‘Cosmos’ holds no punches this week with “The World Set Free”, and it spends the better part of forty minutes explaining how climate change happened, why humans are the cause of it, and the detrimental side effects of the waste products of our society.
That’s right. Climate change is a thing and humans caused it. Blow by blow, Tyson defeats every single argument made against human-made climate change. Then, to add to salt to the self-inflicted wound, he tells the tale of two scientists who brought solar power to the world… in as early as the 1800s. If you don’t have a chance to see this episode, look up Augustin Mouchot (who unveiled his invention in 1868) and Frank Shuman (who created a solar plant in 1913).
Yup. We could have gotten solar-power technology going a lot sooner, and maybe actually be somewhere with it these days if not for our of booming coal, and then petroleum, based economies
In an unusual twist for the series, the doomsdaying lasts for most of the episode, even citing Carl Sagan’s warnings from 1980. It’s an endless waltz of what we are doing, the science behind what’s happening, and how we already knew this was going to happen for decades already and yet we did nothing about it. It’s only in the last ten minutes that Tyson offers any hope, and it can be summed up as this: Humans are adaptive and we can persevere through dark times.
The episode ends with JFK’s speech of putting a man on the moon. It was a impossible feat, and we did it. Now, to solve the mire that the industrialized world has put us into, we are going to have to step up and do the impossible yet again.