I am starting to feel that all the solutions to carbon sequestration (and, incidentally, other global “problems”) have been tainted by our planet’s experience with polio.
Now, what, you ask, does global warming have to do with polio?
The poliomyelitis virus was a singular, non-adaptive enemy. Single cause, single effect. Our immune systems love this kind of attacker: the virus is introduced, and an antibody is produced, protecting us from all future attacks. Thousands of years of evolution have given us the benefit of this seemingly “perfect” immune response. Jonas Salk actually relied on this to develop his vaccine, which, like other vaccines, effectively “tricks” our bodies into thinking they have contracted a disease, so it will produce antibodies to protect us from future infections. So simple, yet it saves millions of lives.
In truth, vaccines have done us wonderful good, but they have conditioned us as a species to expect magic-bullet solutions to larger, systemic problems for which there are no magic bullets, save the elimination of our very culture.
AIDS, for example, is a complex disease, caused by a virus that is not only adaptive and prone to mutation, but also uses our immune systems against us. Every day, the scientific community is thwarted by this enemy, that is always one step ahead of our adaptive capacity. Add to the biochemical nature of the disease the dozens of ways it can spread from host to host, and the cultural barriers that hamper ...