I feel like the poem “Ozymandias” by Mary Shelley sums up this global situation fairly well:
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
We keep this shit up (especially with climate change) and that ruined statue in the desert will be all that’s left of us.
This is a new article from Skeptical Science that raises several important points, summarized below:
First is that even if you plant enough trees to cover the entire world without tearing down cities and farms, you’d only suck out a third of the carbon put out by human emissions over the last two centuries. Trees also need time to grow and mature, and often take years to do so, even decades and centuries for trees like the behemoth California redwoods out west. You also need to ensure these new forests you’re planting are biodiverse and filled with genetic variation, otherwise you wouldn’t get very far.
Planting trees is good, there’s no doubt about that, but the money being fronted towards this is better spent helping, say, indigenous peoples keep their lands in the Amazon, or preserving and restoring already existing ecosystems like the beleaguered pine forests of the Rockies.
You know, I`m glad for the urgent response to the Coronavirus situation, it’s genuinely this bad, but it’d be a million times greater if these assholes in power did the same for climate change, which is a threat entire orders of *magnitude* greater in scope and danger than COVID-19. Things won’t be the same even after this pandemic’s over, I get that, but we have the chance of returning to some new kind of “normalcy.”
With climate change we won’t get that chance, we’re running out of time, the fate of the entire species depends on us acting on it *now*. I don’t want my descendants to be living in dirt hovels near the poles in the far future because of the actions of a few billionaires now.
Indeed, the response to coronavirus is essentially the response to climate change fast tracked, with pundits and politicians claiming it’s a “hoax,” then when that was no longer feasible saying it was “under control,” and then when the stark situation become all too apparent it was almost too late. Ring a bell?