Last Hours of Humanity: Warming the World to Extinction

If you were standing outdoors looking at the distant and reddening sky 250 million years ago as the Permian Mass Extinction was beginning, unless you were in the region that is known as Siberia you would have no idea that a tipping point had just been passed and soon 95% of all life on earth would be dead.

It's almost impossible to identify tipping points, except in retrospect.

For example, we have almost certainly already past the tipping point to an ice-free Arctic. And we are just now realizing it, even though that tipping point was probably passed a decade or more ago.

This is critically important because in the history of our planet there have been five times when more than half of all life on Earth died. They're referred to as "mass extinctions."

One – the one that killed the dinosaurs – was initiated by a meteorite striking the Earth.

The rest all appear to have been initiated by tectonic and volcanic activity.

In each case, however, what happened was that massive amounts of carbon-containing greenhouse gases – principally carbon dioxide, were released from beneath the Earth's crust and up into the atmosphere.

This provoked global warming intense enough to melt billions of tons of frozen methane on the oceans floors. That pulse of methane - an intense greenhouse gas - then brought the extinction to its full of intensity.

While in the past it took continental movement or an asteroid to break up the crust of the earth enough to release ancient stores of carbon into the atmosphere, we humans have been doing this very aggressively for the past 150 years by drilling and mining fossil fuels.

So the question:

Will several centuries of burning fossil fuels release enough carbon into the atmosphere to mimic the effects of past volcanic and asteroid activity and provoke a mass extinction?

Geologists who study mass extinctions are becoming concerned. As more and more research is coming out about the massive stores of methane in the Arctic and around continental shelves, climate scientists are beginning to take notice, too.

The fossil fuel companies are sitting on roughly 2 trillion tons of underground carbon. That, in and of itself, is enough to warm the earth by 5 or 6°C, and is an amount of carbon consistent with tipping points during past mass extinctions. There are an additional estimated 2 trillion tons of methane stored in the Arctic and probably 2 to 5 times that much around continental shelves all around the Earth.

If our burning fossil fuels warms the oceans enough that that methane melts and is quickly released into the atmosphere, the Earth will be in its sixth mass extinction. And make no mistake about it, the animals and plants that are most heavily hit by mass extinctions are those that are largest and at the top of the food chain.

That means us.

We must stop the carbon madness and move, worldwide, to renewable 21st century energy sources.

This is why we’ve produced a short documentary on this topic, and a short e-book title “The Last Hours of Humanity: Warming the World to Extinction” that you can find at

Please check it out and share it with as many friends as possible.

The future of humanity is at stake.


DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

Thom ~ Well said! Thanks for that link. Most of us don't understand what fragile of a balance that our climate and environment is maintained by. That ignorance fosters dangerous apathy. Thanks for offering to educate the masses. Education is our only hope.

steffb503's picture
steffb503 10 years 36 weeks ago

Just watched the video.(all solar powered here!)

Thumbs up to you!! Very simple explanation, easy for everyone to understand.

Shared with all my friends.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 36 weeks ago

Am I right remembering that, biblically, the end of the earth is to come by fire somehow due to humanity's greed?

Kend's picture
Kend 10 years 36 weeks ago

Click on the link above it is the great George Carlin talking about the earth. Please note there is some swearing. Keep in mind this was about 15 years ago. Goes well with the UN's new report that just came out saying the earth hasn't been warming over the last 15 years. The fact is the Artic ice has increased in size by 925,000 sq/km. It doesn't suprise me that environmentalists are scrambling to keep the myth alive. Just think of the billions if not trillions that where spent on this. How many starving people it would feed. How many sick people we could have healed. How many students could have received scholarships. I am sure the beat will still go on and on though. They will keep beating that dead horse. The US will raise the debt ceiling again and again to buy more solar panels and wind powered generates so everyone can feel good about it though. Like George says the earth is way bigger than us.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

Mark Saulys ~ In the New Testament Book of Revelations I believe the Bible tells of four horsemen, seven seals, and seven vials of God's wrath. There are asteroid collisions, plagues, the sun burning people, carnivorous birds attacking people, and vast poisoning of the waters, rivers, and seas. Although I don't think fire is completely to blame in the New Testament, it does play a role.

However, in the Old Testiment Book of Genesis, in the story of Noah, when God placed the rainbow in the heavens, it was promised that he would never again destroy the Earth by water and the next and final time it would be done by fire. It would appear to be conflicting stories; unless, you realize that what is happening now as depicted in the Book of Revelations is not the end of the world; but rather, a world transition preceding the millennial period of a thousand years of world peace.

