In the theater, performers cause the audience to become so immersed in the fiction they portray that the audience suspends its disbelief, however briefly. This is important in coming to grips with a critical constituent of climate change — the illusion of abundance. This is not the first tragedy wherein some hapless person lives with the illusion that everything is fine only to be suddenly crushed.

The world was long been dominated by Asian kingdoms in matters of art, science, medicine, literature, governance and civic virtue when, suddenly, a dirty, ignorant little backwater of the globe, now the Western World, spurted to power, conquest and global dominance. How possible? By the exploitation of a single, filthy four-letter word — COAL! This lethal energy source created the first suspension of disbelief concerning the subsequent, relentless exploitation of nature by humans. It created the illusion of abundance so powerful that millions wrongly thought that convenience, comfort and imagined security were permanent facets of the play.

This unfortunate illusion is now revealed as the concealing curtain is ripped back by the science and the utter falsity of the illusion is exposed. This vast abundance, so recently conjured, is pure illusion based on the human folly of believing that the resources of the Earth are inexhaustible. More ominously, coal (and its toxic siblings) also gave rise to Carbon Capitalism and its hand-maiden Consumerism, which have inflated the illusory soap-bubble of abundance to its present destructive level.

This illusion of abundance not only comes at a price of global ravishment of the climate, it also costs billions of humans the quality of their lives, an irony which is even now seeping under the costly windowsills of those who profit the most from their climate calumny. Maintaining this illusion now takes the form of inflating that soap-bubble to ever-increasing volumes by the sheer power of carbon fuels and the greed which propels the effort. But those very fuels are inexorably destroying our only habitat.

This bubble is about to explode under the unyielding laws of physics as we continue to ignore the warning signs now all around us. Tragically, this is reality and there is no chariot from a Sun God speeding to our rescue. Gandalf is not rising from the dead to our rescue. We are alone in this. We must act.

Ron Zimmerman,


(9) comments


Ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa!


One paragraph in and I could smell the stench of Comrade Zimm's drivel. So to save me time and my sanity I stopped reading and scrolled to the bottom....alas there was his name. Oh Ron, find another hobby.


Russ and johndoe remain in character with nothing but demeaning comments and not one shred of research-backed commentary or proposed solutions to the now lethal problem of global warming.

che guevara

Ron ; I have to say that two sentences into the editorial I knew that it was from you , as everyone has their own style of writing . That said , it is always refreshing to see some significant degree of common sense in these pages . While I too agree that coal and fossil fuels are unsustainable and destined to run their course , other options such as nuclear are equally , if not more dangerous and unpredictable , as evidenced by such notorious examples as Chernobyl , Three Mile Island and Fukushima . The mining and burning of coal however is what enabled the Industrial Revolution to have taken place . The Industrial Revolution drastically increased human lifespans and alleviated many aspects of human suffering by way of abundant factory - made clothing , footwear , tools and medicines , along with the ability to mechanize farming thus dramatically increasing food production and providing a much more abundant food supply . On the down - side , it was the death knell of imagination , the opening act of industrial drudgery and monotony coupled with the concept of a long work day , the lid to Pandora's Box as regards mankind's ability and propensity to pollute and destroy the ecology of the planet , mankind's ability to sustain modern and prolonged wars ( resulting in two catastrophic world wars shortly thereafter ) .... and the doubling of the global population within a 70 year period between 1845 - 1915 ! Prior to this , it took from the earliest recorded human history at about 6000 BC until about 1845 AD for the global population to reach the 1 Billion mark . Between 1845 and 1915 the global population doubled to some 2 Billions , and by 2015 we reached the 7,5 Billions mark . None of this would have ever been possible minus the Industrial Revolution and the utilization of coal . At this stage in the game we are poised to reach the 10 Billions mark by mid - century , 2950 , and 12.5 Billions by the end of the century -- should we survive that long .

So you see , the devil is in the details , as minus the coal - based Industrial Revolution an octogenarian such as you ( or my parents ) would most likely not have enjoyed such a degree of longevity , nor have ever enjoyed the quality of life afforded by such luxuries as indoor heating , air conditioning , refrigeration , plentiful food and clothing , and indoor plumbing , not to mention the advances in medical technologies which have further enabled longevity and the never - before - imagined concept of a comfortable and healthy retirement .

