John Holdren is the science advisor to US President Obama. In a recent interview, the subject of radical measures to combat global warming drew a wide range of opinions. The term geoengineering was introduced in a discussion of certain radical measures.
One idea is to implant pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect UV rays from the sun. Another is to design made-made trees to filter CO2 gases from the atmosphere on a larger scale than organic trees. These and other radical measures are being explored by the American Meteorological Society as well as the British Parliament and National Academy of Sciences.
Holdren admits that these are last resort ideas, but also recognizes that no idea, regardless of how unbelievable, should be left uninvestigated. Many scientists believe that we are quickly approaching a point of no return in regard to global warming and the human footprint on this planet.
Although these ideas seem absurd to most of us, it is this kind of out-of-the-box thinking that must take place if we are to advance as a society and conquer the environmental problems of our own making. It is our often careless human presence that has caused undue stress on the ecosystems that we all depend upon for survival.
It should be remembered that throughout history we find incidences of humans ignoring the obvious outcomes of certain actions for the sake of comfort or convenience. It should also be noted that corporate and government greed account for much needless suffering worldwide.
We should all spend time thinking about new and innovative solutions for easing the burden on the environment while saving ourselves and our money at the same time. Perhaps radical measures such as those described by Mr. Holdren would not be necessary if humans would change their ways of thinking and living.
All of us need to take an honest look at how we use and abuse resources. Take advantage of ways to save energy and recycle products at every opportunity. This will mean changing some lifestyle habits, but isn’t life itself worth it? If you don’t believe that your life or the lives of your descendents are worth it, how about saving money for yourself?
Remember, the failure of each of us to act decisively and willingly in saving the planet and the ecosystems that support life will result in the need for radical measures to be taken. It would seem that we still have time to make the personal choices required to avert disaster. Will we?