I posted this in the comments section of a science post about the current thinking that the only solution to climate change is climate engineering. I think that is a back idea. Not just because it encourages the fantasy of terraforming other planets and wild irrational space travel. But also because it's a wrong headed idea based on a premise that we don't have the technology to survive and thrive in any environment. It is only in our best interests to do so. My TEDTalks.com fueled diatribe follows.
Geo-engineering is a bad idea and a waste of resources that should be going to bio-engineering and habitat engineering research, development, and manufacturing. The threats to our existence on our planet are much farther ranging than climate change. Climate change is a natural process. Ice ages are where the glaciers that created the great lakes and that have recently melted away in places came from. We've got a swing by the gravitational force of the black hole at the center of our galaxy through direct alignment with our Sun. Which should be an interesting demonstration of just how powerful the magnetic and gravitational field of a black hole at that distance is when focused through the gravitational field as powerful as our Suns. We've got the possiblities of several disasters that are happen on a cyclical basis around that same time. The two super volcanoes. One right here in or I should say that is Yellowstone Park. The occasional reversal, polarity flipping, and 1000 year disappearances of the earths magnetic field that coincidently keeps the Sun from burning off our atmosphere. There is also the Atlantic shelf that should wipe the Americas clear of anything not bedrock if it shifts significantly. And that is not even mentioning the many unmonitored solar objects which could really ruin our day or the fact that the moon is slowly floating away and will have a massive effect on our climate.
My point is that if we are planning to survive beyond our infancy. Yes I say infancy because it is infantile to chase after the idea of money as a life goal. And yes I say idea because that is all money or any possession is. I say let us come up with a plan that lays out exactly what kind of technology we would need to survive all of these events. No, not survive, but thrive in the face of all of these events and more. The "rich" are holding back the future because they incorrectly be!ieve it is unprofitable to them to have everyone off the grid and living free. If you could satisfy all of your energy needs from the Sun via locally and communally generated windpower, water power, sea power, thermoelectric, magnetosphere, solar collector, or what have you. And you dealt with others as equals. Everyone being responsible for themselves and the world as a whole without arbitrary governance by ignorance encouraged by profiteers. And you were educated about the realities of our ability to harness even the simplest of technologies to solve all of our problems like drought, famine, hunger, transportation, shelter, communication, and survival. You would no longer be a consumer. In fact for the cost of a car (~$20,000) you could buy all the equipment needed to setup a microfactory and be a manufacturer. Check out http://www.fabathome.com/ and http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/neil_gershenfeld_on_fab_labs.html Or check out the virtues of collaboration over institutions http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/clay_shirky_on_institutions_versus_co... And check out 6 ways mushroms can save the world http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/paul_stamets_on_6_ways_mushrooms_can_... Or open source architecture http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/cameron_sinclair_on_open_source_archi... We need to collaborate on using the technology that is already available to build the technology needed to thrive during extreme adversity. We must evolve beyond the womb of the Earth. To do so we don't need to travel to other planets and terraform them to match our requirements. What we need is to evolve by raising the bar and saying we aren't dependent on a very fragile environment to survive. We have the technology we need the will.