In my opinion this goes far beyond the parameters of an industrial , environmental and economic problem , but rather is squarely a people problem , as there are far too many people on the planet . Everything else , from revolutions and wars to economic and environmental woes are simply the symptoms of the overpopulation apocalypse headed straight at mankind . I personally do not believe that mankind's collective consciousness is yet ready to accept the dramatic scaling - down that will be required if there is any remote chance whatsoever of turning this whole collision course around . This is exacerbated by the emergence of nations such as China and India who are going for broke to attain the so - called American lifestyle as the ship of planet Earth continues to sink and wallow in it's own energy - generated effluvia . Wars and more wars are the only surefire result of this maelstrom of mankind . It may well require the complete and utter breakdown / destruction of the modern world , and the subsequent collapse into yet a new stone age before the problems can be rectified . ( This cycle has already happened on Earth before , and we are simply living through another such cycle - albeit on the downside of this cycle ) .

Here , Ron , is a bit of interesting information regarding the origin of the word " Coal " ; this word is derived from the Arabic word " al - Kuhl " , signifying a dark and malevolent spirit , and is the origin of the English word " Ghoul " . Interestingly enough , al - Kuhl is also the origin of the word " Alcohol " in English , as consuming too much al - Kulh / Alcohol brings out the dark side of the human character - it has the potential to summon the demon within most people . This is also why liquor is often referred to as being " Spirits " -- Dark Spirits / Ghoul / al - Kuhl . In ancient times one of the substances used by women as facial makeup was a dark substance mined from the Earth that made dark streaks and lines on their faces which was given the term " Kuhl " due to the darkness , hence we derived the English word of " Coal ". Variations of this word are found in the German Kohl / Kuhl . So you see Ron , the devil / dark spirits are indeed in the details as applies to coal and it's usage and the consequences thereof . This reference to Kuhl / Coal appears in the Bible when after being cast violently to Earth , Satan immediately dressed his face with makeup , that must have included the dark Kuhl / Coal in an attempt to appear beautiful ( something for the ladies to consider before applying such poisons to their faces ) . It is also believed that the distillation of al - Kuhl / Alcohol in order to produce the more potent distilled liquors such as whiskey was first practiced by Kabalistic Jews in ancient Babylon as a way to stupefy gentiles and snatch their souls by way of this sorcery . I personally believe that technology is the new sorcery of the stupefied populaces , with al - Kuhl / Coal / Alcohol now in second place .


Lol what a long winded bunch of horse pucky


Thanks Che for an interesting and informed comment. I agree that the fundamental problem is one of overpopulation. If there were only one million of us we could not inflict any appreciable damage on the planet except for local areas. I agree that fossil fuels were the energizer bunny which pulled us out of the dark ages and presented us with the opportunity to then convert to green fuels and atomic energy as we progressed. We have, however, been under the CAUTION!, and then WARNING!, flags from science for at least 130 years and have done nothing effective to begin that conversion project. This is indeed curious because that conversion would not only save the planet as our habitat, it would provide for a very large number of well paid permanent jobs and bring down the cost of electricity. Instead, we are pouring over $5 trillions per year into subsidies for the very energy sources that are destroying us?

The great leap forward you speak about, for Americans, occurred mostly during the period 1870-1970(growth and productivity both peaked about 1970 and are now on a permanent downward spiral) which entailed massive changes in the quality of living available in America. One of the prices we paid was in the sickness and death rates brought about by the increasing use of fossil fuels, especially coal. I became a convert to nuclear power simply be comparing the sickness, disabilities and early deaths from fossil fuel uses to those of nuclear. It works out to 42 direct deaths and some later deaths from cancer(although they never exceeded the one percent average for the general population)which entail several hundred more for nuclear. Last year, 9,000,000 people died from smoke inhalation, alone, many from the increased fires brought about by global warming. Presently, hundreds of thousand die annually from global warming effects, and that number is rising rapidly.

