Friday, April 28, 2006

Long Term Thinking

I have thought of myself as thinking long term, but must admit to being a bit late to pick up on the challenge with CO2. Al Gore has me beat. I see he now has a web presence too. I do like his Upton Sinclair quote “It’s hard to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding.” Seems like the price of oil is helping the understanding, but most of it seems to be directed short term, such as $100 tax rebates on gas as long as drilling in the Arctic Refuge is allowed. That sure sounds like a policy winner.

We know the political system offers incentives primarily based on the next election. Statesmen are near extinct. Individuals follow per the Upton Sinclair quote above, so who is left? We may the the most intelligent and capable species on earth but we are far from being able to avoid develop ourselves into environmental oblivion, despite our hubris. And though the Earth will go on, some species including our own may survive, many will not due to our own short term thinking.

This week, I attempted to inject some long term thought into our University of Alaska campus planning group on which I serve, asking them to consider climate change implications when we try to assess or guide development. The response was mostly dead silence with the one comment "We don't do that here". Even folks there that I'm pretty sure know better didn't say a thing.

Another cheery post. Ka-chink, ka-chink, ka-chink of a scratched record (LP).


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