A Shorter History of Burning Shit

It occurred to me, re-reading one of my original posts, “A Short History of Burning Shit,” that it was too long, and would run right past the attention span of the modern human, at least in America, so I decided to do a new version, one that would not take too much time away from selfie time.

I think it’s important, once again, to point out that you don’t need climate scientists to come to some understanding of how human activity causes climate change, especially now that our under-educated and incompetent president has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accord, using the same sort of logic that was used when I was a kid to tell us that “duck and cover” was going to save our butts from a nuclear attack: just pretend, and it’s going to be alright. Well, it’s not going to be alright, and here’s the short version of why it’s not, even if, like Donald Trump, we just pretend.

Humans are the only species on Earth, plant, or animal, that creates fire. We have been doing this for thousands, if not tens of thousands of years, probably almost a million years. We used rubbing sticks together, then flint and stone, to achieve this, but once we did, Earth’s relationship to fire changed.

Natural fires, those caused by lightening strikes (the most common), volcanism, and meteor strikes, burn for a time, but then go out when they run out of fuel, hit a natural barrier (like a river, or an ocean), or when the rain comes. Once these fires are gone, fire does not occur in those areas for many years afterward, because the natural fuel for fire is gone in that particular area. So, natural fires tend to be random, short term events.

Human fires, especially those used to power modern technology, tend to burn continuously, and the growth of our use of fire has been exponential with each technological advance. For example: the internal combustion engine, and the generation of electricity, are two types of man made fire that burn continuously around the world. It’s the continuous burning nature of man made fires that drives global climate change, and just pretending that it isn’t, or falling back on some cave man mentality, that atmosphere so big, isn’t going to help you.

The results will be catastrophic, no matter what scientists hired by oil companies tell you about the effects of carbon, and how much better your tan will be when the Earth warms to its highest temperatures in millions of years. Eighty percent of all humans live within a short distance of water, and the mass migrations of humans alone will cause chaos around the globe, even here in the United States. Perhaps you should ask yourself why Donald Trump, who believes that climate change is a Chinese hoax, wants sea walls strengthened around his seaside resort golf courses.

No one is asking us to return to the eighteenth century and hook up our oxen to carts to go the the market. Arguments that world civilization will collapse if we stop burning shit and turn to renewable sources of energy for some of our needs are ludicrous. It is hard to believe that adaptable humans will have an impossible time turning their mechanical skills working in coal mines, or on oil rigs, into marketable skills working in the highly mechanical world of renewable energy companies. In fact, they will have an immediate advantage over the rest of us in getting these new, highly skilled, and good paying jobs.

The only thing holding us back from making this change is that world governments, especially the present governments of Russia and the United States, are caught in the stranglehold of political contributions, and demands, by fossil fuel company investors, and fossil fuel company owners, one of whom is Vladimir Putin. The most marketable resource Vladimir Putin has is oil, but it’s easier to manipulate if you pretend you’re in favor of the climate accord, and then use your puppet to destroy it. The Godfather always distances himself from the crime.

This makes it our responsibility: yours, and mine. We must speak out, and elect officials who will take this seriously, and remove those who believe snowballs disprove climate change, at least in those countries where there remains a vestige of democracy, as we have here in the United States.

Life on Earth is an intricately connected web of life. Inaction will lead to the collapse of that web, and, once it collapses, even our technology won’t be able to overcome its effects, killing even the human spiders at the center of the web, who are presently sucking the life out of everything around them, perpetuating a zero sum game that they believe they will survive, at the expense of the rest of us, and all other life on this planet.

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