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Read Part 2 of Global Warming & The Future
An 'Earthrise' photograph taken by an Apollo astronaut, showing the Earth from the surface of the moon. For the first time, humans saw an actual photograph of the Earth from a distance, our planet floating in empty space. (NASA)
As a painter, my Dad emphasized that artists should get their inspiration from nature, a point of view held by most painters and eloquently expressed by Paul Klee in this following quote.
Yet for hundreds of years, going back to the Rennaissance, the goal of humans was to conquer nature so that we were not subject to the natural forces of weather and disease, for example. And with the industrial revolution and now the hi-tech revolution, civilization has accomplished just that.For the artist communication with nature remains the most essential condition. The artist is human; himself nature; part of nature...
Paul Klee, Paths of the Study of Nature, 1923
The great pivot point...of human thinking was the conquering through science...of the forces of nature. Isaac Newton['s] ... ideas on forces defined through mathematics gave the basic template for all inventors to consider the taming of natural phenomena...
Isaac Newton's mathematical insights unlocked the secrets of gravity, planetary and lunar orbits plus the laws of motion -- which led directly to the industrial revolution. (NASA)
We have taken many of the powers of natural forces and put them into our own hands. So it is now up to us control these powers that we hold.The old bond between humans and nature has been permanently altered by technology. The task of the 21st century artist is to forge a new relationship between humans and the world, since our fate is inseparable from that of the Earth.
Rick Doble, 2002
This composite photograph, by a NASA satellite in 2012, recorded light at night from human activity across the surface of the Earth. (NASA)
NOAA map from the US government, predicting the changes in precipitation about 100 years from now. (NOAA)
And the basic difficulty has to do with time. For example, the rise of sea levels is a problem but most important is how quickly they will rise. A rapid rise could be catastrophic as people will not have time to adjust; a slow rise will allow gradual changes that people can accommodate. Right now conservative sea level rise estimates range from a 1/2 foot (15cm) rise in the next 100 years to a 6 foot (2 meters) rise.
This US government NOAA map shows the June, July, August (JJA) predicted surface air temperature changes and the December, January, February (DJF) predicted temperature changes in about 40 years. (NOAA)
Sea level rise is expected to continue for centuries...On the timescale of centuries to millennia, the melting of ice sheets could result in even higher sea level rise.
If there is significant melting of the Greenland glaciers or Antarctic ice, sea levels could rise much higher than predicted. (wikimedia.org)
Yet this is exactly what we must do: Our survival depends on it.
So ironically having separated ourselves from Mother Nature -- having conquered nature as Isaac Newton and others intended -- we find that it is our human nature that we must come to terms with.
WILL PUBLIC OPINION LEAD TO ACTION ON GLOBAL WARMING?
According to polls in the Washington Post and the Gallop organization:
- 60% of people do not think Global Warming will affect them in their lifetime.
- While 84% of scientists agree that global warming is due to human activity less than half of the public believes this.
- 70% of scientists believe that global warming is a serious problem, again less than half of the public thinks so.