Columbia EESC V1003 - THE CHALLENGE OF CO-EVOLUTION (30 pages)

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THE CHALLENGE OF CO-EVOLUTION



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THE CHALLENGE OF CO-EVOLUTION

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Lecture Notes


Pages:
30
School:
Columbia University
Course:
Eesc V1003 - Climate and Society Case Studies

Unformatted text preview:

DRAFT DO NOT COPY DO NOT DISTRIBUTE CHAPTER ONE THE CHALLENGE OF CO EVOLUTION Large issues and debates often grow from a small seed In 1969 when we saw the first pictures taken from the moon of our solitary blue green planet with snow covered poles surrounded by dark and seemingly infinite empty space the emotional impact of that moment was profound even overwhelming We realized we are traveling together through dark empty space and share a common bond as co inhabitants of the Earth We are all Earthlings Those images from outer space provided us with new perspectives on how our earthbound struggles amazingly invisible from so far away continue to challenge and divide us Though we have managed to advance from hunter gatherer cave dwellers to be able to take pictures of ourselves from the moon certainly a glorious and amazing evolution of knowledge and accomplishment we now find ourselves at the great crossroads of yet another millennium one in which an intense and on going debate rages about our relationship to our home planet Earth Today when our astronauts gaze at our planet from space it is bluer and less white than it was when we first looked at it from the moon Ice sheets are melting exposing the brown earth and the blue ocean is lapping up greater expanses of low lying areas There are also many more lights at night and we are told if we continue to use energy at our current rate of increase the earth could look like a dramatically re painted planet by the end of this century the frozen white will recede and the earth will look noticeably darker as light absorbing blue green and brown regions replace reflective white The idea that our actions could be repainting the planet in a way that is noticeable from space is a frightening thought But in spite of the rhetoric and anxiety this idea inspires we have not been able to really agree upon answers to the important questions that naturally arise Is this warming ultimately good or bad for our planet and its



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