Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I love Biology...

Tonight was cool. First off I didn't have to take the dreaded unstudied-for test. I can delay and pay a measly fee of $4 to take it on Wednesday (incidenally 1 US dollar equals 11.0889947 Pesos, so the text extension would cost me a whoppin 44.35 if I were in Juarez, Mexico). I still am heaving that figuative sigh of relief, what with the whole double duty thing this week @ work (I got a promotion, yet am working it plus the old job till my colleauge returns from Disneyland) and the ominous promise of finals week looming just 4 days away.

Who the heck arbitrarily decided tests were all that great anyway? Most of the time they're designed to trick you into feeling like you are doing PDG, all butterflies and sunny meadows, but gully washer clouds form quickly after the examination is handed in and run through the scantron.

I propose that tests are a direct bi-product of the Norse deity Poki (devlish brother to Loki, Norse god of mischief), solelly designed to leave us gasping as if poleaxed, skewered toadily on the end of a frog-sticker . The test results always hustle and mishmash to reform into little faces on the test results page, their whizgigging geysering laughs mocking uproariously that I ever thought I was prepared. I know this is true to teh depths of my beings. The gods who meddled with Zeigfried in Nibelungenlied are fixed against me! It's like the Ides of April or something! Wreched!

Ahem...Back to Biology. Professor Heward talked today about more of the impacts of Humanity on environment, and it got me to thinking--how long can this good thing that we all share really last? Did you know that as a nation we use 10x the resources per person that a developing nation uses? Think about this also--China is still considered a developing nation (what happens when they are "developed"? I am not talking facial hair here) :). That roughly translates into a curent figure of 700 million using the majority of the worlds resources. The other stat that will shock you is that if everyone else in the developing nations were to really try for the "American Dream" then we'd quickly overstress our planet and end up in a tight spot. The carrying capacity of the planet is estimated at anywhere from 3 billion to 44 billion. Now obviously, we are well past the 3 billion, but 44 seems a bit high considering that over 1 bilion today go to bed hungry each night. This carrying capacity is good to remember for my next point. If those said developing nation peoples were able to come up to American standards, that would put a virtual stress on the planet of 10x the population (a rough strain of 50 billion on the resources). And you thought the tuna fleets were clearing the seas out today. There would be narry a sole to be found (haha!) in the sea.

So what do we do as response to this calamity hanging over the heads of our prodgeny? Will what I do really affect the future? I think yes. People are complacent for the most part, but we are sleeping giants by and large. If each of us picked up 10 pieces of trash when we went for a walk, got a recycling bin for 60% of that trash that really doesn't need to go to the landfill, turned down the thermostat, and carpooled or (gasp!) rode our bikes to work, it would be a start. I know there is alot to be done if we are going to help our childrens grandchildren out, but isn't it worth it? In this time of disposable everything, we snub our roots and thumb our noses at the conventional wisdom that lead our forbearers to "use it up and wear it out" instead of consume, consume, consume.

OK. I am stepping down from the soapbox and am going to recycle it :)

I just feel like we can do something, ya know?? We and all the life on this big old blue marble are interrelated (yes brother couchdweller, those pork-rinds came from something that is in the same Domain, Kindom, Phylum, and Class as you) and what we choose makes a difference as some of these animals are linked in ways that apathy will crush. Now I am not going to go all revolutionary and join peta. But I am somewhat shocked at the new perspective I have on things. We gotta give back to the planet!

If you would like a laugh, check out Gary Larson's "There's a Hair in My Dirt". I'ts pretty funny. Want a spoiler? The moral of the story is to Leave the King Snake alone when it's eating that cute little hantavirus carrier.

OK for the second time. I really am tired. Thx for reading, good night and good luck (picking up those 10 pieces of garbage).

2 comments:

montare said...

Jay I agree for the most part - certainly no harm can come from each doing our part to care for our little piece of the earth. But the predictions that we'll run out of resources or otherwise self-destruct are really quite unrealistic. (I've never been in a college science course that didn't preach on just such a platform, though.)

If anything, China and other developing nations adopting our oil-thirsty way of life would lead to positive developments the world over. Painful, perhaps, but positive nonetheless. If there were suddenly 4 times as many people living the energy-crazy lifestyle we so enjoy, two things would happen. First, there would be a temporary shortage of resources, leading to the forced surrender to bicycles, public transportation and pedestrian traffic for a lot of people. That's not a bad thing. Second, every energy company in the world would invest millions into finding better, more plentiful energy sources. That would be a very good thing, because the next version of fuel is bound to be far more efficient and less harmful than what we're using now.

You can read a lot of doomsday pessimism by googling "peak oil," but it seems unlikely to me that our society is truly incapable of adapting. We just need a hard shove in that direction, which will be painful but not apocalyptic.

Jay said...

Pablo,

Right on! More bikes and less cars...cool

Thanks for the silver lining