29 August 2009

99 Days - 5,000 Generations

Over at Climate Shifts, I read a passage in a post by Chris McGrath that took me aback.

We commonly think of our children and grandchildren [in order] to appreciate the consequences of our present actions but as our present emissions of fossil fuel will continue to affect the atmosphere for over 100,000 years, we should appreciate [that] the decisions on climate policies today will affect the next 5,000 generations of humanity and beyond.

Five thousand generations! Why, the Iroquois only demanded that we think of the next seven generations. And we can't even do that. This EuroAmerican culture of mine flatly refuses to make any sacrifices for anyone, including our children.

Alas, if we don't turn this climate change emergency around fast (via some Obamaesque miracle? some compassion and emotion in the negotiating halls in Copenhagen? someone winning Richard Branson's $25 million prize for a technology that sucks CO2 out of the atmosphere?), there will, within a lot fewer than 5,000 generations, be no future generations of human beings.

The jellyfish, I hear, however, will do just fine when we're gone. Until it gets too hot for them, too.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?