If you look at it that way--that is from a Biblical perspective--the world may very well someday be destroyed by fire; but, that day is still very, very, far away. The reason for allowing it to happen is probably a reflection of the reasons it was done in the flood. Greed is likely a good guess. Violence and hatred is probably the other reason. God is love; and, anything that undermines love, undermines God.

michaelmoore052's picture
michaelmoore052 10 years 36 weeks ago

2008 article but some more recent ones online

Google: concrete carbon dioxide CO2

This is good (maybe too late) but there's a new type of concrete that instead of generating CO2, uses it. So, in the future, housing, infrastructure & etc. could benefit from this type of CO2 Sequestration. Employment too...

j.jonik 10 years 36 weeks ago

Can someone compare how much Carbon Dioxide was released from ancient extinction-causing Volcanos how much Carbon Dioxide is, and has been, released by fossil fuel industries?

That is....Modern Fossil Fuel emissions are equivalent to how many volcanos?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

Kend ~ I love that George Carlin skit. So true. However, I think you missed the main point. "The Earth isn't going anywhere, we are!" You would think that as an "intelligent" species we should be able to master how to interact and adapt to our environment. After all, don't we aspire someday to travel to other planets that may not be so hospitable? Therefore, if we ever hope to do that successfully, or to successfully maintain our existence on this planet, we need to understand how the planet works and how to interact with it. Is that so much to ask. Afterall, every other mutation--including one cell organisms--that have survived for any length of time on Earth have learned to adapt. Learning to adapt to their environment is any species number one priority. A one-celled organism doesn't have any intellect at all to rely on yet adapts quite well. Of all life that has ever existed on this planet--that we know of--we are the most intelligent of all. If an amoeba can manage to survive for any length of time, why can't we manage to survive indefinitely?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

California has recently signed into law a bill that legalizes the industrial use of Hemp. The implementation of this law is pending Federal approval. This is a huge step forward in resolving our CO2 problems. If we completely banned the use of fossil fuels and substituted Hemp oil for fuel we could not only stop polluting the air; but, we could begin cleaning it. Cleaning the air is the only real solution to bring the atmosphere back from the tipping point the scientists in Thom's video are talking about. Merely slowing down the release of CO2 will only delay not prevent the tip. We must act quickly because time is running out.

hawkDU's picture
hawkDU 10 years 36 weeks ago

Thom, you and crew have done a real service for humanity. Thank you! I posted a link to my FB immediately along with plea to friends to watch and download. I began studying up on this since first I heard of it. When mainstream media mentions climate it is usually about sea level rise in a hundred years or so. The methane problem and ocean acidification are more worrying. Last night, seemingly by coincidence, there were two related docus on different channels: Earth, Making of a Planet and Attenborough's First Life (both excellent). I thought again while watching what a gift we have here - one we're trashing. 13.8 billion years of cosmic evolution in the making and we're ready to throw it all away for what - forty years of techno-consumer partying? BMWs? Sports? War? Plasma TVs? Stainless steel fridges? The propaganda of powerful fossil fuel interests, their shills in Congress and media must be marginalized. It's a tragedy that our political systems worldwide have produced the current crop of mostly corrupt, insane and just plain stupid leaders - at a time when we need some real thinkers with broad world views.

biggob's picture
biggob 10 years 36 weeks ago

Thanks Thom for sharing important info.! My wife and I recycle everything we can, and people would find it easy if they tried, plus we drive a 60mpg hybrid car. (Can't remember last fill-up!)

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago
Quote j.jonik:Can someone compare how much Carbon Dioxide was released from ancient extinction-causing Volcanos how much Carbon Dioxide is, and has been, released by fossil fuel industries?

That is....Modern Fossil Fuel emissions are equivalent to how many volcanos?

j.jonik ~ A very good question. This is the answer I found:

Published reviews of the scientific literature byMoerner and Etiope (2002) and Kerrick (2001)

Quote Article: Do Volcanos Emit More CO2 Than Humans?:Published reviews of the scientific literature byMoerner and Etiope (2002) and Kerrick (2001) report a minimum-maximum range of emission of 65 to 319 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Counter claims that volcanoes, especially submarine volcanoes, produce vastly greater amounts of CO2 than these estimates are not supported by any papers published by the scientists who study the subject.

The burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use results in the emission into theatmosphere of approximately 30 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year worldwide, according to the EIA.

The conclusion brought by the study said.

Quote Article: Do Volcanos Emit More CO2 Than Humans?: The fossil fuels emissions numbers are about 100 times bigger than even the maximum estimated volcanic CO2 fluxes. Our understanding of volcanic discharges would have to be shown to be very mistaken before volcanic CO2 discharges could be considered anything but a bit player in contributing to the recent changes observed in the concentration of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere.

This fact is also collaborated by the USGS (U. S. Geological Survey) site as well.

