ADAPT or ….!
“The only constant is change”, attributed to Greek Philosopher Heraclitus.
Climate/ Weather is always on the move, sometimes subtle, sometimes not so. This state of movement creating change used to be relatively consistent with some upticks and downticks, but the average was pretty smooth. This change has become more extreme and will continue to do so into the future. We don’t really know the new extremes of Climate yet or what the new benchmarks will be. We can guess pretty well though, and it does not look pretty.
Adaptation (or Adaption): The act of changing to suit new conditions. Pretty simple description, isn’t it! Say no more! What used to take five thousand years or more adapting to new conditions, may now be squeezed into 100-200 years at best. Maybe I am being alarmist, as there is still much research to do, but the signs are there. We have wasted much time working out adaptation strategies because we have been arguing too much as to who is right or wrong.
Organism: An organism is any individual that embodies the property of life. It is a synonym for “life form“. Humans, squids, mushrooms and plants are life forms that are multi-cellular organisms. (Dictionary.com) Yes, Humans are next to squid and mushroom on the list. Is that some 3-5 steps removed stuff? Humans related to squid? Maybe? Yes, can understand Squid, but Mushrooms? No way!
Ego: A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. (Dictionary.com) If it were not for Ego Humans would not have progressed as we have. Ego can be used to drive many things. Adaptation needs Ego. No ego = no drive. When all other traits are found lacking, Ego steps up. As they say in the ‘Classics’ – “Ego is a not a dirty word”, so well described by “Skyhooks, legendary Australian Band. Excellent Ditty and big hit! (available for listen in digital world)
Egotistical: excessively conceited or absorbed in oneself: self-centred. (Dictionary.com) Too much Ego and what happens? We become someone who can only think of themselves and their own power. The person is almost always right as far as they are concerned. Can be very difficult to have a two way conversation with. Most people know at least one Egotistical person in their life and we tend to read about egotistical people a lot.
I had egotistical moments in younger Professional days thinking I knew everything about a project I was running, only to realise I knew almost nothing after a chat with a local resident about the project. He made sure that I knew that he knew, how naive I was. My self-inflated Ego got smashed that day, never to be forgotten and a lesson well learned. Yes, adaption has space and time for Ego. If Egotistical? It may well be the death of us all.
According to Science (including Darwin’s Origin of the Species), part of our reason for evolving as Humans has been our ability to adapt over time to changing conditions. Adaptation is burnt into our Genes. No ability or desire to adapt and we would have been consigned to the Evolution Dust Bin for some time.
There is a bit of a roadblock regarding Darwin. It appears that dissenting and denier Climate views can be coloured by Creationist theory that Earth was created less than 10,000 years ago by God. From this, Man (Humans) was put here to run the show as per Genesis 1.28 of the Bible -“....be fruitful and multiply, fill the Earth and subdue it, and have Dominion over … everything that moves on the earth” (short version). We all need to remember that this was written in times when lightning and thunder were seen by almost all as a supernatural/God event. Humans now understand far more of Nature than we did then. I am not going to argue theology here, but is difficult to believe that we were put here to abuse the rest of Nature.
It is this ideology that drives the rhetoric of “don’t change a thing” with our Industrial outputs and environmental stewardship – business as usual! Regardless of whether it was 10,000 or 100,000 years ago, the last 200 years, especially the last 50 years we have really started to mess up the Planet. Not a bad effort at all! If God did create Earth such a short time ago, would God like to see this work going down the drain? I will not answer on behalf of God, but my answer is No! Ideology is getting in the way of us putting some focus on our human created problems and adaptation. The modern version of Homo sapien started appearing about 300,000 years ago. We stood out from the rest of the Animal kingdom because we started using our brains to carry out advanced abstract reasoning, problem solving and inventing tools for complex tasks. Handy attributes to have for the process of adaptation.
Our past shows that given time, humans and other organisms can adapt. These adaptation processes can take many thousands of years in line with then relatively consistent Climate variations. Of course there have been exceptions such as Earthquakes and big Volcanoes blowing their top like Krakatoa (1883 and well documented). It caused temporary Global cooling effects with added bonus of spectacular Sunsets everywhere for up to five years by blasting 20 Million tons of Sulfur into the stratosphere. Major asteroid impact may have been responsible for the death of Dinosaurs. These are sudden events which cannot be planned for or adapted to due to the unexpected nature of the occurrence. That is the nature of our precarious life existence. Nothing is guaranteed to 100%, but at least we can reduce our risk of disappearing too quickly.
