Emergency! Catastrophe! Earth is turning into an unprecedented hellhole – according to an Oxford professor and Microsoft official.
The UK’s Guardian recently published a book excerpt written by Stephen Emmott, a visiting professor of computational science at Oxford University and a senior Microsoft employee. Titled Ten Billion: Facing Our Future, here’s how the book, due to be released in September, is currently being described on Amazon.com:
Deforestation. Desertification. Species extinction. Global warming. Growing threats to food and water. These driving issues of our times are the result of one huge problem: Us.
Ah, yes, the human-beings-are-the-problem argument. The planet would be a perfect, idyllic Eden if only we weren’t around to mess it up. Cheetahs would still be tearing gazelles to pieces, asteroids would still be causing mass extinctions, beavers would still be damming
damning (and therefore redirecting) rivers, but all would be peachy.
Getting back to the Guardian piece, it’s a marvelous specimen of over-the-top, apocalyptic rhetoric. By all means, read the whole lengthy rant for yourself. Below are some of the phrases that caught my eye:
- “our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities are now the drivers of every global problem we face”
- “we can rightly call the situation we’re in right now an emergency– an unprecedented planetary emergency.”
- “we are accelerating the rate at which we’re changing our climate.”
- “we’re consuming water, like food, at a rate that is completely unsustainable.”
- “We currently have no known means of being able to feed 10 billion of us.”
- “In transporting us and our stuff all over the planet, we are also creating a highly efficient network for the global spread of potentially catastrophicdiseases.”
- “a significant risk of catastrophicclimate change that would almost certainly lead to irreversible planetary ‘tipping points’.”
- “This will be absolutely catastrophic. It will lead to runaway climate change.”
- “Earth will become a hellhole. In the decades along the way, we will witness unprecedentedextremes.”
- “Large parts of Africa will become permanent disaster areas.”
- “the entire agricultural system will be faced with an unprecedentedthreat.”
- “More ‘fortunate’ countries.may well look like something approaching militarisedcountries.”
- “a planet of 10 billion looks like a nightmare.”
- “the scale and nature of the problems we face are immense, unprecedentedand possibly unsolvable.”
- “We can rightly call the situation we’re in an unprecedented emergency.”
- “We urgentlyneed to do – and I mean actually do – something radical to avert a global catastrophe.”
- “I think we’re fucked.”
What is it about doomsters? Are they genetically pre-disposed to see everything in the worst possible light? Or do they wake up one morning and consciously decide to be one of those pinched, sour-faced individuals who walks into a room and sucks all the joy, hope, and optimism out of it?
Nothing is sacred as far as these scolding schoolmarms are concerned. No small pleasure escapes their condemnation. Thus, Emmott’s tedious essay – which, in my view contains not a single original idea, but merely rehashes the standard Chicken Little exhortations found in books such as The Population Bomb (1968), Planetary Overload (1993) and Our Final Hour (2003) – whispers the following into our ear:
It takes around 27,000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of chocolate. That’s roughly 2,700 litres of water per bar of chocolate. This should surely be something to think about while you’re curled up on the sofa eating it in your pyjamas.
So many smart people. Spewing so much fear and negativity.
The Drama Queen Files – Exhibit #1 – Greenpeace’s ‘Battle for Britain’
The Drama Queen Files – Exhibit #2 – The ‘Carbon Bomb’ Pipeline
The Drama Queen Files – Exhibit #3 – The ‘Outraged’ Sierra Club
The Drama Queen Files – Exhibit #4 – Earth Day, 1970
The Drama Queen Files – Exhibit #5 – Arctic Hunters ‘Gasping for Life’
The Drama Queen Files – Exhibit #6 – Carbon Dioxide, Superstition & Protecting the Oceans