USGS ~ Government Site

Quote Article: Volcanic Gas and Climate Change Overview:Do the Earth’s volcanoes emit more CO2 than human activities? Research findings indicate that the answer to this frequently asked question is a clear and unequivocal, “No.” Human activities, responsible for a projected 35 billion metric tons (gigatons) of CO2 emissions in 2010 (Friedlingstein et al., 2010), release an amount of CO2 that dwarfs the annual CO2 emissions of all the world’s degassing subaerial and submarine volcanoes (Gerlach, 2011).

Conclusion ~ Every year humans release on average 100 times the maximum amount of volcanic produced CO2 into the atmosphere. Between 2001 and 2010 the amount of CO2 released has climbed from 30 billion metric tons (gigatons) to 35 billion metric tons (gigatons) and is still climbing. We have a serious problem.

N Z Sarah's picture
N Z Sarah 10 years 36 weeks ago

Yes hemp and reforestation are some of the solutions to many of our problems. The same groups who run our world on fossil fuels are instituting the geoengineering programs and controlling the farming practices such as aluminum resistant seeds. Please, Google Scientific America geoengineering. Proposals are to use these patented programs to control climate change. Claims are that little experimentation has been done. 20% less sunshine already is no small experiment! The power of these programs is that they CAN cause climate change. We have just had four more days of aerosol spraying from aircraft here in our part of New Zealand resulting in white out skies. Our rain water tests show aluminum, barium and strontium. This is the experiment all around the world, DELIBERATE POLLUTION and they want to do much more. How much more alzhiemers, asthma, and cancer do you want? WHY IN THE WORLD ARE THEY SPRAYING is an award winning documentary worth every minute of your time to watch. Free on you tube.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago
Quote N Z Sarah:Please, Google Scientific America geoengineering. Proposals are to use these patented programs to control climate change. Claims are that little experimentation has been done. 20% less sunshine already is no small experiment!

N Z Sarah ~ Thank you so much for that reference. I've heard of "chemtrails" but never heard a logical explanation before. That does explain the whole thing. Living in a big city I don't really notice the difference. However, I've heard a lot of theories and explanations for "chemtrails" but was skeptical they were true till now. What a ridiculous idea. It's the type of strategy I would expect from Wile E Coyote against the Road Runner. These fossil fuel jockeys will try anything to keep pushing their agenda. I wonder if they have calculated how much it would cost to sustain such a world wide effect; and, exactly who they expect will pay for it?

This whole approach falls in line with other solutions the petroleum industry comes up with--especially in the petro pharmaceutical branch. It is so like the TV commercial that announces a cure for acne. Side effects include sudden heart failure, suicidal thoughts, possibility of stroke, pancreatic cancer, kidney failure, blindness, and sudden death syndrome. If you start to lose consciousness or experience any of these symptoms you should call your Doctor and discontinue treatment immediately.

You can bet the side effects for geoengineering will be far worse than the problem if the petroleum industry is behind it.

crestview2 10 years 36 weeks ago


According to the 2006 United Nations report "Livestock's Long Shadow", the daily global warming impact of the methane and nitrous oxides emitted from meat and dairy production worldwide is greater than the CO2 impact from all the cars and truck tailpipes on the planet (at about 18%).

If we humans are to get totally serious about global warming, not to mention physical health, we need to adopt a "whole foods, plant-based diet", and the sooner the better!

Please read Dr. T. Colin Campbell's latest book "Whole", available at Amazon: and mention these facts in the part 2 sequel to your video.

It is an amazing, scientifically based sequel to his best-selling book "The China Study".

Inconvenient truths, yes, but oh so important to humans and to the planet.


Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 36 weeks ago

Well said, "hawkDU"! Thanks for the post.

hawkDU's picture
hawkDU 10 years 36 weeks ago

Thanks Alice and BTW - highly recommend those documentaries mentioned. I'd seen them before but it was a perfect background for waking up and finding Thom's new production.

douglas m 10 years 36 weeks ago

Knowledge will never be wisdom

Your reference for fire coming down on the earth is rev. 8-7

Round 6! Man versus god. Humbleness and humility.

SteveS's picture
SteveS 10 years 36 weeks ago

We may be headed for mass extinction, but I'm not going down without a fight. On Sunday, is holding a civil disobedience training session in Madison, training for the eventuality that Obama approves the KXL pipeline.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

douglas m ~ Thanks for the humbling and provocative message. You are quite right. I forgot about that one.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 36 weeks ago

Kend - you are a myth. You are making yourself completely irrelevant. You gotta mix a little truth with the lies or it's so outlandish NOBODY believes you.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 36 weeks ago

dan -- Doesn't the burngin of hemp release CO2?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago
Quote chuckle8:dan -- Doesn't the burngin of hemp release CO2?

chuckle8 ~ Good question! Yes it does. However, during the growth cycle of a plant CO2 is removed from the air and replaced by free oxygen. Burning Hemp balances the carbon cycle.

