Some folks think that we can find
Another place like this,
If we only take a ride
On a rocket ship.
They think that we can lose the world,
And leave behind a mess.
When it goes wrong we’ll move along,
And find a new address.
But you can travel far and wide, I guarantee
There is no planet “B”.
People who deny these things
May act like mental giants,
But wouldn’t do so well in school,
Or understand the science.
They’re looking for a magic place,
Saw it in the movies.
But people up in outer space
Can’t be very choosy.
I bet that you are pretty smart,
And pretty handy too.
But try and make an apple tree,
And see how well you do.
And water, food and oxygen,
To make a family grow.
Cause it takes more than politics
To make a planet go.
The message of my story is:
Take care of what you’ve got.
Don’t pollute the water and
Don’t let it get too hot.
Of all the planets out in space,
Only one will fit.
There’s only one that we call home,
And baby, this is it.
Words & music ©Doug Hendren 2014
What’s it about? Earth is in trouble, because of the effects of unrestrained human activity. That means that people are all in trouble, too, though a lot of our leaders don’t admit it. In our lust for a few more months or years of “cheap” fossil fuel energy, we are fundamentally altering earth’s climate and oceans, as well as poisoning our own drinking water with carcinogens from fracking and drilling operations. By failing right now to transition immediately to renewable energy, we are banishing our children and grandchildren to living in a very different, and unfriendly world.
There are other large sources of CO2 (deforestation) and methane (livestock), but the major source is combustion of fossil fuels. For long-term survival, we will need to sharply reduce human population to a sustainable level, since it is driving everything else.
Can we really power the world with renewables? Engineers from Stanford University think so, and using today’s technology.
Then why aren’t we doing it? The answer is simple: The fossil fuel industry is very rich, and they pay a lot of money to Congress every year to maintain their influence, and to prevent competition from renewables. It’s a great investment for them, since Congress turns around and grants them a lot of subsidy money out of public funds (see below). All that money seems to have an effect on the average scientific IQ in Congress: Although there are virtually no credible scientific experts today who dispute human-caused climate change, Congress is loaded with “climate deniers”, who are well paid by the coal, gas and oil industries.
What is the result of all this nonsense? For starters, it has prevented the American public from insisting on an effective, rational response to the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. While we actually hear serious discussion of such absurd and extreme measures as colonizing other planets, or deploying huge mirrors in space or gases in the atmosphere to blot out the sun, our attention is diverted away from the practical and achievable things we can do right now. These include smaller, more efficient homes and cars (look at Germany), better public transportation, and an immediate tax on carbon (just like the tax on cigarettes) to offset the huge costs of climate change (estimated at $170 billion for the year 2012), as well as pollution and related diseases.
The way out of our predicament will not be high-tech solutions. It will be by taking back our government, and making it serve our long-term interests: preserving our food and water supplies, ceasing immediately all fossil subsidies, and transitioning to renewable energy sources as rapidly as possible. This is science, but it is not rocket science!
Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data (by source and by country).
Fossil fuel follies: Massive subsidies underpin oil, coal exploration. Using public funds to support the fossil fuel industry is both uneconomic and unsustainable.
Rich countries are still wasting billions on subsidies for fossil / David Roberts, for Grist Magazine.