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(from the archives) ‘THE BRIGHTER SIDE of GLOBAL WARMING’ —Stiles

NOTE: On 6/15/13 I found this link:  “Climate talk shifts from curbing CO2 to adapting”  from the AP. Below is a story from our 2007 archives…JS


Some things in life are bad, they can really make you mad,
Other things just make you swear and curse,
When you’re chewing life’s gristle, don’t grumble, give a whistle
And this’ll help things turn out for the best.

Always look on the bright side of life.

Eric Idle

In Australia, when Life gets hard, my mates like to say, “never mind…she’ll be ‘right,” even though they often know they’re lying through their beer soaked teeth.  And so, on this occasion,  I choose to sound an optimistic, even painfully cheerful note on the coming global catastrophe, as I drain the contents of my last Foster’s.
Or…as Alfred E. Neuman has proclaimed for more than half a century: “What? Me worry?”

Everything will be fine. Not bad. Just…different.

Yes…please spare me the details. Of course, global warming will cause dramatic climate shifts and yes, it’s true, the developing nations, the poorest on the planet, will suffer far more than the rest of us. And indeed, global warming, driven by continued population growth and an ever-expanding, consumptive world economy will destroy much of what’s left of the natural world, crush the human cultures of those few civilizations not yet totally infected by the culture of Greed and Stupidity, and leave the planet stripped of its natural and human diversity, in ways we cannot even truly imagine.

Isn’t that the idea?  Already, even in the mainstream media,  voices in favor of global warming are starting to be heard.

When you’re losing the war, Benedict Arnold once said, simply switch sides. And those embracing the inevitable are even being called progressive by the likes of NEWSWEEK. That honored publication observed recently that, “with further warming seemingly inevitable, the farsighted are already thinking beyond combating climate change. By government fiat or market force, humans will adapt, and that will bring opportunities as well as challenges.” Farsighted, indeed.

It notes that, with rising temperatures, “Russia, long a half-frozen terra incognita, will find its interior frontiers thrown wide open as the Siberian tundra turns to fertile prairie.”  Of course, the lower latitudes of the planet will be scorched, “but America and other rich nations will be left relatively unscathed, because they are removed from equatorial regions that will be hardest hit, and wealthy enough to adapt.”

According to NEWSWEEK, even parts of last year’s otherwise chilling report on global warming  shined some happy light on the issue. British economist Nicholas Stern reported,  “In higher latitude regions, such as Canada, Russia and Scandinavia, climate change may lead to net benefits through higher agricultural yields, lower winter mortality, lower heating costs and a possible boost in tourism.”

So while working on our Miami tans may become a bit too uncomfortable in the future, we can look forward to beach side colonies on Hudson Bay.  Ski resorts, threatened with the loss of their livelihoods are already examining the options— one cheerful optimist sees olive groves replacing his snowy slopes. From converting ski resorts to spa resorts, the great entrepreneurs of our world will find a way to spin a silk purse from this slightly singed sow’s ear.

And what about those billions who already live on the edge of poverty in the areas to be most devastated by the effects of global warming? NEWSWEEK gets a bit vague. But certainly, when the masses move north, those spas are going to get a tad crowded.

More good news.  We’ve heard that the polar regions are melting and that the polar bears may be out of ice in a few decades. It’s a pity for the bears, to be sure. But what about the benefits to international trade?  According to
Alaska Business Magazine, “…increasingly, Alaska may find potential trade and economic benefits from global climate change. According to Mead Treadwell of the Northern Forum, sea routes across the top of Russia will soon become practical alternatives to shipping freight from the Pacific Rim to Europe…In addition, receding sea ice is slowly showing hints of a long-sought-for Northwest Passage, through the archipelago of Canada’s far north. Alaska stands at the crossroad of these new trade routes.”  Treadwell cautiously added, “However before cruise ships or freighters ply these routes regularly, strong political obstacles must be overcome.”

Those pesky political obstacles!  Now that the most imposing obstructions are about to melt away in a warm breeze, the politicians can debate trade routes and permitting fees and gross tonnage and net revenues. The shorter route will benefit us all;  imagine the shipping cost savings to be had on our Chinese-made products. All of that stuff that we want and think we need will reach us even quicker. And they’ll be able to send us even more.

But what about those rising oceans?  No worries. Most experts believe it will take a century before they seriously threaten any developed city and those low-lying areas of the Third World will just have to fend for themselves. Many environmentalists claim that warming water temperatures and an expanding human population will deplete much of the world’s fish stocks by mid-century. Does that mean we’ll have to give up Fish Fridays? Not at all.

In Japan, entrepreneur Akito Yamamoto has developed a way of growing blue fin tuna in tanks. Japan already consumes 80% of the world’s blue fin catch and as more countries develop a taste for sushi and sashimi, the sea grown tuna are in jeopardy of vanishing. But Yamamoto has developed a process that should keep the world from ever having to live without sushi. In 16 foot diameter tanks, kept at a constant 70 degrees, 15 tuna swim against an artificial current that is supposed to mimic the ocean. A tuna must keep moving to breathe and can cross the Atlantic in 50 days, so these fish just swim endlessly in tight circles, hour after hour, day after day, for about three years, until they’re big enough to eat.
The rest of the world will no doubt take note of Mr. Yamamoto’s success.

And what about the rest of the natural world? Aren’t scientists calling this the Fifth Great Extinction?  Or is it the Sixth? Who can keep track?  They claim that much of the fauna most familiar to us could be gone by the end of the century
Gone? Extinct? I don’t think so.  Human technology will find a way to maintain at least representative numbers for most of these threatened critters. Could we possibly think that rising temperatures might eliminate the natural world? Look what some sheiks in Dubai recently accomplished. Conflicted by 120 degree temperatures and the overwhelming desire to go snow skiing, they built an indoor ski resort.

You can’t argue with success. Expect indoor zoo/theme parks like this to flourish in the centuries ahead. We’ll see massive enclosed pavilions that represent all the major habitats of the world. And because they’re impervious to weather, we might be able to see the nocturnal wildlife of the canyon country in downtown Berlin. Or the great raptors of the Andes in Chicago.  It really is a brave new world.

What else…we’ll certainly find a way to replace all those honey bees that are disappearing from the planet. Perhaps they’ll develop a robotronic version of many threatened animals to maintain the “balance of nature.” That will free up the remaining real animals to kick back and enjoy life, without all those annoying worries and responsibilities about “doing the right thing.”  Guilt is a terrible thing to endure. It’s why, even now, some kindhearted enviropreneur has invented the Terra Pass. ( You can calculate your carbon dioxide contribution, whether by car or jet, and then make a payment to…well to somebody, so you won’t feel bad about it anymore.

In the end, it’s clear to see, there are no crises ahead. Everything is going to be just fine. Don’t think of the future in catastrophic terms. Just think of the money that is about to be made.  Ultimately, not only will we get what we deserve…we’ll get what we want as well.

For life is quite absurd
And death’s the final word.
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin.
Give the audience a grin.
Enjoy it. It’s your last chance, anyhow.

Always look on the bright side of death,
Just before you draw your terminal breath.

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