Does the Earth Care What We Do To It?

One of my most favorite social commentators is George Will. Recently I read an article from him that said that the earth doesn't care what is done to it or for it. His main point is that over "geologic" time (i.e. extended time millenniums, millions of years, etc..) what we do to the earth is so minimal as to barely register. He notes the amount of rain that falls on the earth to illustrate that we should all be flooded out yet we are not drowning on a global scale.

The article raises some good points when one thinks about the big picture and that is necessary from time to time. Comparing our present few generations to geologic time, George Will is right (i believe) that whatever happens will just be a blip and the earth will survive. After all the earth survived ice ages. We can be so short-term near future focused that we forget to look at history or  into the future 20,30 even 1000 years. 

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The Possibility of Hope

The issue of global warming is a non-arguable issue for me. I know its happening and its just a matter of time before we’re in some real mess unless we begin to do something really soon. I’m not one to believe that this issue is just a liberal or Democrat issue—it’s real and its here; we might not even believe it until we see some 100-foot wave coming out our front door; hopefully it won’t come to that.

That said, I teach a variety of fun courses. One of those courses is the introduction to sociology course. Sociology is great. I love it. It is the study of people, groups, structures, systems, and society—all fun stuff in which I was formally trained. One of the subject’s covered in sociology is social change. Social change has to do with the fundamental alterations in the patterns of culture, structure, and social behavior over time. Many factors interact to generate social change, including the physical environment, population, clashes over resources and values, supporting values and norms, innovation, diffusion, and the mass media. A number of perspectives exist on social change, including evolutionary theory, cyclical theory, functionalist, and conflict theories.

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