We are in the midst of a climate shock event.

As an electrical engineer, I’ve been charged with designing equipment that can withstand lightning strikes. A competent engineer doesn’t just say, “Oh hey, you know, things change. Always have, always will.” Shock is a different animal of change, the difference between placing a mug on a table and a car crash. It’s all about the rate of change. Change is one thing. Rapid change equals shock.

Humans really ought to know better than deliberately subjecting ourselves to a severe shock, and yet here we are. How did this happen? We did it in the name of free market capitalism, but we forgot an important principle of capitalism. Capitalism is only as solid as its accountants are competent and scrupulously honest. When capitalism makes a mess, it's almost always because phony accounting practices hide costs instead of account for them. Phony accounting designed to ignore the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions has given us 50 wasted years during which we knew perfectly well what we were doing and could have spared ourselves a severe shock but we chose not to.

The option of zero harm from our self-induced shock is long gone. But the option of harm that overwhelms our children versus harm our children might cope with successfully is still before us.

Charles Ashurst, Logan