The Philosophy of Global Warming


If you are interested in the relationship between the human species and the rest of life on Earth, individual and collective human purpose, evolution, cosmology, the nature of reality, astrology, spirituality, and how all of this relates to global warming & the environmental crisis of modernity, then I am sure that you will like my new book 'The Philosophy of Global Warming'. In the post below I have provided the book description, the list of contents and the first two sections of the book. You can find out how to get hold of the book by clicking on this link:

The Philosophy of Global Warming





Monday, 8 June 2015

The Concept of Naturalness


A little reflection on the concept of naturalness. Many people assert that "humans are not natural". Other people take it to be obvious that humans are completely natural and ridicule those who assert that humans are not natural. Can we make any progress concerning this disagreement?

I believe that it is blatantly obvious that everything is natural; however, I think we should be forgiving of those who prefer to use the concept of 'naturalness' differently. This is because it is also blatantly obvious that there is a great chasm between humans and the rest of the lifeforms of the Earth.

One aspect of what creates the chasm between the human species and the rest of the lifeforms of the Earth, is the concept of naturalness itself. The human species is that part of the Solar System which has created the concept of 'naturalness'. The human species is that part of the Solar System which has become so separated from its surroundings that it can entertain the possibility that its surroundings are 'natural' and that it is something very different, something 'non-natural'. This fact itself is of interest, and it creates a chasm between the human and the non-human. Another related aspect of this chasm between the human and the non-human is that the human species is the technological animal; technology being the factor that stimulates the creation of the concept of 'naturalness'.

So, whilst everything is natural, there is a fundamental chasm between the human and the non-human, and in many cases we can simply think to ourselves that this chasm is what people are referring to when they utter phrases such as "humans are not natural". We need not think to ourselves that these people are stupid or have preposterous views.

It is also common to believe that "not every configuration of nature is good". However, this is actually a pretty empty statement. There is nothing obvious about whether a particular arrangement of nature is good or bad. In order to start making some progress on this question one first needs to ask the question: Good for what or for whom? Then, one needs to make progress on the question: What does good mean?

In my writings over the past decade I have made the case that the present configuration of nature (human domination of the planet, human release of fossil fuels from underground storage, etc.) is exceptionally good for life and exceptionally good for the Solar System. It is good because it is a sign that life is thriving and will thrive into the distant future. It is not so good for the human species because being the technological animal entails being a species that itself suffers terribly. However, in the bigger picture it is good for the human species, because it is good for life, and the human species is part of life. I have outlined all of this in great detail in my books 'The Philosophy of Global Warming' (2014) and 'Is the Human Species Special: Why human-induced global warming could be in the interests of life' (2010), and 'An Evolutionary Perspective on the Relationship between Humans and their Surroundings: Geoengineering, the Purpose of Life and the Nature of the Universe' (2012).



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Thursday, 30 April 2015

The Two Paths Facing Humanity


Here is an excerpt from my book  'The Philosophy of Global Warming'


We are living at an exceptionally important time, a unique moment in the evolution of the planet. Humanity stands at a crossroads and the future is uncertain. There are two possible paths that we can take. One path leads to a glorious and wonderful future, the other leads to death and destruction. Which path will we tread?

Many people know that we are at a crossroads; they see the two paths stretching into the future. They know that one path leads to a glorious and wonderful future and that the other leads to death and destruction. However, the paths are not transparently labelled; they are not labelled ‘path to a wonderful future’ and ‘path to destruction’; if they were the choice of path would be extremely easy. Is it obvious which path leads to which destination? Many people believe that it is. A great many people are certain that one particular path is the path to a glorious and wonderful future; these people are passionately attempting to convince us to walk along this path. This is why I am concerned about the future. We should remember that all that glistens is not gold; what seems obvious at first sight can be wrong, fatally wrong. It is clear to me that the path these people seek actually leads to death and destruction.

What is one to do when one sees good-intentioned people seeking to shepherd humanity along a path which leads to the death and destruction not only of the human species, but of all life on Earth? One could just sit back and do nothing. Alternatively, one can seek to illuminate the true nature of the two paths so that destruction can be avoided and the path to a glorious future can be trodden. Let us seek this illumination.


The Two Paths

What is the nature of these two paths? The two paths represent different ways in which humanity can interact with the Earth in the future. The choice of path is a very serious affair. There is little more serious than the issue of whether one’s species goes extinct and one’s planetary home becomes lifeless. Let us choose our path with extreme care.

