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Priority One: Planet

James Hansen is the kind of scientist you just have to believe. He's everywhere (head of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, professor at Columbia's Earth Institute, etc) and he's passionate - which really helps us regular people understand (read: give a shit about) what he's demanding.

Basically, we're fucked.

The climate is changing beyond any natural phenomena, deforestation is exacerbating already massive industrial carbon emissions, poverty and urbanization are making populations harder to feed and placing more people in danger when the storms that will result from these changes do take place (see: Port-au-Prince, New Orleans).

And here's the scary part: we KNOW, and we aren't doing anything about it!

And this is the part I find extremely reassuring. At our base, we human animals are incapable of dealing with problems like this. We've lost the ability to act collectively - if we could have ever had it with a global population of this size - and because of that, we are continuing on our merry way, just like all the other animals.

And fear her hand though we may, Nature has got this under control. How does SHE solve this problem...death! And lots of it. Want to bring the planet back in balance, kill off the species that's causing the problem.

We see this happening in animal populations all the time: got an oversupply of lions? No problem. They'll eat their way through the springboks in a season and then all next year's cubs will die of starvation. Problem solved.

But we should really be embarrassed. Too many lions doesn't undermine the delicate balance of the entire planet. Lions don't rape and pillage the natural environment for every living thing - they stick to their natural prey and so the problem and its' solution are both smaller in much so that rarely is an ecosystem hanging in the balance. But we've managed to endanger ourselves for generations - maybe for the survival of the species - and it will take thousands, maybe even millions of years for Nature to recover.

Then again, maybe by then we'll remember our place in the food chain and act accordingly.

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