People: ‘Be-Littler’ or Die!

July 29, 2014

photoshop finalHigh overcast and some ground fog this early Tuesday on California’s north coast — dark and quiet.

A normal, natural cover for us, but a blanket on stargazing, and catching a fleeing glimpse of the Delta Aquarid meteor shower going on right now, supposedly popping down to earth 15 to 20 meteors an hour, if there’s no clouds or whatnot.
And these little chunks of space rock are falling on a planet coming apart at the seasons — climate change has created a new brain cell in trying to figure out how to fight it — via the Guardian:

The plan to engineer a shorter, smaller human race to cope with climate change is almost as big and bold as the schemes of people working to convince themselves climate change won’t affect them.

(Illustration found here).

Three engineers — a professor of bioethics at New York University, and two, ‘who study ethics’ at the University of Oxford — call their venture, “be-littler,” in a supposedly scientific paper paper titled, “Human engineering and climate change,” in 2012 in the journal Ethics, Policy and the Environment. The story appeared yesterday in the Guardian.
And these guys claim:

“This solution involves the biomedical modification of humans to make them better at mitigating climate change,” they announced. They say this human engineering would be voluntary – “possibly supported by incentives such as tax breaks or sponsored healthcare.”

But their punchiest proposal is “making humans smaller.”
Their reasoning is simple: “Other things being equal, the larger one is, the more food and energy one requires.”
Bigger people also consume bigger amounts of energy indirectly, they say.
Cars use more fuel to carry heavy passengers.
Stout folk need more fabric to cover themselves.
Weightier persons “wear out shoes, carpets, and furniture more quickly, and so on”.
They explore whether it’s best to reduce humans’ average height, or weight, or both.

Yes, an interesting proposal, but…
Meanwhile, this morning the White House released the findings of a new study which shows waiting to fix climate change would be far, far too expensive to wait much longer.
From Time magazine:

A new report estimates the cost of mitigating the effects of climate change could rise by as much as 40 percent if action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is delayed 10 years — immediately outweighing any potential savings of a delay.
The White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, U.S. President Barack Obama’s source for advice on economic policy, compared over 100 actions on climate change laid out in 16 studies to extract the average cost of delayed efforts.
Released Tuesday, the findings suggests policymakers should immediately confront carbon emissions as a form of “climate insurance.”
“Events such as the rapid melting of ice sheets and the consequent increase of global sea levels, or temperature increases on the higher end of the range of scientific uncertainty, could pose such severe economic consequences as reasonably to be thought of as climate catastrophes,” the report reads.
“Confronting the possibility of climate catastrophes means taking prudent steps now to reduce the future chances of the most severe consequences of climate change.”
The report also found that any increase in climate change amid that delayed action would gravely exacerbate the problem; a rise to 3°C above preindustrial temperatures would mean mitigation costs would increase by about 0.9 percent of global economic output year on year.
(To put this into perspective, 0.9% of U.S. economic output is estimated at $150 billion for 2014.)

Too little people, or too little, too late?

(Illustration out front found here).

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