The two paths are characterised by the amount of involvement humanity has with the rest of the Earth. The first path involves minimalizing involvement. This path has many aspects such as restricting the size of the human population, restricting the human appropriation of the Earth’s resources and restricting the deployment of human technology. Those who urge us to tread this path believe that human involvement with the Earth is already too high. These people believe that a high level of future human involvement is a negative thing, both for the human species itself and for the non-human life-forms which we share the planet with. This view is underpinned by the belief that the optimum state of the Earth is one in which human involvement is minimised because humans are fundamentally destructive. Through their greed, their appropriation of the Earth’s resources, their technology, humans are seen as a danger to both themselves and to the non-human life-forms of the Earth. Let us refer to this path as the ‘minimalizing involvement’ path. The extreme advocates of this view seek absolute minimization – the voluntary extinction of the human species for the good of the Earth. However, the ‘minimalizing involvement’ path more typically involves calls for restrictions, and a general pulling back of human involvement with the ‘non-human’, rather than absolute minimization. I refer to this path as ‘minimalizing involvement’ because minimization is the underpinning ideal. In reality, very few advocates of this path think that involvement should actually be absolutely minimized through the voluntary self-extinction of the human species. All advocates of the ‘minimalizing involvement’ path believe that significantly reducing human involvement with the Earth would be a good thing. In the specific realm of global warming this ‘wide’ path is enshrined in the narrower Path 1 which we identified in the Introduction and Chapter One.

The second path is obviously very different; it involves much more human involvement with the Earth. However, it does not involve ‘maximizing involvement’. Absolute maximization would entail humans actively and intentionally utilising, manipulating and moulding every single part of the Earth. Whilst there are those who advocate absolute minimization, I am not aware of anyone who advocates absolute maximization. Indeed, the notion barely even makes any sense (humans would need to be moulding and manipulating every life-form, every ocean, every part of every ocean, volcanoes, the inner core of the planet, etc.). The second path does not entail either absolute maximization or any weaker type of maximization; maximization is not an ideal underpinning the view. The second path involves significantly increasing human involvement with the Earth, but this is a far cry from maximization.

There are two reasons why one might advocate treading this path. Firstly, one might tread this path with regret because one believes that humanity has perturbed the biogeochemical cycles of the Earth to such an extent that our future survival depends on deepening our involvement. For instance, one might love to tread the first ‘minimalizing involvement’ path, but one believes that human-induced global warming is a serious threat to the future survival of the human species and that it can only be dealt with by geoengineering the temperature of the atmosphere; so, one decides to tread the second path with regret; given the reality of the situation we face, this is the best path to take. Secondly, one might joyously skip and jump along the second path. In other words, one believes that significantly increasing human involvement with the Earth is actually a good thing, a positive event which benefits not only the human species but also the totality that is life on Earth. Let us refer to this path as the ‘increasing involvement’ path. The advocates of this path believe that significantly increasing human involvement with the Earth would be a good thing – either good solely for humanity or good for the totality of life on Earth. In the specific realm of global warming this ‘wide’ path is enshrined in the narrower Path 2 which we identified in the Introduction and Chapter One.

Which of the two paths should we tread?


The Crossroads

Before one can see the true nature of the two paths one needs to clearly see the journey that has led to the crossroads. If one is at the crossroads and is unable to see the entire journey which has led to the crossroads – the journey of the Earth and the journey of the Solar System – then it is unlikely that one will make a good choice of path: ‘minimalizing involvement’ or ‘increasing involvement’. One could
get lucky and just happen to pick the right path, the path to a wonderful future rather than the path to death and destruction. However, if one cannot see the entire journey which has led to the crossroads then one will not have the tools with which to make a properly informed decision. This means that one could easily select the wrong path, and given the seriousness of the choice this would be a terrible outcome. Furthermore, and worryingly, given the nature of the two paths, it is likely that one’s lack of backwards vision will result in one choosing what I believe to be the wrong path. As we saw in the Introduction there is a simplistic instinctive response that Path 1 – the ‘minimalizing involvement’ path – is the path to a glorious and wonderful future. A little knowledge can clearly be a dangerous thing. Let us expand our knowledge; let us move beyond the simplistic instinctive response; let us consider the journey that led to the crossroads.

