A recent issue of Time magazine (6/24) featured a cover story called “Our Sinking Planet” by Justin Worland. On the cover was a picture with the caption “U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres off the coast of Tuualu, one of the world’s most vulnerable countries. Facing a rise in global sea levels, island nations are leading the fight against climate change.” My initial thought was: Really? Leading a fight against climate change? Really? What hubris!
Merriam Webster’s definition of the word hubris is: exaggerated pride or self-confidence. Quoting Webster: “To the Greeks, hubris referred to extreme pride, especially pride and ambition so great that they offend the gods and lead to one’s downfall. Hubris was a character flaw often seen in the heroes of classical Greek tragedy, including Oedipus and Achilles. The familiar old saying ‘Pride goeth before a fall’ is basically talking about hubris.”
Now before you label me a “truth denier,” let me make one thing perfectly clear. There is no doubt in my mind that the Earth is in a state of transition or “change.” Yes, Virginia, we are experiencing “Climate Change.” Others call it “Global Warming.” Call it what you will, our planet, for whatever reason, is becoming warmer. How much warmer it will become is open to debate, as is the cause of its warming. A large group of very vocal advocates maintain that the change in the Earth’s climate is a direct result of man and his insatiable desire for more energy and its subsequent consumption. And that is where today’s climate change advocates and I part company.
If nothing else, history as shown us that the Earth has undergone some form of change almost constantly ever since its inception (Big Bang?). The planet has been in a constant state of flux since the beginning of time. We’ve had little ice ages, large ice ages, as well as periods of warming and periods of cooling, and almost all of them occurred long before man developed the ability to extract oil and gas from the planet’s nether regions, and well before the Industrial Revolution. Yes, Virginia, “Climate Change” has been occurring spontaneously since the beginning of time—or at least before man had any “control” over things. It is disingenuous to suggest that we are responsible for “Global Warming.” It just flies in the face of the facts.
So, to say that island nations are “fighting” against climate change is a bit like saying that we are engaged in a battle to eliminate gravity. It just can’t be done. Can we forestall its effects? Absolutely. Can we take steps to elevate or relocate centers of population where rising ocean levels are making the land uninhabitable? Of course. But to suggest that man is the cause of global warming or climate change (call it what you will; it makes no difference) is the height of arrogance, and to suggest that we can overcome it is pure hubris.
I would suggest to those who insist that we are responsible for, and more ludicrously, capable of combatting global warming, examine the geographic history of our planet. Instead of railing hysterically against the energy industry and big business, take a deep breath (hopefully a clean one) and just chill out. In the scope of things, we’re just not that powerful, nor are we that important. I know it’s hard to accept, but the planet was here long before us, and it will be here long after we’re gone. As Walter Cronkite used to say, “And that’s the way it is.”