10 May 2019

WooHoo - technology is going to save us

BBC R4 carried an interesting piece this morning about a research centre being set up at Cambridge University to come up with technological solutions to Climate Change. This is quite predictable because we are such a smug and self-centred species who have been using technology of one sort or another for 200 years and Climate Change is just another challenge that we have to meet. The only problem with this wonderful research centre is that, at root, its objective is to allow humankind to carry on as before. And that is the problem.

Anyone can look at the history of humankind over the last 2000 years and see a pattern of expansion, exploitation and bloody conflict. What such an observer won't see is any significant pattern of restraint or moderation and its fair to suggest that, in general, restraint or moderation aren't part of the human species' fundamental genetic or behavioural makeup.

The major difference between humankind and other species on this planet is that all other species are regulated, generally, by their environment. No other species can modify their environment in the manner that humankind has managed to and, importantly, humankind seems quite oblivious to the impact of its actions. Humankind's intellect get in the way - humankind can figure out the answer to whatever question faces it, other than its own viability or sustainability.

More and more, humankind seems to be the problem, not the solution. Like an infection, humankind has spread across the globe and humankind's activities, like an infection, have caused an increase in temperature. No-one is bothering about the infection, only about controlling the temperature. So, maybe at some future point, like an infection, septicaemia will set in and the host (planet earth) will die. Seems quite inevitable.