Understanding the past will help us to select the right path in the present.


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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Discussion about Human Nature and Suffering


 I thought I would share with you some more objections to my philosophy, and my replies to these objections. These objections are on the theme of human nature and suffering.



Objector:   Humanity is evil because it displaces the rest of creation.

NPC:   Any life-form that exists displaces some other form of life / some other part of creation. That is just a simple fact; an inevitability of being a complex life-form that exists on the Earth and that therefore needs to consume other forms of life in order to survive. As the population size of a life-form increases, as with humans, then other life-forms are typically displaced to an increasing degree. So, we agree that "humanity displaces the rest of creation". How could anyone disagree?!

Let us move from this simple fact to your judgement that this displacement is evil. This is seemingly where we disagree. The 'evil' view of human existence currently pervades the news, the television, politics and business, so it is not surprising that so many people have that view implanted into them. 

The 'evil' view is an attractive view, after all, the human displacement of other life-forms on the Earth has involved terrible suffering, mass murder of our fellow creatures, and exploitation and pain and suffering on a barely imaginable scale. However, rejecting the 'evil' view of human existence does not mean that one rejoices in this terrible suffering and exploitation. Rather, one can see that this is just the terrible predicament that being 'human' entails. On the view that has arisen within me the 'human' is that part of an evolving planet that brings forth technology for the good of life as a whole. This role on the planet means that life causes great harm to itself, via the human, for its own benefit. Being that part of life that is human involves inflicting immense suffering on oneself (because all life is one, so causing suffering to the non-human is effectively harming one's brothers, one's babies, oneself).

To be human is not a bed of roses. How can humanity be happy and sane when it inflicts such pain on itself?! It is not surprising that so many people kill themselves, it is not surprising that the mental homes are full of 'insane' people, it is not surprising that so many people are desperately unhappy and turn to crime and drugs. Humans endure all of this suffering, the greatest suffering on the planet and the greatest suffering in the universe, for the good of life as a whole. That which makes humans human, the separation from the non-human, is the inevitable bringer of suffering to the human. So, to be human is not to be 'evil', it is to be that part of the evolving planet which suffers greatly in order to be the saviour of life on the planet.



Objector:   You talk about human suffering and how it is related to our relationship with nonhuman life. Us humans, as a species, are destroying other forms of life, often inflicting great suffering on them in the process; and while there may be many people in poverty around the world, and many humans in all walks of life who suffer personally for various reasons, there seem to be very few who are overtly suffering because of the suffering and destruction being inflicted upon nonhuman life.

NPC:   You seem to be thinking about human suffering in terms of individual humans. You wonder what the exact reasons are why a particular person suffers and how is this related to the suffering and destruction the humans inflict upon nonhuman life. I am making a more general point. I am coming from the perspective of the entire planet as it evolves on its journey as a life-bearing planet flowing through an ageing Solar System. Before humans evolved there was suffering and destruction on the planet. At a certain point in the evolution of the planet the 'human' evolved (what exactly this means, what exactly the 'human' is, we don't need to get into now). All that we need to appreciate is that at this point, the point of the evolution of the human, immense suffering also evolved. Suffering came into existence that was of a different magnitude to that which came before. This suffering is not because of humans causing suffering to non-human life. This suffering exists because to be human is to suffer. Some people might say that this is because humans are the only form of life to have self-consciousness, or that they are the only form of life to have advanced rationality and therefore mental torture, self-doubt, and problems of ego/self-image. For me, the foundations of human suffering are separation from the rest of life that is caused and inherent to being the technological animal = human.




Objector:   How can our arrogant, ignorant, unnecessary, and ultimately suicidal human destructiveness be considered "an expression of the very essence of life"?

NPC:   The essence of life is obviously hard to express in words. We can think of life, since it arose on the Earth, as a force which seeks to modify, expand, propagate, dominate, push forward, strive upwards and onwards, as much as is physically possible. So, simple life-forms evolve into more complex life-forms which have a greater modification ability. This primitive force reached its zenith in the technological abilities of humans.



Objector:   We are on the brink of a considerable knocking-down of planetary diversity, however, as has happened in the 5 previous extinction events, we will have a relatively life-impoverished planet for some millions of years until life elaborates itself again, probably without human beings in the picture.

