If you have spent any time with Guy McPherson videos, you know that he assumes the extinction of life on earth — within, he now says, a decade, or is it eight years?— due to global warming which, he claims, is accelerating due to atmospheric and geophysical feedback loops ignited by the “heat engine” that is civilization itself. Furthermore, he claims that extinction is inevitable, no matter what we do or don’t do to try to mitigate it.
Cf. this recent video with Carol Rosin, whose own cause for 40 years has been the effort to prevent the placement of weapons in outer space. It’s interesting for me to watch their interchange, because while McPherson — who spent two nights in my home on his visit to Bloomington in 2015 — is resigned to the death of all living things (and bravely assumes there is no afterlife to boot), Rosin — a friend of mine for over 20 years — simply can’t help but keep on trying to get “world leaders” to pay attention and reverse the planned weaponization of space. So, while McPherson counsels us to pay attention to what’s close at hand, prepare for death while opening to love, Rosin, whose appreciation of his “scientific” point of view is both thoroughgoing and agonized, also seems to be more like me — congenitally incapable of giving up!
Meanwhile, the opposite point of view to McPherson’s is taken by “web bot futurologist” Clif High, who assumes global cooling, in fact a mini-ice age that may last at least 250 years. He wonders whether within, say eight years, his own homestead in western Washington might be buried under so much snow for so many months of the year that it will prove inhabitable. High doesn’t talk about extinction, but about relocation, as northerners move south.
Both McPherson and High cite larger processes to build their arguments. McPherson, a retired professor of natural resources and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, bases his findings on earth-centered science. High’s horizons are more expansive; he cites a 420-year cycle of the relative positions of Jupiter and Saturn to Sun and Earth that pull Earth temporarily out of her near-circular orbit as responsible for the coming mini ice age.
Check out from about minute 14 through 20 of this video:
No matter how we argue for either position, to me it’s also clear that no matter how much we try to wrap our rational minds around what’s happening, no matter how we try to “figure it out” using conceptual maps to mirror the territory exactly, it’s impossible. “The map is not the territory” — ever. Reality is always — by definition, you might say, since the mystery just goes on and on — much more complex and interdimensional than any of our attempts to understand, predict, or control it.
But what’s most interesting to me in all this discussion, is how we tend to rely on our relationship to the future to determine how we might be here now. And to counter that, I continue to defer to the wisdom of Joanna Macy: