Infinity's Rainbow: The Politics of Energy, Climate, and Globalization

Infinity's Rainbow: The Politics of Energy, Climate, and Globalization

Infinity's Rainbow: The Politics of Energy, Climate, and Globalization

Infinity's Rainbow: The Politics of Energy, Climate, and Globalization

Synopsis

Exploring the links between politics, climate, energy, ecology and economics, the author shows the causes and consequences of our actions and values, and informs readers what they can do to ensure their well being and the future survival of human civilization. Figures, charts and tables and literary highlights help convey the message.

Excerpt

It has often been said that, if the human species fails to make a
go of it here on the earth, some other species will take over the
running. in the sense of developing intelligence this is not cor
rect. We have or soon will have, exhausted the necessary phys
ical prerequisites so far as this planet is concerned. With coal
gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone, no species how
ever competent can make the long climb from primitive condi
tions to high-level technology. This is a one-shot affair. If we
fail, this planetary system fails so far as intelligence is con
cerned. the same will be true of other planetary systems. On
each of them there will be one chance and one chance only.
— Fred Hoyle

We live at the decisive moment in all of human history — decisive not only for one culture or another, not only for the “developed world,” but for all of humanity.

In a vivid metaphoric sense, civilization is now in a condition analogous to that of the astronauts on the space shuttle Columbia as it reentered Earth’s atmosphere on the morning of February 1, 2003. An eerie videotape of those last moments was found amid Columbia’s debris afterwards. Onboard Columbia, the lights are on, the air is circulating, and all seems well.

The four astronauts, seen on the flight deck of shuttle, marvel together at the sight of the white-hot plasma flowing outside around them. They are unaware that this plasma is patiently eating away at the damaged left wing of their spaceship. There is only one hint of the slowly unfolding catastrophe: the ship’s guidance thruster begins firing ever more frequently and thunderously, as the computers that are actually flying the vehicle sense the asymmetric drag caused by the eroding left wing and vainly try to compensate for it.

1. Hoyle, Fred, Of Men and Galaxies. University of Washington Press, Seattle, wa, 1964, pp. 73.

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