However, the beauty of Hemp is that if it were also used for all the other industrial purposes that it is useful for, it's growth would remove far more CO2 from the air and replace it with Oxygen then burning will produce CO2. Using Hemp to its full industrial capacity actually cleans the air and doesn't interfere with our lifestyle. Living plants are the only source of solar energy capable of reversing global warming.

Hemp is just a natural source of solar energy that runs on CO2 and produces Oxygen as a waste product.

The millions of new jobs, domestic revenue and taxes such an industrial shift would create are just other positive byproducts of Hemp.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

Apropos to #25 ~ California isn't the only state that has legalized Hemp for industrial purposes. Right now the Federal Government is the only obstacle to enacting this vital solution to our Global warming problem. I would strongly recommend everyone to write their Congressmen insisting that they prioritize the establishment of legislation that recognizes these efforts of the States and clears the legal way for state production of this vital national; and, indeed, international, natural resource.

The sooner the better. Time is a luxury we do not have.

Quote Vote Hemp Website:Ten states (California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon,Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia) have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 10 years 36 weeks ago

SteveS: The Kochs will get their way on the pipeline. The govt. hostage taking was months in the planning by the Kochs and it's about the pipeline. Billionaires like the Kochs when obsessed with a new toy like the pipeline will stop at nothing to get it. It's not about money, it's about mental illness. Bottom line is..... the Keystone XL Pipeline in exchange for raising the debt ceiling is a very real possibility. I figure Boehner has been getting a very large sum of Koch money deposited into an offshore bank account for each day he keeps the govt. shut down. The more days, the more the bank account grows.

The Last Hours was a great video.....short and right to the point and relevant to the absolute necessity of stopping the Kochs and their goddamn pipeline.

rs allen 10 years 36 weeks ago

Nothing like a noble cause.

Personally I think the tipping point has aready been past. Abeit from a definitifly nonscientific lay person. Consider this though, I've been listening to this end of times stuff for going on 30 years. Has anyone beyond a few heard or listened? 30 years of warnings, sirens and screams. Still no one takes it seriously unless a few homes get swamped in a harricane or some camera captures a polar bear near drowning looking for an ice patch. Oh now it's a problem.

Well guess what people, theres no place left to throw your garbage out without said garbage coming back to bite you in the ass. Weather it's the food you eat, the water you drink or the air you breath. It's your own garbage now no matter how you cut it. It's no else's fault.

Why do I feel the tipping point is long gone? Think of the oceans as one large heat sink. How soon do you think we as a species can reverse a sink as large as 90% (?) of the earth? Even as I try muddle my way through this missive the oceans are absorbing what heat man has wroth (read trapped) in the last 24 hours. Even if we were to completely stop now all contribution to the gobal carbon and methane cloud the oceans would still take decades and centuries to even things out again.

I'm rather like G. Carlin, god bless him, I think the earth will be far better off without man, we've done nothing but laid waste to any and everything we can get our hands on.

Craig Bush's picture
Craig Bush 10 years 36 weeks ago

We grew up with duck and hold drills in school if nuclear war broke out. A fallout shelter in the basement. We were afraid, numb and felt helpless. We woke up with the help of environmental literature about poison sprays, killer smogs and dying oceans. In Ann Arbor in the 70's we buried a car on campus. We knew then that if we didn't bury these petrol-chemical burning cars they will bury us. 40 years later and we are still talking? We knew then and no one listened. Who will listen now?

We are trying in Santa Cruz. We defeated an energy guzzling desal water system. We are trying to develop new systems, aquifer recharge, tertiary, and agriculture conservation programs to conserve and develop water. I describe it in more

25% of our carbon footprint in CA is just for transporting water around. We can harness the green energy of our rivers to transport water and create fish habitat. We must embrace new 21st century water science technology and the green economy to curb global warming.

Thank you for "Last Hours". You have the "knack" for cheerful titles. I have a feeling that you and Louise already know as we do. It is over, Thom. It's All Over.. I guess what is left is keeping the faith alive that man can find the solution. thanks

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

If one looks closely at the graph on Thom's video the peak of Global Warming doesn't get reached till after the year 2100. That gives us 87 years to untip the tipping point. This isn't about us. This isn't about our children. This is about our children's children and their children. What we do now is going to determine if there is a future for that generation.

No, it is not over. It is not over till it is over. We cannot dismiss this challenge saying it is over. We have the knowledge, the time, and the resources to reverse this problem if we act now. It is our children's children that will not have that opportunity. If we fail to act, it is they who it will be over for.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

Apropos to #26 ~ Here is something simple and easy you can do to reverse global warming. So far California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia have enacted legislation to legalize Industrial Hemp cultivation and are waiting Federal approval.