New reactors are not my dad's power plants(he was an electrician who helped build the fusion plant in Paducah, KY[1951-52]). They are now safer, more reliable and are no longer plagued with the waste problem. I continue to support the immediate banning of coal and the banning of oil and methane within ten years while we must begin laying down the foundation for one nuclear power plant per week until a sufficiency is reached. I am not holding my breath.

che guevara

Russ ; Predictably ,the ignorant man opens his mouth and closes his mind . You never disappoint ol' chum . The " bunch of long winded horse pucky " , as you so eloquently put it , was directed towards Ron as he is one of the few remaining souls on this forum who appreciates knowledge and an expanded spectrum of understanding on just about any subject . Such is the hallmark of an intelligent being , whereas on the other hand insults and adolescent barbs indicate the complete and utter lack of respect and a seriously stunted intellect . I get it Russ . We must all dwell within the confines of our respective little universes . Oddly enough , I can actually envy a fellow such as you , in an obtuse sort of way , as your little universe must be devoid of very much beyond the temporal things / illusions of this Earth , thus resulting in little to no consternation with very few things . Ignorance must truly be bliss . Que NO ?

As a final thought , Russ ; nothing learned is ever wasted or without value, even if it never puts a nickel in your pocket or makes you popular with the fellas . Saber es Vencer -- To know is to overcome . On a multitude of occasions you have proclaimed your piety as a Christian, therefore , the verse from your good book , The Bible , which states ; " God's people perish for lack of knowledge " , ought to strike a cord with you and inspire you to expand your mind by way of welcoming knowledge . Allow your mind to open Russ ( despite yourself ) , as I certainly do not wish to see you perish , as this forlorn world would somehow then becomes a less interesting / amusing place to dwell .


We human beings acquire our conclusions of fact mostly by associative learning. Sure, some of our learning comes from personal experience but most accrues to us from parents, teachers and group learning. An object in the room(let us say a soccer ball) bounces a few of the photons which strike it, directly into our eyes, where signals are sent through the optic nerve to the brain along with about 400,000,000,000 other bits of info per second. Our brains are really fast, but not that fast. To begin with, then, our brains must decide, on the fly, which inputs are to be created as impressions and which are discarded. Depending on the frequency and recency of soccer ball observations, our brains guess what is being perceived and create a fairly accurate impression. Every single brain is different and every single perception is therefore different. This causes no end of mischief.

Every object has physical properties which reside in nature regardless of human presence. The soccer ball has mass and volume which are measurable and knowable attributes. It also seems to have something we call colour. This is interesting because there is really no such thing as colour in nature. What we call colour is nothing more than the wave lengths emanating from various parts of the electromagnetic spectrum which create different impressions of "colour", depending upon the brain's rods and cones ratio. Hunting gear is orange because deer cannot see orange. We see, unaided, only that part of the EM spectrum in the wave lengths between infra red and ultra violet. In this matter, there is a huge difference in what we call colours from brain to brain, as well as what we call truth from brain to brain.

If we combine these variances with constantly re-enforced errors of fact from untrained minds to other untrained minds, we can easily observe massive departures from fact in both individuals and groups. The bridge which animates transition from erroneous to factual information is called education(especially in science and math)at least for most minds. Many are, however, so damaged by injury, disease or erroneous re-enforcements that even generous amounts of education fails to correct the deficiencies. The result is that many people live perpetually under a dome of ignorance, beyond their control. We thus have climate denial, creation "science" and beliefs that: vaccinations cause autism, bats are blind, bananas grow on trees, poverty results from indolence, MSG is bad for you, scientific theories are guesses, supernatural entities are real, and conspiracy theories, all of which are not amenable to correction regardless of the level of proof on tap. While trained minds(especially those trained in science and math)stand ever ready to modify conclusions of fact based upon new information, those mired in absolutism cannot do so and remain forever ignorant of many important truths.

Mostly, such ignorance is a source of entertainment and humour, as Che observes, but too often it crosses the line into some very dangerous territories such as climate denial and racial superiority. Massive spikes in measles are now being incurred because ignorant parents have refused to have their children vaccinated.


And let's not forget our first attempt at green energy when on September 30, 1882, the world's first hydroelectric power plant began operation on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin.

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