Nature doesn't love us. It doesn't hate us, either. It is an indifferent force that destroys with no regard for religion, skin color, wealth, social status or politics.
Look at this Icelandic volcano, for instance (I'm not going to bother spelling it, so here). Its gaping maw vomits smoke, ash and lava because that's what volcanoes do. Its ash cloud is thick, dark and so hazardous that, with the help of the wind, it has disrupted most air traffic in Europe for the better part of a week. Neither volcanoes nor the wind care about you and your vacation plans, or that package you're expecting from England, or whether President Obama makes it to the Polish president's funeral.
"The Earth has destroyed every living thing on the planet more than once, no reason to think it won't happen again," my friend Marty remarked to me in an email a few days ago. Of course he's right. Whether you're a environmentalist or a global warming denier or a believer in the Rapture/Apocalypse (just substitute "God" for "Earth"), you probably don't see the point in denying it.
Marty was responding to an article I sent him:
A thaw of Iceland's ice caps in coming decades caused by climate change may trigger more volcanic eruptions by removing a vast weight and freeing magma from deep below ground, scientists said on Friday. (...)
Carolina Pagli, a geophysicist at the University of Leeds in England, said there were risks that climate change could also trigger volcanic eruptions or earthquakes in places such as Mount Erebus in Antarctica, the Aleutian islands of Alaska or Patagonia in South America. "The effects would be biggest with ice-capped volcanoes," she said. "If you remove a load that is big enough you will also have an effect at depths on magma production."The story also says there is no proof that the current volcano in Iceland was aided by global warming, but that other, bigger ones could erupt in the next few decades. To me, it looks like it's too late to do anything about it.
So then, what's the point of environmental regulations or efforts to fight carbon emissions, etc.? Why bother "fighting" climate change, even in incremental, politically neutral ways? The glaciers are going to melt anyway, so what's the point of worrying about it?
Because, when you cut to the heart of the matter, whenever you hear someone dispute climate science, you're hearing the voice of someone swayed by industries that just want to keep pumping poison into our water, our land and our air. Whether they know it or believe it, they've taken the side of the deregulators who want corporations to get away with producing harmful materials and byproducts in the name of low prices and the "free market," at least on this issue.
Maybe they complain about how Al Gore and other prominent environmentalists are profiting from the climate change "hype," that they have a lot of money riding on the development of a "green" economy.
To that I say, "So what?" If corporations can get away with profiting from poisoning the water, the air and our bodies, why can't others profit on technology that will conserve energy and resources and limit the amount of toxic materials in the environment. And after all, isn't competition one of the keys to a healthy and productive free market? Shouldn't consumers ultimately win out if producers of green products push the purveyors of the status quo to make and sell better, more efficient products?
Maybe they'll claim that climate scientists are distorting and even forging their findings to fit their preconceived message of hyping a global catastrophe.
Forget that the "Climategate" controversy has been dismissed as hype itself.
But beyond all that, can we at least agree that widespread pollution of the air, water and soil is NOT GOOD for us? Whether you choose to disagree with the broad consensus of climate scientists or choose to ignore the facts that point to the need for scaling back carbon emissions, you surely can't favor the craven, wanton pollution and destruction of our natural resources, our planet and ourselves.
Nature will annihilate us in the end; it doesn't need our help. So why rush?