years ago, man walked out of his cave, not because he thought it was a
great idea, but because the climate permitted him to. He walked out of his
cave, where he found a bounty of plants, grains, fruits, fish and game he
could cultivate and stalk at his leisure.
Man settled on the plains, near rivers, along the coast, built communities
out of mud, developed a society, shared a culture and traded with others.
All the while, he did not pay for the air he breathed, the water that fell
out of the sky, that kindly replenished the soil, which grew the tree that bore
the fruit, and filled the well. He did not pay for spring
to come, the flowers to bloom, the warm summer rays
and clear autumn skies.
Man shared his life with millions of friends, many small and unnamed, each
taking and giving, building up and breaking down, one beautiful form
changing into another. Five thousand ago he built the pyramids, and 400 years ago, rejoined his cousins
in the new world. Today he flies around in space, all the while still not
having paid for the soil to be moist, the ocean to be
calm and the winds to be fair.
We have managed to create a $37 trillion a year society in the womb of a
stable climate. This relationship is about to change. The value of the climate system
in which we act out our lives must be infinitely greater than
or $37 trillion/yr, considering it has allowed all of man, all the animals,
all the plants, all the fish and all the trees to flourish for thousands
of years, and surely we hope, for thousands more years to come.