Oregon State University Philosophy Professor Allen Thompson told a packed Guinn Library at the Hatfield Marine Science Center Wednesday evening that carbon dioxide loading and other green house gas accumulations in the Earth’s atmosphere will soon dictate a much different world than we have today. And we probably won’t like it. He said there is a great deal of scientific evidence that shows if we prevent excessive atmospheric warming in the decades ahead from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius, the earth can begin backing away from a rendezvous with very troubling climate extremes.
However, Thompson said trying to get worldwide humanity to agree on how to put the brakes on global warming
will be a daunting task. He posed a number scenarios as seen through the lens of human values. Thompson said one perspective is to view the world’s eco-system as finite in what it can give as well as be subjected to in terms of pollution; thermal and otherwise. He said science strongly suggests that we must be willing to change our attitudes about ourselves and our relationship to the earth in order to lessen the harmful impact on future human generations, not to mention impacts on the Earth’s fish, flora and fauna. Thompson said there is a lot of climate change denial among many American households, but he added that the rest of the world appears to be more substantially on board, more in alignment with proven science that the verdict is in; that climate change is already upon us.
Thompson said discussions must take into account America’s past 60 years that has seen a lifestyle that few scientists would claim the Earth could handle if all humans, presently on the planet, were able to fully participate in. To the extent that the Earth’s bio-sphere is already strained with just the U.S., China and Europe contributing mightily to carbon monoxide loading, serious international discussions are needed if the Earth’s peoples are to avert global disaster. He said it calls into question our definition of what it means to be a human being, what is a sustainable human lifestyle based on energy use patterns, and how do we courageously begin to transform ourselves into good stewards of the Earth; that nurtures and cares for the Earth rather than treating her as we have over the past 200 years. Such discussions suggest major attitude shifts and re-defining what is “healthy” human growth and self-actualizing goals. Perhaps, with our basic physical needs being met, we could enjoy the simple essence of family and community life rather than living lives of unsustainable extraction of the world’s resources as if there won’t be any future generations to be concerned about.
Thompson said he is trying to simply offer the suggestion that the people of the Earth have to realize that things are already not going well with our Earth’s atmosphere and that global discussions to fix it should move and move quickly. He said reaching a global average rise of 4 degrees Celsius is mere decades out and once reached, turning the situation around would be, by no means, assured.
Thompson urged everyone to join the discussion and to inform themselves of the need for an international call for action that meets the Earth’s timeline, for that is the timeline we all must meet.
Thompson’s presentation on the ethical implications for how the world’s peoples should respond to climate change was sponsored by The Ocean Shores Conservation Coalition. For more information about Ocean Shores and how they are reacting to Global Climate Change, just go to their website: Click here.