Michael Jackson Trumps End of Our World


News of Michael Jackson’s death has prompted action on the parts of millions of people worldwide — maybe even hundreds of millions. So many people spread the news so quickly, it took Twitter down. Thousands stand in lines to create and see makeshift memorials. Hours are spent consuming music, video, and hashing and rehashing it all over with family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers.

Meanwhile, this same week, MIT researchers released the results of their new climate study. Using a detailed computer simulation of global economic activity and climate processes, they ran the model 400 times with possible tweaks. The result:

"without rapid and massive action," we will see an almost 10 degree rise in temperatures by 2100, more than double earlier predictions of a 4 degree rise.

There is little about the world we live in and rely upon today that will be familiar or viable in that world just 90 years from now. Water, agriculture, land use, species — our survivability — will be in a totally different territory. Really, not just metaphorically.

We need this reality to get at least as much attention as Michael Jackson’s death. It should motivate more tweets, more street action, more conversations, more pondering about what life means, makes it worth living, legacies, life potential, and the fate of offspring.