Time for Plan B

In an ABC New interview performed August 16, 2006, Professor Stephen Hawking said, “The danger is that global warming may become self-sustaining, if it has not done so already. The melting of the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps reduces the fraction of solar energy reflected back into space, and so increases the temperature further. Climate change may kill off the Amazon and other rain forests, and so eliminate once one of the main ways in which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere. The rise in sea temperature may trigger the release of large quantities of carbon dioxide, trapped as hydrides on the ocean floor. Both these phenomena would increase the greenhouse effect, and so global warming further. We have to reverse global warming urgently, if we still can.”

To sum up, it may be too late to save the planet.  This isn’t an excuse to ditch green behaviors.  I still do my best to drive less and not buy more than I can use.  I drive a fuel efficient vehicle.  In fact, I will even walk an extra 15 feet to throw something into a recycling bin instead of a garbage can.  In short, I’m a saint.  However, a perfectly green life requires sacrifices I’m just not willing to make.  I refuse to carry my own bags to the grocery store to avoid wasting plastics.  I refuse to turn my thermostat down to save a little energy.  I refuse to buy recycled products.  I refuse to turn my computer off at night even though I definitely do not need it when I’m asleep.

I have a lot in common with the average American, so I’m proposing an alternative.  Even if global warming is irreversible we can still save the planet.  A simple 60,000 megaton nuclear explosion should be sufficient to move the earth into a more pronounced elliptical orbit.  As we reach our orbit’s apogee, the sun’s gravity will weaken enough to allow us to slowly spiral away from the heat of our sun.  Each year, global warming’s effects will be canceled by the presence of less of the sun’s heat.  Of course, eventually we will lose all energy from the sun, but all good plans come with some downsides.

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