Wake me up when we are drowning

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Twenty years has gone so fast

wake me up when September ends

wake me up when September ends

wake me up when September ends

That’s Green Day singing Wake me up when September ends, well that’s when Green Day stops singing actually, it’s the end of the song. By this time you must have noticed that the title of this blog post sounds similar. That’s because I’m going to talk about climate change and how reluctant we humans are to do something about it. How we might drown in rising sea levels and nothing will save us then. There’s an inertia that keeps us where we are when it comes to this. Why is that? The short answer is that it is so because we are humans. A longer answer is very well explained in the following video:

After the short and the long answer comes an old one. I’ve been over this before and it is the same reason why we waste so much. Old wisdom that I’m referring to here is from a not so old movie called The Day When The Earth Stood Still, which is a remake of a 1951 movie (this one’s old). In this movie, Klaatu (Keanu Reeves), an alien, a representative of many civilizations in our Universe other than humankind, comes to Earth to see if humans can change their behavior towards their planet, if they can stop the environmental damage that they have caused.
In the movie, he happens to meet a scientist, who takes him to Prof. Barnhardt, with an intention that Klaatu would change his mind about wiping out humans off the face of planet Earth. Klaatu’s plan being that killing the human race would save other civilizations. When Klaatu meets Prof. Barnhardt, professor tries hard to convince him. This is how their conversation goes:

Professor Barnhardt: There must be alternatives. You must have some technology that could solve our problem.

Klaatu: Your problem is not technology. The problem is you. You lack the will to change.

Professor Barnhardt: Then help us change.

Klaatu: I cannot change your nature. You treat the world as you treat each other.

Professor Barnhardt: But every civilization reaches a crisis point eventually.

Klaatu: Most of them don’t make it.

Professor Barnhardt: Yours did. How?

Klaatu: Our sun was dying. We had to evolve in order to survive.

Professor Barnhardt: So it was only when your world was threated with destruction that you became what you are now.

Klaatu: Yes.

Professor Barnhardt: Well that’s where we are. You say we’re on the brink of destruction and you’re right. But it’s only on the brink that people find the will to change. Only at the precipice do we evolve. This is our moment. Don’t take it from us, we are close to an answer.

Point made. I haven’t seen the 1951 movie, but I’d take that this wisdom was also shared back then. We humans care a lot about immediate dangers – for many it is earning bread and butter for the family. This is not a scene only from developing countries but also developed ones. Human nature is the same across all regions of the world. Such changes in behavior can be very well brought out through governmental and international decisions and cooperation. It’s a difficult situation, agreed, but people who can afford to make changes, can, and also can help others who are willing to change but can’t afford to.

2 thoughts on “Wake me up when we are drowning

  1. I really hope we do and I’m really happy about the growth of the renewable energy sector.

    Some of us who care about the long term issues like climate change, it’d mean that human nature is evolving. May be the thought that consciousness is an evolutionary mistake might be a wrong one. We then can adapt before stuff happens or right in the middle of it and not after!

    Have a look at this: http://www.powermag.com/countries-worldwide-propose-to-build-1200-new-coal-plants/

    Can renewable take over coal fired plants just like that? We are getting closer to our ‘answer’, yes may be. May be because China is also the top most investor in renewable energy.

    Renewable energy provided an estimated 19% of global final energy consumption in 2012.

    Click to access gsr2014_full%20report_low%20res.pdf

    Wonder how long will it take us to go from 19% to a 100%? I hope we are fast enough.


  2. I’m pretty certain that we are solving the problem of greenhouse gas emission right now – witness the growth of technology in solar power, electric cars, energy-efficient CPUs, fuel cells, LED lighting, etc. Even the growth in the use of shale gas is beneficial in the short term, compared with coal-fired power stations. Is there any reason to suppose that the current generation will fail to solve this problem?


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