NPC:  Your extrapolation from the outcomes of past mass extinctions, to a forecast about the outcome of a future mass extinction, is flawed because it ignores the changing state of planetary dynamics. One cannot simply say that because life has bounced back in the past that it always will do so in the future. This is like a 90 year old human saying: "When I was 20 I was able to run a mile in 4 minutes, when I was 25 I was able to run a mile in 4 minutes, when I was 35 I was able to run a mile in 4 minutes; therefore, when I am 100 I will be able to run a mile in 4 minutes." The mistake is simply to believe that past events and outcomes will be repeated in the future. This isn't always true on an evolving life-bearing planet which is homeostatically regulating itself in an evolving cosmos. 



Objector:   I have to take issue with your assertion that: "Any life-form that exists displaces some other form of life . . . That is just a simple fact; an inevitability of being a complex life-form that exists on the Earth and that therefore needs to consume other forms of life in order to survive. As the population size of a life-form increases, as with humans, then other life-forms are typically displaced to an increasing degree." 

While it is true that life needs other life to survive, we humans are capable of making ethical choices, and we can choose in what way and to what degree we displace other life or cause it to suffer. People can choose to "eat lower on the food chain," reducing animal suffering and their ecological footprint at the same time, for example. And why assume that a species with the power of choice must maintain a population that continually "increases"? We are capable, as a species, of deciding to limit the size of our families just as we are capable of deciding to reduce the amount of carbon and other GHG we spew into the atmosphere. It is not "a fact" that we humans have to continue along the same trajectory that we've been following; to do so, or not, is an ethical choice, and that is the "fact."

NPC:   I think here we simply have a disagreement about the extent to which humans as individuals, and human culture in general, is determined by freedom. You will be aware that there is extensive literature on the issue of the extent to which an individual human has free will or not, and there is a similar literature on the slightly different question of whether or not the overall trajectory of human cultural evolution is 'determined in advance' or could be changed by 'human free will'. It is obvious to me that human free will is severely limited at best, and that the trajectory of cultural evolution from hunter gatherer to globalised technological society will occur on any successful life bearing planet. I presume that you disagree with this. On my view the scope for humans who lived in the past to make ethical choices to life in a way which didn't displace other life, or cause it to suffer, was non-existent. Never going to happen. You seem to want to believe that this could have happened. When we switch from the past to the future, then I am happy to accept the possibility that at a later stage of the evolution of the Earth/Solar System the time will be right for human freedom to exist in a more meaningful sense. 

So, what you say is a "fact", isn't obviously a fact.




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Monday, 1 December 2014

The Philosophy of Global Warming - Documentary Film


I am hoping to make a documentary film which is based on my book The Philosophy of Global Warming. I have set up a Kickstarter project in order to help make this possibility a reality. Here is the project page where details of the project can be found:


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/neilpaulcummins/the-philosophy-of-global-warming


If you know of anyone who might be interested in helping to make this film a reality then it would be great if you could let them know about it.

Thanks

Neil

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Sunday, 23 November 2014

The link between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations & global warming


There is currently still much debate concerning the link between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and global warming. Many global warming sceptics seem to have the following belief:


* Over the past 10/20 years atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have been steadily rising, yet there has been no rise in the average global atmospheric temperature over this period, therefore rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations do not cause global warming.


Such a view is simplistic and misplaced. There is no simple correlation between the two phenomena wherein a change in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations automatically results in higher atmospheric temperatures. There are multiple factors affecting atmospheric temperature, and these factors intertwine in complex ways through unfolding and varying time-lag processes (I go into this in my book 'The Philosophy of Global Warming'). What this means is that there will be a 'jumpy' relationship between the two phenomena, a relationship that is characterised not by automatic responses, but by the building up of forces which are yet to be manifest (again, see my book 'The Philosophy of Global Warming' for more on this).

In short, the regulatory systems of the planet have become increasingly perturbed by human activities, through an ever increasing force for global warming. This force is the culmination of multiple phenomena interacting in complex ways both spatially and temporally. To be blinded to this reality, to base one's reasoning on a simple relationship between two phenomena over an exceptionally short period of time, is intellectually indefensible.

The ever increasing force for global warming, which is still growing in strength every day, every week, every year, is what we should be focused on. To focus on the link, over the past 10/20 years, between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and atmospheric temperatures, is to miss the wood for the trees, it is to concentrate on the tip of an iceberg and to ignore Antarctica.