Find the names of your congressman/woman, google those names to find their official government website, locate the access to their email, fill out the form with your information, then cut and paste this message into the message box inserting their name into the blank line:

Dear ______________,I am writing because I am concerned about Global Climate Change. I believe Industrial Hemp cultivation is an important solution to this problem because of its ability to remove CO2 from the air and replace it with Oxygen. Recently 10 States have adopted legislation to allow such cultivation. I strongly urge you to push for Federal approval and recognition of States that pass such laws so that the laws can be enacted. Thank you very much.

hawkDU's picture
hawkDU 10 years 36 weeks ago

For those wanting more information on the threat posed by disturbance of methane hydrates I highly recommend visiting ameg dot me (sorry had that wrong yesterday)

On this site there are a couple videos on the right side of the home page.
The first which features Prof. Peter Wadhams and Dr James Hansen runs 19:35
Arctic Methane: Why The Sea Ice Matters

The second, a lecture by Scripps scientist Dr Miriam Kastner is 53:05
Methane Hydrates: Hazard or Resource
If you don't want to watch the whole 53 minutes, please at least, start about 19:00 in (and give it about 5 minutes) - when she talks about fishermen snaring a large chunk in their nets. The footage of a submersible's robot arm grasping a chunk of methane hydrate and what happens to it - makes quite an impression!

here are a couple more stories which appeared today ( Oct 9)
re: obvious evidence of melting permafrost
Around The Arctic, Frozen Earth Is Thawing And Creating ‘Drunken Forests’

re: time frame - newly released study suggests we could be in for a sudden flip
PETM Shocker: When CO2 Levels Doubled 55 Million Years Ago, Earth May Have Warmed 9°F In 13 Years

bobbler's picture
bobbler 10 years 36 weeks ago

A commrent to the climate change deniers.., 98-Percent of the worlds scientists agree climate change is happening, and it is man made (%97.xx, rounded up).. This was something like 31,000 scientists and 12,000 papers.. You might as well argue against evolution, and that the earth is flat (same thing)..

Unbelievable anyone could really think this many scientists (with such a strong consensus) could all be wrong.. And considering how it went historically going against scientists (galileo, tycho Brae, Copernicus, etc).

Getting real, if there were only a slim chance that climate change might cost trillions of dollars, because of increased storm strength, then it should call for action.. Even after all this time, and the dire warnings of climate change, extremely little has changes.. My job for example, is 100-percent from my PC at work, and could easily be done from home (ATT). But me and probably thousands like me have to drive to work every day..

There is a chance a tipping point could end all life on earth.. Even our best scientists do not understand the limits of our biosphere to regulate warming and cooling as it has thru hiustory.. If we break it past a certain point, the earth could resemble venus in a hundred years (a 900-degree ocean of sulpheric acid)..

Pretty obvious it is irresponsible top play russian roulette when the human race hangs in the balance.. And the problem is that all our political machinery is set up on profit for the untra wealthy, and they would rather take the risk for the human race, than risk losing profit.

Bob Hearns's picture
Bob Hearns 10 years 36 weeks ago

One of my long time friends told me, just this week, that when I was ranting about this more than 25 years ago, she just wished I would shut up, because there was nothing wrong and she didn't want to hear it. She was sure all my other friends thought the same and now she said 'Look at the mess we're in. You were right.' Well, I've moved on from there. Climate change isn't a problem. Neither are the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Congo, the the US sequestration, the shut down of US government offices, the prorogation of the Canadian government, etc. These are not problems. These are symptoms. They are all symptoms of the same problem. Anyone who knows about problem solving knows that when you only solve a symptom of the problem, it keeps coming back in one form or another. When you solve a problem, all the symptoms disappear. Just as my friends didn't want to hear me rant about the environment all those years ago, you aren't going to want to hear me addressing what the problem is. Thom, you and everyone else, are trying to solve this as if it is a problem, in and of itself. It isn't. It's a symptom. There are now over 7 billion of us on a bus heading for a cliff. Unfortunately, it's not a bus I can get off of, none of us can. I welcome responses from anyone who is REALLY interested in solving the problem.

dialindicator's picture
dialindicator 10 years 36 weeks ago

Almost felt censored ,while trying to make the similar point yesterday my conection to this site seemed to have suddenly crashed. It started with an appeal to many of the participants to be little more fair to Kend for shareing his opinion where contrary judgement seems to abound. While it seems from my perspective, Kend's opinion remains more the rule than the exception in many circles. It is an opinion that denies cause and effect to others myself included. While the many Kends seem to be content with no action other than manifest destiny, consumerism and population growth. Most all climate change belivers seem content to do something real about it, but later.

Millions of pleasure boats in thousands of harbors, thousands of pleasure aircraft in hundreds of airports, tens of millions of pleasure horses in barns, thousands upon thousands of race cars and and atv's, consumer disposables by the the megaton. An economy whose survival depends on an ever expanding market for this and more.

