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George Carlin - Saving the Planet

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"I want to take this opportunity to mention how thankful I am for an Obama re-election. The choice was clear. We cannot live in a country that treats homosexuals and women as second class citizens. Homosexuals deserve all of the rights and benefits of marriage that heterosexuals receive. Women deserve to be treated with respect and their salaries should not depend on their gender, but their quality of work. I am also thankful that the great, progressive state of California once again voted for the correct President. America is moving forward, and the direction is a positive one."

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I miss George, much.


Sometimes my language usage seems confusing - please feel free to 'read it twice', just in case !
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Carlin was awesome. Funny, irreverent, knows how to make his point with foul language and the greatest class all at the same time.

And in this clip, he's fundamentally right on a certain level: The Earth, 4.5 billion years old, is essentially unaffected by what our puny species does or does not do. From the Cambrian explosion till today, Earth has witnessed mass extinctions and will witness more to come - nothing to do with humans. On a geological timescale we simply don't matter.

But that's not the only timescale to be concerned with. Yes, in a 100 million years our actions matter not at all. For that matter, in 10 or 1 million years I doubt there will be much if any noticeable effect of our presence on the planet. But things we care about happen on shorter timescales too, and those we can and do affect.

George was wrong with his assertion that 25 species go extinct each and every day regardless of whether we're here to kill them off or not. Humans are directly responsible for the permanent loss of species. That doesn't matter on that geological scale where those species inevitably would go extinct one day far away. But it does matter when we accelerate the process and lead to a localized thinning of gene pools that will require new millennia of slow evolution to re-emerge. We kill off native cereal grains and medicinal herbs which we as humans then suffer as a result when disease strikes the few remaining species of grains we have planted, and potential medicines are lost forever more to us humans.

Carlin is right that humans will eventually go extinct. It's pointless to worry about the permanence of our species. But it's very sensible to worry about the human condition and our habitat so long as we are still here.

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