Periodic increasing global temperatures are simply the tip of an iceberg, when we should be concentrating on 'Antarctica', the massive force for global warming. Because of the lack of a simple correlation between perturbation of the Earth's regulatory cycles, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, and atmospheric temperatures, what this means is that the situation is very dangerous. This is because the factors which are determining the future state of the Earth's atmosphere and biosphere are not 'out in the open' and clear to see. Rather than there being a process which we can easily control - a process in which gradually rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations lead to a gradually increasing temperature - the reality is that a prolonged system of perturbation will lead to a sudden system shift wherein the atmospheric temperature instantaneously jumps upwards to a new steady state, this could be to a level which makes most of the planet inhospitable for human habitation.

In other words, steady atmospheric temperatures, accompanied by short-term rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, can give the outward appearance that everything is okay, that there is nothing to worry about. However, the reality that lies beneath this outward facade is that the force for global warming is continuously increasing in strength and the conditions are forming which are set to lead to a substantial jump in the planetary atmospheric temperature (unless this force is offset by the active geoengineering of the atmospheric temperature).



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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Climate Protests


A couple of days ago “the biggest ever environmental demonstration took place in which hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in 2,000 rallies, marches and protests in 150 countries to demand greater action on climate change” (‘Investors pledge to take money out of firms blamed for climate change’ by Tom Bawden, the i newspaper, 22 September 2014, p. 9).

This raises a couple of questions:

 

1  Why were so many people were marching?

 

2  What outcome do these people hope to attain?

 

Let us start with the first question. There are, of course, a plethora of reasons why people were marching. Some people will have been persuaded to go by their friends; some people were taken by their parents; some people will have thought it would be good to have a day out and to have a stroll with likeminded people; many people just like to protest, they will protest over almost anything! However, I am sure that it is likely that most people who were marching shared one reason in common. This is that they want to make the planet a better place; they care both about the existence of life on Earth and the quality of life of Earthly life-forms. They believe that things are going pear-shaped, that humans are ‘destroying the planet through causing global warming’, so they have decided to march to try and make things better. They believe they are marching to avert global warming and thereby ‘save the planet’.

This brings us to our second question. The outcome that the marchers want to attain is to avert global warming and thereby ‘save the planet’. This leads us to another question: Why do the marchers believe that humans are ‘messing things up’ and that the planet needs to be saved? The marchers obviously have this idea because it has been ‘implanted’ in them because of assertions made by scientists and dispersed through the media. Scientists have claimed that atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations are rising, that this is a force for global warming, that global warming isn’t a good thing for life on Earth, and that human activities have caused rising atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. This view gets propagated through the media, and it obviously causes many people who care about life on Earth to go on marches.

This scientific story (in bold above) is widely taken to lead to one conclusion. This conclusion is that humans have disrupted the planet (things were fine before those destructive humans started plundering the planet!) and therefore that in order to deal with the situation human greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced. So, if you ask any of the marchers what outcome they hope to obtain though marching for action on global warming, you will get a standard reply: “we want the governments of the world to take action to reduce fossil fuel emissions; we want financial institutions to take their money out of the firms who have caused the problem (global warming) and reinvest in green energy through the ‘dirty energy divestment campaign’.”

The problem is that the scientific story that these people have bought into is very limited in scope. The human presence on the planet needs to be seen on many levels and from many perspectives and the scientific story ignores most of these perspectives. When one sees the bigger picture then one can see that creating a future planet on which human and non-human life-forms can thrive, in the face of global warming, does not require cutting fossil fuel emissions; it requires actively technologically regulating the atmospheric temperature. There are many reasons why this is so, one of the primary ones being that the primary force for global warming on the planet is non-human-induced global warming, not human-induced global warming.

Seeing that attempting to deal with global warming through cutting fossil fuel emissions is a waste of time can be difficult. When hearing this most people almost automatically reject the idea due to their scientific/media ‘mental programming’; they instantly raise lots of objections. To help people see why this is so I wrote my very lengthy book The Philosophy of Global Warming and I included a lengthy dialogue section which includes these objections and the answers to them.

Marching to avert global warming is a good thing. However, achieving this objective will not be attained by cutting fossil fuel emissions. So, marches which have the objective of cutting fossil fuel emissions are fundamentally misplaced. Averting global warming requires widespread and sustained action to technologically regulate the atmospheric temperature. Let us hope that in the future people march for this.