Industrial hemp among other things may be able to have a positive environmental effect, a symptom buffer as you might put it. If and only if a massive change in human concisnous is possible and without a painful catastrophe as its catalyst.Then perhaps the problem itself could be solved... And now a word from your sponser, stay tuned!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 36 weeks ago

Bob, I really like your post. I agree, all those issues (including global warming) are symptoms rather than the actual disease. So what, in your view, is the problem underlying all this? From my own perspective, it all boils down to two things. Overpopulation is one of them. The other is spiritual.

Now, please don't misunderstand me. I am not a religious person; in fact, I'm probably as secular as anyone on the planet. But from my view (for what it's worth), spirituality is not about religion. It's about how we relate to each other, to our environment, to other life forms; it's a sense of connection with all that. And from that sense of connection comes love and respect. It is cancels out greed, xenophobia, misogyny, abuse of animals and the planet. It keeps us in touch with the things that matter most in life, that life depends on in order to thrive.

If time allowed, I could get much more into this; but I've gotta switch gears now, and get ready for work! - Aliceinwonderland

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago
Quote Bob Hearns: Climate change isn't a problem. Neither are the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Congo, the the US sequestration, the shut down of US government offices, the prorogation of the Canadian government, etc. These are not problems. These are symptoms. They are all symptoms of the same problem. Anyone who knows about problem solving knows that when you only solve a symptom of the problem, it keeps coming back in one form or another. When you solve a problem, all the symptoms disappear.

Bob Hearns ~ Very, very well said! I couldn't agree more. Greed is the problem. Banishing greed from the hearts of man is a fools errand. Our only hope--our only solution in my opinion--is to banish greed from the halls of Government; thus, freeing up Government to do it's main job--control the greed of the public. That is why I am a staunch advocate of vigorous Campaign Finance Reform. Once we effectively remove money and greed from our Government then all the problems you've listed, along with many, many more, will begin to fall over like a row of dominos.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

Campaign Finance Reform ~ A vigorous version might look something like this. Such a law must include stiff fines and prison sentences for anyone caught offering or receiving any public or private contribution, gift, or bribe of any kind. The fine should be no less than $1 million, and the prison sentence no less than 10 years. Lobbying would therefore be illegal. Elected politicians should be able to form public advisory committees with two representatives from commercial, legal, public, scientific, and environmental organizations to obtain balanced political advice; however, their conduct must adhere to Campaign Finance regulations concerning any bribery under the same aforementioned penalties. Special interests should be limited to one letter, phone call, or email the same as any private citizen. Contributions of any kind are illegal, and threats of any kind punishable with life in prison.

Campaigns must include only candidates that have been voted from a majority of voters in public elections throughout the nation--first from district, county, state, and then finally, federal elections. Candidates receive a grant composed of taxpayer funds and public and private general campaign contributions that make up the Campaign Finance fund; which, is then equally divided amongst the elected candidates. Air time and public debates are held equally for all candidates at all levels of the process. All air time and campaign expenses are paid for by the Campaign Finance Committee general fund and must be equally divided amongst the candidates, along with all fund paid commercial time. Any funds used for a campaign that are not accounted for amongst the public campaign fund subjects that candidate to immediate removal from the campaign, a fine of $1 million, and 10 years in prison. Personal funds are also illegal to use.

While in office, any elected official, family member, or affiliated organization, foreign or domestic financial accounts or assets, that receives any money or asset allocation or increase from a private interest without justifiable reason will have violated the Campaign Finance Regulations and be held accountable under the law. Each year all Candidates and Elected Officials will undergo a strict audit by the Campaign Finance Committee, the IRS, and the US Treasury, to ensure that the stipulations of the law have not been compromised. Anyone found guilty will be punished by losing their seat, their unlawful gains, a $1 million fine, and 10 years in prison. Those who are found guilty for aiding them will receive a $1 million fine, forfeit of the bribe, and 10 years in prison. Any politician, private citizen, or entity convicted of such a crime will never again be eligible for any public office. Anyone found guilty for attempting to frame a politician for such a crime will receive life in prison.

I think such a vigorous Campaign Finance Reform might just solve our problem.

Bob Hearns's picture
Bob Hearns 10 years 36 weeks ago

Thank you Aliceinwonderland and DAnneMarc for your responses. I question whether population is a part of the problem or just another symptom. The same with greed. Now the second thing that you talked about, Aliceinwonderland, needs further exploration and elaboration. Keeping in mind that the word is not the thing but merely, an attempt to describe the thing, 'spiritual' as you have described it may be very much what the problem is. If you haven't hit the nail on the head, you are pointing to it. The source of these symptoms is 'THOUGHT'. I do not want anyone to accept anything that I say. This topic requires a lot of inquiry, exploration, and investigation. Each of us must come to this truth on our own. For only then will each of us make the necessary personal transformation that will put an end to these symtoms. Let's keep this dialogue going.

