Fixing a Broken System

I believe a part of the reason there is interest in geo-engineering is because it offers a relatively easy solution to a complex problem. Of course, this means there will likely be unforeseen side effects which could also do great harm. Geo-engineering is, at its core, a techno-fix to the human created problem of global warming. It allows us to deal with this serious issue without having to change any of our current behavior, the behaviour driving global warming. We seem to be quite stuck currently, the idea that once you give a person an iPhone you can’t take it back is true, same with a car, dishwasher and washing machine. We live in a culture of convenience and if you spend your life ordering stuff from Amazon and receiving it on your doorstep a day later it’s outrageous to expect you to change your behavior or expectation. That is why a techo-fix is so appealing; it isn’t necessary for us to stop driving everywhere, all we have to do is put up with the planes flying overhead daily spraying chemicals and the reduced air quality, out of whack weather patterns, and unforeseen consequences. Not only do we no longer have to change our actions but the companies that benefit off our complacency don’t risk the loss of profits when we stop buying their products. There is a push societally that we shouldn’t have to do anything; from the left there is the expectation of governments to change the behaviors of big corporations in order to create the world we want; from the right there is the focus on market incentives to come up with solutions (like techno-fixes). On both sides we don’t expect our leaders to expect us to act. Geoengineering is an easy fix to our lack of action. 

I don’t think that geoengineering is a viable fix to global warming. It seems like there are too many potential problems with it. I also really buy into the idea of playing God that the video talked about, it seems kind of audacious of us to expect to be able to artificially create the world we want to live in, afterall we, and all the species around us, evolved for the world we are in the process of destroying with our current actions. I think the fix to climate change, and all other ecological destruction we are engaging in is to take responsibility for our actions and change our buying behaviors. Yes, I think governments and corporations should make that easier for us, perhaps including the social cost of carbon in gas prices, or mandating that all shipping is ground only, maybe coming up with a safe alternative to plastic wrapping, but I believe that if the change is going to come, we the consumer and citizen need to demand it. 

2 thoughts on “Fixing a Broken System

  1. You make a lot of great points in this post that I would like to personally elaborate on. As you mentioned “playing God” that phrase really stood out to me from the video as well. Just as it may seem to be a good idea to geoengineer, I believe it to be one of the most important things that we don’t stop concentrating on any and all possible outcomes from these actions. We know that mankind has unintentionally changed the climate forever, but what could the extremities be when it is intentional? Also, I drew from this weeks material the same conclusion that it is up to us as a society to implement the importance of reducing carbon emissions as well as removing it from our atmosphere. Since the majority of us are not the ones who will be doing geo-engineering research or governing our population, it is important that we ourselves stay curious and try to help our planet in any way we can as is our responsibility.

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  2. It is easy to think that nothing is being done simply because we are lazy and don’t want to face the problem we have created. I like that you are bringing up a deeper explanation, one more focused on the psychological aspect of our actions, or lack thereof. We are all used to living a certain way. We have habits that are hard to change, and unfortunately the easiest way to do things if often the way that will pollute the most. It is so much easier to drive to work than to bike. So much easier to throw everything in the trash can than to separate our waste that is recyclable and compostable. So much easier to go for fast fashion instead of sustainable fashion. It is not only easier to have bad habits, but also cheaper and often the only option we have available to us. As a society, we need to find ways to make it easier to change our habits as individuals.

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