Remember how Wile E. Coyote, in his obsessive pursuit of the Road Runner, would fall off a cliff? The hapless predator ran straight out off the edge, stopped in midair as only an animated character could, looked beneath him in an eye-popping moment of truth, and plummeted straight down into a puff of dust. Splat!One thing we can say about the human species is that we have never believed in a "point of no return." No matter how bleak or dangerous the seas look, we believe that, through our superior intelligence and ingenuity, we can right the ship before it sails off the edge of the world.
Four decades ago, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer model called World3 warned of such a possible course for human civilization in the 21st century. In Limits to Growth, a bitterly disputed 1972 book that explicated these findings, researchers argued that the global industrial system has so much inertia that it cannot readily correct course in response to signals of planetary stress. But unless economic growth skidded to a halt before reaching the edge, they warned, society was headed for overshoot — and a splat that could kill billions.
~ from Apocalypse Soon: Has Civilization Passed the Environmental Point of No Return? by Madhusree Mukerjee ~
On Memorial Day, we will take a look in the Line by Line series at Verse 69, Line 8 of the Tao Te Ching. This line speaks to the issue of underestimating an opponent. While the environment of our planet is not an adversary, global warming is and, sadly, it is an adversary that we ourselves have created!
When we underestimate an opponent, we do so at our own peril. In the present case, we are so underestimating the destructive power of global warming that, instead of working to decrease our footprint, we are increasing it at breakneck speed. It has become so large that we may no longer be able to reduce it to a sustainable size.
For those of us entering our twilight years, we most likely won't be around when the ravages of global warming are unleashed on the world. But today's children and youth won't be so lucky. They will end up reaping what we and past generations have sown.
In this instance, I am glad that I'm not a parent! At least, I don't have to worry about my progeny cursing my name around 2050!!!