Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Epoch of The Straw That Broke - 3

A couple of years ago in a post on this date in June, Dredd Blog touched upon one reality we live in, "the straw that broke the camel's back" syndrome.

In the space of time between that post and now, one hears equivalent words all the time.

"Living on the edge" looms big on this planet at this time.

One application of this syndrome is often expressed as: "We may have already passed the tipping points on global warming, say scientists at the Planet Under Pressure conference. At the London conference, scientists are giving a bleak view of the future of the planet due to catastrophic damage and growth by humans, saying we are close to the irreversible point of global warming."

Here is the text of that post in 2010 which considered the phenomenon:

People are struggling to find an appropriate name for the times we live in.

One candidate is "The Criminally Insane Epoch", another is The Anthropocene Epoch (ibid).

I offer the name The Epoch of the Straw That Broke The Camel's Back.

Environmental scientists use a term "the tipping point", another form of the ancient folk concept "the straw that broke the camel's back".

There is a place at the edge, the boundary, the twilight zone, where the tiniest, infinitesimal, possibly even unmeasurable force will become the trigger that starts a catastrophic cascade that is incomparable in size and effect to the tiny trigger that "caused" it to happen.

The trigger of course does not "cause" that catastrophic cascade to happen, it only triggers it.

This leads some folks to mock the notion that a single, small, but out in the open disaster can trigger mega-catastrophes.

Military folk know that we have come to the verge of catastrophic nuclear war by accident and on purpose over the course of The Nuclear Weapons Daze.

A small rogue and mavericky nation could trigger that nightmare under certain circumstances.

We all have our own tipping point where just one more word, the straw, the trigger, can "cause" us to "fly off the handle" and say or do things we would not otherwise do, if the stage had not been set.

That is the point, to avoid the straw that breaks the camel's back, we must not allow the stage to be set.

The focus of this post is not the nuclear war problem, but the environmental disaster problem that could wipe out the current civilization.

The stage is well set for that, but it is not as easy to discern that stage as it is to discern the tipping point for nuclear war, or one individual's angry outburst.

The flora and fauna of the earth are well aware that the stage is set, scientists are well aware that the stage is set too.

To add to the drama, we will not know when the final straw is added, because then it will in fact be too late to take that straw back to avoid the catastrophe.

Our only play, our only card, our best shot is to take down the stage quickly by radical, effective, and comprehensive moves to renewable energy sources.

Otherwise, even a straw thrown onto the load by a foreign nation far away can hold us accountable.

As long as the stage is set we are hostage to the whims of the collective madness.

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