MuddyBucket's picture
MuddyBucket 10 years 36 weeks ago

Population control---there are too many of us on this planet. Thom mentioned the civilized ways to control or decrease population--improved std of living, education and empowerment of women. Alas, there are really bad ways to decrease population, and they are far more likely. War. Or Disease. Or we may just die in our own filth. In winemaking, the microbes die off when the alcohol (toxic) reaches 12 to 14%. I would like to think that people are smarter than microbes and we will not die from the toxins we've created....

dialindicator's picture
dialindicator 10 years 36 weeks ago

I totally agree with your well said statement on banishing greed from the hearts of man. I also agree with the details of your campaign finance reform ideas. I believe they would go along way toward solving many of the greed associated problems we face within our government. I hope you can expand on how these changes would reel in our conditioned consumtive mind set, and how an economy based on that mind set might adapt and survive. It is my contention that the tentacles of our always consuming culture have reached into every corner of the world and are at the root of the problem, especially one of its most concerning symtoms, Climate Change. While I believe greed loves wreakless consumtive behaivior. I can't say I see the behaivior itself as greed?

hawkDU's picture
hawkDU 10 years 36 weeks ago

To Alice

Canadian author Ronald Wright (A Short History of Progress) notes that the original definition of the word 'sin' is 'missing-the-mark' (as in archery).

To me 'the mark' is pretty big - as in all around us, as in - we're living in it. Hard to miss. But our attention has been mesmerized away from it.

I was taking in some sun on the park bench the other day and a bee came along and buzzed among the clover. Efficient, economical, beautiful, fascinating.

Exercise: pick any earthly life form - bee, ant, whatever. Now imagine the Curiosity Rover on Mars finding one 'up there'. How precious it would seem. It is astonishing that we are even here.

The more science I study, the more spiritual I become. You could call me Jeffinwonderland.

johnbest's picture
johnbest 10 years 36 weeks ago

After the last extinctions on the planet I read that the Cockroaches were the only living thing left on the planet. I predict that the Kochroaches will be the only ones left on the planet when the next extinction occurs. A lot of good their blood money will do them then.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 10 years 36 weeks ago

The global One Percent is obviously using climate change to exterminate what it considers surplus population -- that is, people too numerous to be easily subjugated in corporate slave pens and/or otherwise exploited for maximum profit.

This genocidal intent -- equally obvious everywhere on the planet (whether in the USian war on lower-income people or in its austerity counterparts on the other continents) -- remains obscure only because we have been conditioned to believe in capitalism as benevolence and to assume the One Percent is rendered blind and stupid by its greed.

The hideous truth, of course, is that capitalism is the ultimate form of terminal cancer and its One Percent is the most brilliantly, purposefully evil aristocracy in all of human history.

Its evil was there for all to see in Nazi Germany, which was in fact the logical fulfillment of capitalist ideology. It was likewise obvious in Pinochet's Chile. But we are brainwashed into forgetfulness, even unto our inability to see how the One Percent (again) relies upon the ignorance and violence implicit in Abrahamic religion to ensure our powerlessness.

Thus the real question is whether the One Percenters are merely serving their own long-term interests: capitalism as infinite greed elevated to maximum virtue; capitalist governance as absolute power and limitless profit for themselves, total subjugation for all the rest of us.

Or are they (as some science fiction writers suggest and many alleged crazies fervently believe), deliberately trashing the planet to make it more readily inhabitable by some alien, probably insectoid species?

johnbest's picture
johnbest 10 years 36 weeks ago

Excellent statement. We must do something about gerrymandering. The other day I proposed on a blog that States should be required to have a slate of candidates from which to choose and the entire State would vote on the slate of candidates. The number of successful candidates would be selected based on population of the State. The top vote getters would be the number chosen. Some form of this would, I think, prevent gerrymandering.

hawkDU's picture
hawkDU 10 years 36 weeks ago

Yes johnbest. Cockroaches and Kochroaches AND - did you see Tim Flannery's review of Stung! at the NY Review of Books? - jellyfish.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

Bob Hearns ~ You are right. Greed and population aren't the major underlying issue. Culture is. Greed is the only aspect of the culture we can work with to affect change.

Our culture is in it's infant stages and has been corrupted in it's development by the commercial media and corporate greed. There is no such thing as an "American" culture. We have a "way of life." Two different things. It takes patients and generations to develop a real culture. It takes interaction with the environment and other real people to form a culture; not interaction with fantasy in an electronic box. You change culture you affect thought.

