Sunday, September 12, 2010

Trying to Keep Hope Alive

My summer reading included James Lovelock's Revenge of Gaia. I'm afraid his dark view of our planet's near future (15 -20 years) was highly plausible to me. Reminded me of those days in 2006 and 2007 when the so-called experts were crooning soothing words about the great moderation in bond yields being a sign of stability, but each data point that I was seeing didn't fit their views. The biggest, consistent error humans make is to extrapolate the instantaneous slope of a non linear process as if it were linear. And this is what Lovelock highlights, along with network effects that seem to me to be obvious. So I found him profoundly credible, and have been struggling to cope since then.

Here is a (somewhat) more hopeful TED talk by a leading planetary scientist that shows us some of the way forward.

In passing, his talk seems to indicate that there is an emerging consensus among people who really know this stuff that we have 1 or 2 decades at most to head off a planetary catastrophe.

And, yes, on my recent weekend in Stockholm, I did notice those Swedes are, just like this guy, very slim and trim.

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