Adaption is in our blood, to survive, Remember!! Many of us now believe that someone else will fix things up for them and quickly. Someone else cannot all the time. The Couch Sitter needs to adapt, and in a hurry, otherwise no more Couch!
We have had some time to plan our adaptation to increasingly hostile climate. We see physical manifestations of Ecosystems increasingly going ‘topsy-turvy’, yet we argue or ignore rather than being proactive, practical and adaptive. We are not doing what is built into our Genes, to respond and be adaptive in our survival. Why? Is it our bloated Human ego driving this? Too many ‘Alpha Conservative males’ on the block running Climate debate? The rest of the organisms within our planetary ecosystem don’t have this trait, just us unfortunate humans. Our egotism is getting in the way of seeing the Facts right in front of our face.
Is this person adapting to the now well parched and baked floodplain clay? He looks like a City Slicker to me, or maybe he got best dressed for the pic? For any of us know, the hills and tower in the background may be concealing a City of millions. This area may have been intensively cultivated crop fields before and a food bowl for as long as Humans have been around until the last 50-100 years.
The photo represents our current predicament, Those with the power in Industry, Conservative Government and their Rat pack of associated NGO’s, are doing a fair bit of Head burying and with FULL knowledge of our Human induced climate issues. There are many long term Adaptation strategies prepared for Government and Industry over the years that appear to have become dust gatherers on the Boss’s NFA lower shelf just like the early Climate Science reports of the 1960’s.
Industry and Conservative Government choice is to do nothing?? As suggested earlier – is it really just about Profit before ‘Too Late to Adapt Day’ catches up with us all? Seriously, my mind refuses to accept that you could be that self serving? My skeptic doubt exists, but is becoming less. You cannot, can you? Be like this, like you were back in the “Bad Old Days”? You have the plans to our future, but choose to keep them tight to your collective Chest.
Help the rest of us to adapt, rather than this selfish approach. I am not asking for you to hold my hand and tell me not to worry, I am asking you to participate with the rest of us. Stop with this Seriously Old School Boss Stuff lording over the rest of us as if we are your serfs. We are educated and we will be coming up with plenty of Private adaption strategies ourselves, with or without your assistance. Adaptive strategies and actions would be far more effective if you chucked your Hat in the Ring and went with the flow. Just to think that 30 years ago you were poised to follow adaption strategies, being aware there was a short term loss for long term gain.
Now? How much Money has been spent Arguing? Most recent estimates put spending by Industry to challenge and fight established Climate Science at US$200 Million/Year. Staggering abuse of finances for selfish ideologically driven reasons. Just to think what that amount of money that could have done in developing adaptation strategies or limiting their greenhouse gas emissions. The only adapting that has happened is Global Insurers pumping up Risk Premiums due to extra moody climate impacts. Those increased premiums have filtered down to higher Rates now being charged by the local Councils who are already bearing the brunt of this. Western Australian coastal councils are needing to allocate increased budgets to combat rapidly increasing coastal erosion. Climate moodiness is affecting us now in the hip pocket and what do our traditional masters have to say? Do I hear the words – do nothing as Industry will save us all? Yes, the Ideologists are having their way.
We have a brain right! There are almost 8 Billion of us. Someone must have a decent idea or two? Let us use our collective brain to develop adaption strategies. This whole story from “Good New Days” onward is starting to feel like the fading glow of a once mighty Rock ‘n’ Roll Band that reached the heights of mass acceptance (like IPCC and Kyoto protocol), but was ruined by a self serving Manager (Industry aided by Conservative Govt) leaving the Band (Climate Scientists and general population) with stuff all. Maybe that is what we need – a bit of Rock ‘n’ Roll in developing Adaptation techniques and limiting greenhouse emissions. But this time, the Band will manage its own affairs to ensure everyone benefits. Maybe we need Acca Dacca (ACDC) ringing out a bit of Hells Bells over the Denier Organisations and Conservative Governments to shake up their egotistical mindset. Anything is possible in searching out adaption solutions. Planet Earth is the original Rock ‘n’ Roller, something we are being reminded of right now.
Next “ROCK n ROLL”