“The Truman Show”

By Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa, (On Twitter) @c_tamirisa

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Christmas is such a northern hemispherical thing. There is no bias bigger than belonging to the north of the equator. Santa comes from the snowy, icy north and families cuddle up before fire places with hot chocolate and decorated Christmas trees, celebrating a birth that happened about 2000 years ago, north of the equator. To imagine a snow-free Christmas and a polar cap without ice is like a Canadian December 25th in Australia. Culture will have to change to accommodate that more accurate reality of the birthplace of Jesus.

Many governments and scientists are preparing, in the absence of any meaningful changes in our behavior as human beings any time soon, to send machines up into the atmosphere to scrub it clean of our effluents which are warming the planet, melting the glaciers and potentially the entire polar caps they say, if we cannot at least stop our contribution to warming the planet. It is called geoengineering or more precisely, reengineering the atmospheric chemistry.

Science is a tough business. It cannot legitimately claim that green house gas neutrality can stop global warming. At least it may help if we are lucky. So, restoring the atmosphere to the way it has been for approximately 10,000 years during which it birthed civilization, perhaps can slow down global warming, assuming adverse acts of God do not intervene. It is ultimately an insurance luck of the draw. How much insurance we want to take out depends on what can be realistically achieved through human intervention.

Nobody, however, is talking about using geoengineering for the converse: to cool the planet in addition to restoring the atmosphere either through micro-behavioral changes over time or through geoengineering itself. The planet can be cooled to keep the glaciers from melting because neutrality of green house gases alone cannot stop the more cosmic long cyclical processes that cause climate change. We may not be able to play God and change the precession of the planet or that of its orbit around the sun, but we can cool it as we do our homes in summer. The holy grail of geoengineering is Jim Carrey’s “Truman Show.” However, the reality is not that funny. To survive as a species we may need to learn to terraform the earth before we can terraform moon or mars.

So, before the Grinch can steal the northern Christmas, perhaps global cooling is worth looking into.


About Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa

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