Year 4, Month 5, Day 23: There Is A Fountain

The Moose Jaw Times-Herald talks about a visitor to their neighborhood:

“You’re probably sitting here thinking to yourselves, ‘Why us? This is so unfair. This damned thing is going to dominate my life.’ … Get over it.”

That was the tough sentiment veteran freelance journalist and historian Gwynne Dyer brought to dozens of Vanier Collegiate students when he visited the school Thursday to talk about the looming threat of global warming — a topic that he has become familiar with after years of interviews, research, and writing about the topic.

Dyer, who has built an extensive career out of freelancing as a reporter on international affairs and writing about war, geopolitics and climate change over the past several decades, told the story of his investigations into global warming and the measures that governments across the globe are taking to counteract the grim potential outcomes of runaway warming.

“Runaway warming is what will take you right up to five or six degrees higher average global temperature. You hit runaway warming and you lose control when you hit about two degrees higher,” he said. “We know what the planet looked like when it was about six degrees warmer, because there has been times in the past when it was. The last time was about 50 million years ago.”

But, Dyer said, the issue now is one that is man-made, and the result of reintroducing carbon dioxide that has been trapped in the form of fossil fuels into the “closed system” that the Earth has to deal with it, creating a surplus of the greenhouse gas that traps heat.

I won’t call this one of my best, but it’s got a useful point that I’m going to try and develop in other letters. May 10:

The entire span of recorded human history has taken place in a brief interlude of relatively benign planetary climate; in fact, it’s probably accurate to say that the moderate conditions of the past twelve thousand years are what has made human civilization possible, historical records and all. Now, however, the gravest crisis humanity has ever faced is threatening not just our infrastructure and our agriculture, but our entire conception of what it means to be human. The proud history of our species has been painted on the canvas provided by a stable and predictable climate; to unthinkingly tear that canvas asunder with our escalating emissions of greenhouse gases is to replace “history” as we’ve known it with a grim tale of decline: the saddest story ever told.

There is no more time to waste. Only by acting quickly, collectively, and intelligently may we instead make our history one of triumph and humility: the greatest story ever known.

Warren Senders

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