Climate strike, Quito, Ecuador, Sept 2019. Pachamama is Mother Earth as revered in Andes. Photo Kai Medina (Mk170101), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Since the global protests of September 2019, I’ve been looking for words to describe what is happening in climate campaigning and policy formation, and for historical precedents which may help us understand where we’re going.

Calls for action are getting stronger, and they’re coming from many directions: scientists, politicians, the…

Artist’s impression of Earth in Archean Eon, 4 to 2.5 billion years ago, by Tim Bertelink. Via Wikimedia Commons

How could life emerge on a previously lifeless planet? Is life’s origin a chance event, or a stepwise process? Is it likely that worlds other than Earth have also come up with life; and if so, which ones?

After many frustrations and false starts, developing lines of research are finally…

I'm not convinced that "there is a 'universal' language: mathematics and physics".

Physics (as we know it) is a way humans talk to humans about our own activities, as well as about the universe in general.

Dolphins, like humans, are hunters of fish. Yet, as you've mentioned, we've so far been unable to understand dolphin communication.

A smart life-form on another planet might do various other things that humans do, including (for instance) reducing silicon dioxide to elemental silicon in order to then do something with the silicon.

But would that necessarily mean we could understand the way they talk to each other about what they are doing?

I agree that it’s highly likely that we’re not alone, that It is highly likely life has emerged and evolved on other planets as well as Earth. However, that does not mean that the results will be identical, or even very similar.

Based on known principles of evolution — random mutation and natural selection — little grey humanoids are extremely implausible. Nordics from the Pleiades are less plausible still, considering that the term Nordic refers not just to Earth, but to a specific part of Europe.

More plausible extraterrestrial beings have been imagined by thoughtful SF writers, for instance the Martians in H.G.Wells' War of the Worlds, whose morphology combines features of Earth’s cephalopods and primates, but is not identical with either.

You wrote: "Time spent protesting on the streets is time away from the halls of power." Greta Thunberg's words carry weight in the halls of power thanks to the millions of young people and older allies who have protested on the streets with her. When Greta said "How dare you?" at the UN conference in New York in September 2019, she expressed the sense of urgency and frustration shared by her fellow campaigners. I hope and expect to see more millions at the coming Global Day of Action on Saturday 6 November, during the COP26 Conference in Glasgow. The organisers are calling on climate conscious people of all generations to take part. Together we can make a difference.

Have you seen Pope Francis' statement Laudato si' published in May 2015? He argues that theists have a responsibility to humanity and to the planet, including a responsibility to address the problem of climate change, and he backs his argument with references to scripture and also to the writings of religious leaders, Christian and non-Christian. In April 2019, Greta Thunberg met the Pope and thanked him for speaking out, and he gave his blessing to her campaign. If you google words like “Pope Francis meets Greta Thunberg”, you'll find videos of their conversation on Youtube.

Colin Robinson

Someone who likes sharing factual information and fragments of the big picture

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