced me to revisit my previous advice about what we should do when we're in a hole.

In terms of global warming, and its consequences, we are in a hole, and it's a really deep one, and getting deeper. Eduardo Porter's article makes that clear (just in case you needed any assistance in understanding where we are, in terms of the depth of the hole in which humanity now finds itself). We are in a hole, and we are all digging it deeper, daily.

Porter's article, which reported on a recent conference in Washington, D.C., suggests that "geoengineering" technologies may be the solution, or our best choice, to deal with that hole.

"Geoengineering," also called "climate engineering," includes things like flying planes around the planet, releasing aerosols, or "whitening clouds to reflect sunlight back into space." There are lots of people who don't think that "geoengineering" is a good idea, and that our geoengineering efforts could, in fact, result in a planetary disaster.

My observation is this: Before we start trying out new technologies that we know will have planetary-sized risks, shouldn't we first address ourselves to the fact that we are digging the hole deeper, every day?

Human beings (this is proven) don't like to look reality in the face. One of the great professors I had at Stanford, Otis Pease, used to talk about the need to be "tough minded" as we considered our situation and our options.

A "tough-minded" approach to global warming would indicate that we need, as a society, to eliminate the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels. No gasoline autos or trucks. We need to stop burning the lightbulbs after dark, in every commercial advertising display we find in our urban downtowns. We need a massive effort to plant billions of trees. We need to manufacture and install photovoltaic arrays wherever they will produce energy.

We need to stop waiting for "the market" to solve our problems. We need a common agenda that reflects the real emergency we're in.

It would be wonderful if every nation would act on this agenda simultaneously, but let's not wait around. We need to do it now. What we can do, we must do! The hole's that deep.

Maybe later, we will need to do other things, but let's pay attention to first things, first.

We are in a hole. So, we need to....


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