Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ocean Survival

I ran across an article in this morning's paper entitled, "Will the Oceans Survive?" I had one of my aha! moments as I realized this was exactly what I'd been talking about in my blog on precision in language. The question is not "Will the oceans survive?" Of course they will survive. The question, rendered more precisely, would be, "Will the oceans continue to exist in a form that is acceptable to our use as humans?" That's a different question utterly, because, for one thing, it raises the question of what form the oceans have that would be considered "ideal." The answer is, of course, 'It depends." A warm, gooey ocean might be just right for certain kinds of life, while being fatal to ours.
Nor are humans the first and only beings to change climate, oceans, and weather dramatically. One of the earliest massive killoffs in our planet's history was about, what, 3 billion years ago when an organism arose that put out an poison which killed most of the life on the planet, oxygen (have I mentioned this already somewhere?)
So, let's do three of things. First, let's not think we are unique in our power to change things. Second, let's try to describe the situation with more precision (and yes, it's possible, all ye post-modern nutcases with tinfoil hats). Third, let's realize that as we remake the climate, we're doing it for us and for current species. Quite frankly, Ma Earth doesn't give a damn one way or another.

1 comment:

Jacqueline said...

Interesting..although I would say the reason the media used the title "Will Our Oceans Survive?" was probably done to sensationalize the whole issue--thus drawing the less informed and therefore more alarmed readers into the article--who then are disappointed when they read and realize that its not a matter of the ocean surviving, but merely to what extent.