If you miss the headlines and dive straight into the stories, you might be inclined to believe that we're about a half-step from committing suicide -- we being humanity, that is. I'm not sure it's a belief you should dismiss. Sci Fi Wire has a great interview with futurist Bruce Sterling about the consequences of fiddling while Rome burns (and the coastlines vanish, and the ice caps melt). It's not the most optimistic discussion I've read.
- Assessing the scale and urgency of global warming, Sterling says, "The wolf is at the door. With the possible exception of the nuclear arms race, this is the gravest emergency the human race has had in its recorded history." But humankind is not exactly responding with vigor: "I'd love to say we're 'facing' this crisis, but we're not facing it yet, we just 'have' it."
- "Also, scientists and engineers should be taking direct action. Leaving this crisis to politicians, journalists and activists was an unconscionable dereliction of duty on their part. I hope the scientific community feels properly ashamed at their failure to grasp the full reality of climate events and the effect that lapse will have on their fellow citizens.
- "The climate crisis is severe. Basically, we've fouled our nest so energetically that our nest is rapidly becoming one big foulness. We brought that disaster on ourselves. But we're not the source of all the trouble in a turbulent universe. If we pull ourselves out of this self-made climate tailspin, maybe we'll be a little less eager to flatter ourselves in the future. We need to become more watchful and alert, more aware that the Earth was not served to mankind on a silver platter. The Earth is a nice place, but Copernicus was right.