Unbelievably, it has been over half a century since the iconoclastic American biologist Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, launching the rather quaint notion of “pollution.”
The pollution in question was the dozens of new chemicals introduced every day that contaminate our soil, water, air, our dinner table and our bodies.
Her book, of course, was immediately followed by an hysterical denial by the chemical industry and an attempt to discredit her. The public and the governments did respond somewhat.
Today, the dozens of new chemicals have changed to hundreds; pollution has changed to the more serious existential manifestation of global climate change. And the denial has been ramped up by industry and governments.
Just as peak oil did not become apparent at the time (2006), but only showed up in the rear view mirror perhaps five years later, now peak climate change is beginning to show in the rear view mirror as having happened in 2012.
That was the year one of our more massive feedback loops got started: the release of up to 1,400 giggatons of methane gas in the Canadian and Siberian permafrost and beneath cold ocean water (methane clathrates). The government has done less than nothing.
We might have been able to capture the gas for use as energy but, unfortunately, the government cancelled our participation with Japan in researching the beneficial use of escaped methane gas. Now, of course, Japanese research is beginning to reap the benefits. Still our government does nothing.