Like I said, that takes generations to develop. Culture is a complex recipe. You cannot develop a favorable, functional culture without the right ingredients and the time. We don't have the right ingredients or the time. All we can do is contribute to the society we have in the best way we have to help cultivate the best culture we can imagine for the future. With time and the right ingredients our culture will take care of itself.

In the meantime we can gather those ingredients by bringing about change from the top down and effecting the main contributing factor that is perverting culture and preventing progress. We can't effect change in people at large--like is observed with any rational and mature culture--by any known practical means. However, we do have the means to remove the biggest obstacle to cultural development from our system of governing. Obscene greed. It is greed that is the biggest obstacle for rational behavior and cultural development. It is greed that is spread like like a Cancer from the top down and distributed like an assembly line through the commercial media. Through greed we are taught that violence solves anything. That might makes right. That money buys happiness. That wealth buys salvation. That kindness is weakness. That intelligence is stupidity. That charity is waste. That fairness is failure. That winning is everything. That crime is success. That bribery is influence. That bad is good.

To affect change in our society and banish these destructive norms we must begin by legitimizing our system of government. You cannot blame the tail for something the head decides to do. Cutting the money strings in our government isn't really that hard to do. Our representatives are already answerable to We the People. Money has twisted this obligation into We the Investors. We have to remove this corrupt influence in order to even begin to affect meaningful change in our culture and society. The thoughts of citizens are dysfunctional because the way we are governed is dysfunctional. If the head decides to do the right thing the tail will follow.

Once we remove money from governmental decision making then we will have governance by popular demand. The needs of the many will take the place of the needs of the representative's puppet masters. This driving ethic will "trickle down" through policy into every nook and cranny of society, affecting every aspect of life. Change in thought, action, and especially culture will take generations to create; however, it will have begun.

The human mind and soul are the most elusive parts of the human being. You cannot affect direct change on such a complex creature. You can only facilitate the means and environment for that being to change themselves. The key to affecting the thoughts of the person is affecting their culture. Right now, the only thing we have control over changing is the level of greed in our government. Remove that Cancer from the head, and the body will heal itself.

bobcox's picture
bobcox 10 years 36 weeks ago

I have seen estimates of the CO2 levels and the average temperature is a graph that covered the last 250 Million years. During the Carboniferous age the CO2 was estimated to be 1500 PPM and the temperatures were not much above today's. Layers of coal were laid in many of the continents of the world and provide much of today's power, though inefficiently. The carbon and hydrocarbons came about because in periods of high CO2, the plant life is very dense and apparently nutritious since many dinosaurs began to be developed about then. CO2 is also stored in limestone. In some parts of the world limestone layers are up to 400 feet think. This CO#, now in the form or Calcium Carbonate, had to come from somewhere. Also CO2 is given off by volcanic action. Being heavier than both nitrogen and oxygen, massive bubbles of CO2 have been given off by volcanic lakes. this massive amount of CO2 flowed down the volcano slopes and suffocated sleeping villager below before being dissipated below poisonous level.

These occurrences have to be explained by scientist and geologists before the purported Global Warming Theory can be accepted. Unfortunately most of the "scientists" approving the Global Warming hypothesis are neither Geologists or Geo-archeologists or chemists. Much of the arguments follow the fallacy of "Old Adam".

Kend's picture
Kend 10 years 36 weeks ago

Mark, Maybe no one believes me but what if I am right. Thirty years ago everybody didn't believe we where going to freeze to death from global cooling went through exactly what I am going through. I just believe the science.

Besides isn't Carlin awsome?

Kend's picture
Kend 10 years 36 weeks ago

thanks Bobcox finally some science. All I ever hear is theory. I always enjoy reading your comments please keep them coming.

johnbest's picture
johnbest 10 years 36 weeks ago

While government employees are laid off, who is watching that the Koch Brothers aren't going ahead with the pipeline?

Mored's picture
Mored 10 years 36 weeks ago

I dont get to reply often and I have to confess I havent studied the science of potential global warming but I do remember the world wide scare when we were all going to burn to death because the ozone layer was eroding away. I also remember the global scare when we were informed of the mass of human suffering and death becase we soon couldnt feed the exploding population. I also remember the global scare of Y2K. Just saying we were scared into spending billions of dollars well before global warming...or should I say climate change.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Through compelling personal stories, Hartmann presents a dramatic and deeply disturbing picture of humans as a profoundly troubled species. Hope lies in his inspiring vision of our enormous unrealized potential and his description of the path to its realization."
David Korten, author of Agenda for a New Economy, The Great Turning, and When Corporations Rule the World
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Right through the worst of the Bush years and into the present, Thom Hartmann has been one of the very few voices constantly willing to tell the truth. Rank him up there with Jon Stewart, Bill Moyers, and Paul Krugman for having the sheer persistent courage of his convictions."
Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth
From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen