At this time, US television screens are graced with several blockbuster science programs. Showtime’s The Years of Living Dangerously provides serious and substantive looks at climate change. With Cosmos, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, NewsCorp is giving thinking people a substantive reason to tune in every Sunday evening. “Cosmos aims to be a primer on the incredible grandeur of the world around us, lionizing the scientists that have made our greatest discoveries, and hopefully stoking the fires for education and learning in the process.” If we think about the political demographic associated with Fox News, Cosmos’ calm, rather, and thoughtful scientific-based take on the history of Earth (no, not 6000 years), evolution (yes, it happens), and climate change (not that word) might appear shocking.
As to the last, Cosmos’ discussion to date has been relatively muted — certainly not a central focus — but yesterday’s show changed that equation.
We just can’t seem to stop burning up all those buried trees from way back in the carboniferous age, in the form of coal, and the remains of ancient plankton, in the form of oil and gas.
If we could, we’d be home free climate wise.
Instead, we’re dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a rate the Earth hasn’t seen since the great climate catastrophes of the past, the ones that led to mass extinctions.
We just can’t seem to break our addiction to the kinds of fuel that will bring back a climate last seen by the dinosaurs, a climate that will drown our coastal cities and wreak havoc on the environment and our ability to feed ourselves.
All the while, the glorious sun pours immaculate free energy down upon us, more than we will ever need.
Why can’t we summon the ingenuity and courage of the generations that came before us?
The dinosaurs never saw that asteroid coming.
In his calm sonorous voice, Tyson asks a profound question
“What’s our excuse?”
Tip of the hat to Chris Mooney (see that discussion, which has links to other excellent discussions about and with Tyson).