Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Farewell, Polar Bears, et al: The "Slippery Slope"

Hail, the beauty of global warming. The North Pole is now easily accessible, giving our species more reasons over which to fight wars.

From the AP:

SEATTLE (AP) - A U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker is headed to the Arctic to map the sea floor off Alaska as Canada, Russia and Denmark assert their claims in the polar region, which has potential oil and gas reserves.
The lead scientist on the expedition scoffs at the political implications.
"We're basically just doing science," said Larry Mayer, director of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire. "There's no flag-dropping on this trip," he said in an interview from Durham, N.H For the complete story, click here.

Of course, U.S. authorities deny that this action is in response to Russia's recent flag planting exercise under the North Pole.

Ah, yes, the "we're basically just doing science.........." line. Talk about that "beginning with the end in mind" brand of science mentioned in my last blog! You know, I don't believe that the captains of these icebreakers are concerned about the effects of breaking up a few slabs of ice, exposing more dark ocean waters to the surface, increasing absorption of more heat energy, and expediting the melting of the ice caps. There doesn't seem to be much talk about the effects of these voyages and the future consequences of them on the rich store of wildlife that inhabits this pristine environment either.

So, just where is the "Science" in this excursion? It's clearly a race to the poles to ensure the future of the "status quo" fossil fuel based system that we have created and to which we have become addicted.

The "Science" in this situation has reached new depths, just like the ever increasing penetrating solar radiation in polar regions, to be conveniently ignored and/or exploited, depending upon which most benefits the powers that be. Who will be the voice of reason from this wilderness? Who will be the voice of a planet stressed beyond natural limits? Who will be the voice that propels us to new, renewable sources of energy, most of which already exist. It's certainly a "slippery slope" upon which we have arrived.

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