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Thursday, 31 July 2014

What is the Philosophy of Global Warming?


The science of global warming is wholly concerned with measurements and with numbers. In other words, it is concerned with measuring instruments, the numbers recorded by these instruments, and with data of other kinds. There are measurements for current atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, for past atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, for changes in polar ice cover, for sea level rise, for atmosphere-ocean interactions; there are also numerical projections for future emissions, for future greenhouse gas concentrations, and for the future temperature and climate in various parts of the planet.

The question of extreme importance is: Can measurements and numbers be a sufficient basis for a course of action? In other words, can one’s personal actions, or the actions of the human species, appropriately be wholly grounded in measurements/numbers? It seems obvious to me that the answer is no. Numbers are useful but they cannot themselves determine an appropriate course of action. For example, a scientific measurement-derived number might be that there is a 95% chance of precipitation in the area in which I live. This is a useful number to know about, but it doesn’t wholly determine whether I will take a particular course of action. In order to come to a decision about what course of action I will take a whole host of other non-scientific, non-numerical factors need to be considered. It could be that in the past whenever it has precipitated I have had great fun standing outside for hours enjoying every moment that the delicate raindrops come into contact with my skin; in this case the scientific number could cause me to change my course of action so that I have time to go outside later in the day. However, it could be that I cannot stand the rain; in this case the scientific number will lead to other possible actions, such as taking my umbrella with me when I leave the house, or changing my plans so that I can stay at home all day and don’t have to venture outside.

A number is just a number. A measurement is just a measurement. One cannot move straight from a number or a measurement to a conclusion concerning an appropriate course of action. In the case of global warming, one cannot move straight from the scientific measurements and numbers relating to the phenomenon to a conclusion concerning the appropriate human response. Strictly speaking, a measurement or number cannot even reveal that there is a problem. The fact there is a 95% chance of precipitation is not a problem to me if I enjoy precipitation or if I dislike it but intend to stay inside all day. Similarly, the fact that human activities have resulted in increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations is only a problem if one adds to the measurement the assumption that the future survival and wellbeing of the human species and the other life-forms of the Earth is important. However, I will assume that you agree with me that the future survival and wellbeing of human and non-human life on Earth is important. This means that we can fruitfully speak of there being a scientifically-revealed problem; it is just that the nature of the solution to the problem is not automatically generated by the scientific measurements and
numbers.

Finding the appropriate solution to the problem revealed by the science of global warming requires a consideration of a whole range of non-scientific non-numerical factors. What exactly are these factors? These factors are philosophical in nature and jointly constitute the philosophy of global warming. These factors will be explored throughout the rest of this book and include the following:

 

 

·       The fact that there are two types of global warming (non-human-induced and human-induced) and the relationship between them.

 

·       The question of whether the evolution of human culture has a particular trajectory, a trajectory which includes the environmental crisis and human-induced global warming as essential parts.

 

·       The nature of the relationship between the human species and non-human life on Earth.

 

·       The cosmic, and planetary, significance of technology.

 

·       The extent to which humans, individually and collectively, have freedom to evolve differently to the way that they actually evolve.

 

·       The nature of the Universe, the Solar System, and the Earth; the way that they evolve through time and the way that they ‘interact’ with each other.

 

 

·         The relationship between technology, spirituality and the environmental crisis.

 

·       The diverse aspects of the environmental crisis – climate change, sustainability, global warming, biodiversity loss, resource depletion and care for the environment.

 

In the Introduction we saw that there are two ways in which humans might be able to stop carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere from rising too much:

 

Path 1:   Humans stop emitting, or radically reduce emissions of, carbon into the atmosphere.

 

Path 2:    Humans use technology to regulate the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

 
The appropriate choice of path requires a consideration of the range of philosophical factors outlined above. If one does not fully engage with these factors, if people en masse lazily opt for Path 1, then the consequences will be adverse if it turns out to be the wrong path. In the next chapter we will take a step backwards and consider the nature of the two paths themselves. These two paths are a particular expression of two ‘wider’ paths, two general views of the appropriate relationship between the human species and the non-human Earth. In the next chapter the two specific paths outlined above are placed within the context of their ‘wider’ paths. In the rest of the book we will consider at length the factors outlined above and in so doing our hope will be that the appropriate path will reveal itself.


This post is an excerpt from Chapter One of my book:

The Philosophy of Global Warming


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