Light on the horizon?

Humans even today manage to live in the most awful environments, from the icy wastelands of the Frozen North to the foetid, disease ridden swamps of parts of Asia, Africa and South America. For thousands of years they have managed to find clothing, food and shelter despite the most drastic upheavals and awe-inspiring climatory horrors that Mother Nature has thrown at them, and they have built civilisations, constructed cities, developed their own cultures including unique art and music, and emerged stronger, more intelligent and in far greater numbers despite all this. A little bit of warmer weather, they argue, is something that people can take in their strides.

And OK, they say, so sea levels will rise but is this such a fearful prospect? The city of Venice was built in a lagoon as a matter of choice and yes there are frequent floods but the city still functions and is likely to do so for the forseeable future. And most of Holland is below sea level anyhow, but the dykes stop the land from flooding and the windmills pump away any excessive rainwater. Vast areas of the world are already protected from inundation with varying degrees of efficiency by dykes and levees so is it really beyond the abilities of scientists and engineers to defend other countries from the sea? So land gets flooded every now and again. What is wrong with re-designing our houses so that the living area is well above the height of possible water levels, with the ground floor rooms used for storage only and designed to withstand periodic immersion? Why can we not grow crops on floating islands, in the same way that natives of South America did centuries ago? What is wrong with having entire floating cities in which food is grown hy hydroponics and fresh water generated from seawater? Where electricity is generated from solar cells or wave power or windmills and stored in huge battery complexes? So fair enough we won't be able to drive our cars thousands of miles a year any more because all the fuel will be needed for essential services and so priced way outside our means but would this be such a disaster? People have lived for thousands of years without motor cars and grown fitter and stronger as a result! Certainly things will change, but this has been the way of the world ever since the first dawn of history.

So there are two different viewpoints; at the extreme we will all perish from overheating as a result of mankind's greed and refusal to curb the destruction of our planet; or global warming will prove to be at the worst a nuisance which in our usual way we will overcome with ingenuity, hard work and organisation, and with luck it will put off the awful day when the ice sheets once again come marching across the globe. Perhaps we will overcome that scenario too when we have to.

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