Only My Opinions

The Bluer Planet – Climate Change

We call our Earth the blue planet because viewed from space, it is mostly blue with hues of white clouds, brown and green continents and great swathes of deep blue sea water. Water is a major part of our lives and to survive on our planet has always meant to be able to live in harmony with it; within our bodies or in the surrounding environment made of the things we need every day.

Just like ourselves and anything that is ever created to be fit for its purpose, our earth itself is created to be fit for its purpose and for us – its inhabitants – to find happiness in it, in ways that would allow it to also live up to its own purpose.  The purpose of our world is that which involves water in all its different phases – the happiness of using it in the generation of life. It is therefore no accident that water and the sun are the major parts of our lives, our climate, seasons, weather, food and sustenance. As a result, not only are we supposed to benefit from water as a source of our wellbeing, but to live in harmony in a world mostly comprised of it.

Our world is a living organism and a part of a greater system of other planets and galaxies. Just like everything that goes through the stages of life, it also goes through the stages of its own life cycle, which then changes its general ‘mood’ – the climate.  Climate change is a change in the earth environment in which we live; the only place in the universe that we know as home. Our dependence on our world makes us one with it, which then makes our need to change together with it inevitable. This is how we continue to stay in synch with it, and to derive from it the new benefits it would make available.

Whatever it means to us to be human; who we understand ourselves to be, is what would make our adjustment to a new world easier or difficult, because it would determine what abilities we believe we have to overcome the challenges posed by this change. A proper understanding of ourselves is therefore, the key to our survival in a world that – just like the nature of water – demands that we either sink or swim.

For humanity to adjust to this change, we need to change the things we create in the world and how we create them. Anything in life that we have ever been able to assimilate successfully with, has required that we make it a part of ourselves as we also become a part of it. It is this same way that we are able to turn strangers into good friends and is an adjustment of values which also implies an ever-changing identity.

We need to develop new abilities that we often regard ourselves to be incapable of. However, just like anything that has ever seemed impossible to do when viewed at a distance, only for it to make sense once we get closer, we also need to trust that it is well within ourselves to adjust to the new challenges that the changing planet is posing to our way of life. Earth itself is our teacher of the abilities we need to live in it, and our keen observation of our current weather patterns and their impact on the environment is how we gain the feedback we need in order to know what to do.

A very cold glass would break if we poured very hot water on it; the same way a hot glass would, if suddenly exposed to a very cold temperature. The breakage could be regarded as a state of being saturated by the need to adjust instantly from one extreme to another. The glass breaks because it is unable to change at the instant speed of the changing temperature. This happens even when we know that it is well within the nature of glass to contain hot or cold water, but only if it is allowed to adjust gradually.

In the case of climate change, our seasons are a result of the two extremes of heat and cold – Summer and Winter – and how we transition from one to another. Our world has always helped us to adjust to these two extremes by creating the transitional seasons of spring and autumn. The two are essentially the same thing happening from opposite sides; both helping us to adjust our mindsets and bodies to the extremes of cold and heat.

The effects of instant transitions in people come in the form of shock, which shows itself as a troubled state of mind or reflected in the body in some cases as influenza. Both of them are a result of the suffering caused by instantly finding ourselves in situations where the mind is not yet able to make sense of a new reality it is presented with – an expression of the ill-preparedness to cope with the situation at hand.

Climate change is the change in the general weather patterns associated to certain geographic places at certain times of the year.  The change may happen in the form of extremely hot or cold weather, often characterised by extremely heavy or even less than average precipitation. It could be better described as a climate change than global warming or global cooling, since the change often shows itself at various times and places as one of these two extremes.

Climate is a natural thing that would always change as a result of our planet being within a bigger system of other planets, the sun and the moon and how these factors would affect the main aspects of our planet – water and dry land.

The sun and water masses interact in a continuous process that is referred to as the water-cycle, which starts with the evaporation of water and creates moisture in the atmosphere. The moisture rises and becomes clouds, which then precipitate into rain; snow or hail, among others. The precipitation ultimately results into the water that fills the rivers, floods the land and ultimately flows to the sea for the cycle to begin again. On the other side, earthquakes, human mining and tectonic plate movement rattle the physical land masses, cracking and loosening mountains and rocks, with the soil ultimately getting carried away by water. Much of this load of sand and material ends up into the sea and sinks down to the seabed.

The water-cycle process has been happening on our planet since the beginning of time. Sand has for thousands of years been moving with water from high areas of our planet, down to the sea. This accumulation at the bottom of the sea is what we now experience as rising sea levels, which effectively is the shallowing of the seabed. Undersea volcanoes; animal and plant matter; the movement of tectonic plates; whole sunken islands, sunken ships and all forms of debris and pollution by ‘man, are some of the many factors that continue to displace water at the sea bed and push it up to levels where it becomes exposed to the rays of the sun. Much of the rising sea water that ends up flooding the mainland was previously at levels that were too deep for the sun rays to reach and therefore, unavailable for evaporation. The fact that we do not know as much about our seas and what happens on the seabed as we know about space and mars, even when over seventy percent of our planet is comprised of water, is what continues to make us oblivious of the major contribution of the sea-bed to our changing world.

As the seabed gets shallow, the displaced water raises the sea level at the top and begins to erode more beaches and to encroach on previously dry lands, where it becomes ever more exposed to heat. The high amounts of methane and carbon in our atmosphere retain the heat generated by the sun, volcanoes, wildfires and industry. The increased heat in the atmosphere helps to evaporate more water than average, which ultimately results into heavy rains even in places where they are not known to happen; bigger hail stones, stronger and more destructive tornadoes; heavy snowstorms and other weather extremes such as heat waves.

There is merit to our belief that by reducing our carbon footprint we might slow down the effects of climate change. However, that would only be to slow it down but not to stop it.  This is because human activity is only one factor among the many – and the only one within our control, but not the major one compared to the ever-occurring natural phenomenon. Some of the carbon we want to reduce is caused by sea life and gets released into the atmosphere when sea water is evaporated. Some of this carbon is held in by the forests of the world and gets released into the atmosphere when wildfires burn whole forests.

The problem of resolving climate change from a human perspective, is further compounded by the fact that much of humanity’s way of life is based on some of the activities that make climate change worse: eating meat; mining; our perfumes; weapons manufacturing industries as well as how we create and dispose of our nuclear waste. Even when we talk about renewable sources of energy, we are not necessarily reducing any of these factors, but reusing what we have already produced. To stop these activities would in itself be a great shift in our way of life, which would require that we compensate for its related benefits in some way, to motivate our own need to change and make it sustainable.

For as long as the cumulative effects of climate change continue, extreme weather patterns would persist to throw much of our livelihoods – habitable and agricultural land resources – into the sea. This would then increase scarcity of resources and cause people to move to places where they could find a better livelihood. The movement would create a concentration of people in certain parts of the world, thereby depressing whatever available resources such as food, water, accommodation, jobs and government services – among other things. This would then increase levels of competition over the available resources. Competition would create winners and losers and deepen inequality among people. Conflict in everyday life would be characterised by issues of crime; nationalism; social upheavals; unstable governments; sovereignty; a worldwide refugee crisis; xenophobia; racism; homophobia, new forms of slavery and all other related forms of human suffering.

As we continue to see the effects of heavy rains, flash floods, sink holes and landslides all over the world, all of them exacerbated by our own mining activities and earthquakes which continue to hollow and loosen the rigidity of our land masses, it becomes imminent and almost inevitable to conclude that more water; whether living next to it or within it, is the ultimate reality that humanity needs to prepare well for. The devastating floods that now occur even in places where they never used to, are just one of the warning signs of the need to prepare for a life unlike the one we are used to.

What would remain the only and ever diminishing alternative to this new way of life is to embed ourselves in the old world in which we continue to compete for the little that is still left and value the same diminishing things that we are fighting for, based on old grievances and reasons. To continue with that preoccupation is what would cause our delay in making the necessary adjustments of mind and body in preparation for a new way of living in our world, which would create more suffering than avoid it, until ultimately when we find ourselves immersed in a place to which there is no alternative but to sink or swim.

Since our new world would be more like a quicksand world that is ever flowing, it would require that we enhance the use of our minds as a way to adjust to its new reality. Permanence of any kind, in the form of ownership or rigid infrastructure would not be suitable for this new way of living. Hence the need for a more fluid mind that is ever able to move in synch with its gradually changing surroundings.  This mental flow, with our bodies following in synch, is what would help us to overcome the habits by which we live and insist on things becoming a certain way, even when it is no longer allowing to be that way. It seems the currency for our new way of life is meaning in the mind, and the shared happiness that we would be able to derive from an impermanent way of life where ownership would continue to be less possible (meaningful).

We need to start preparing ourselves by setting ourselves new values, which would in return determine who we believe ourselves to be. How we redefine ourselves as humanity would then be the basis of how we define our new society. From a new way of defining ourselves and what we value, a new morality of what serves these values would then be the foundations of the new social contract by which to share the benefits of our new way of life.

The more inclusive our new social contract, the more humanity would be able to leverage all the knowledge available in its midst and forge a way of life in which everyone is necessary for their importance. To live and to let live, would be the new morality of our new way of life, based on the recognition of shared happiness as our primary purpose, and the need to work together to realise it. Our new human values; our newfound abilities and our synch with our environment would ultimately be the catalyst that would help redefine our new identity as being one with each other and with everything. This identity would not be based on any idea, structure, ownership or borders that we create, but only on the recognition of our mutual pursuit of happiness, and the need to sustain self by sustaining another.  – By GEM

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