Nothing can be understood or accomplished without proper knowledge. Even something as simple as changing a tire requires “know how.” Without right knowledge, mankind stands completely powerless—absolutely helpless—before its problems.
Permalink Reply by B on November 24, 2009 at 10:35am
If there is a flood, caused by rainfall, we can be faced with various problems. Removing the cyclical processes of evaporation and precipitation is never the solution to any of them.
True, the laws of nature are difficult to undo, but the flood itself may not be the problem, depending on your perspective and location. A flood may be avoided or averted by not building your next home on a flood plain, or better water proofing your house, or not living in a hurricane zone during the season. If you live in a high risk area and are not adequately prepared, a flood occurring is not a question of if but when.
Disasters occurring as a result of climate change due to the machinations sustaining the modern world are another matter entirely. Incidentally one of the best ways we can make a positive impact on our carbon footprint as vegans is by not supporting the meat/poultry/dairy industries, which create more green house gas than all automobile emissions in the world combined, according to the Food and Agriculture organization of the UN. Not that there's anything wrong with riding a bike to work either, if that's feasible.
It is easy to look at difficult problems from a perspective in which we are powerless to do anything about them. The challenging part is finding a way of looking at a situation where we can make a difference, however small, that may perhaps snowball into a solution. We may not succeed, but if there's any possibility of success, I don't see any harm in trying. Certainly if we do nothing, nothing will happen. :)
I can, at times, be quite a pedantic person. Now is such a time.
In your original post, you claimed that "[Humans] [c]an't solve any problem without removing the cause." Above, you claim, in reference to my example of problems caused by flooding, that "the flood itself may not be the problem, depending on your perspective and location. A flood may be avoided or averted by not building your next home on a flood plain..."
There is a distinction here between solving a currently existing problem and preventing the existence of a potential problem. In the example I gave, I was referring to problems caused by a flood that has already occured. These immediate problems cannot be solved by tackling the causes of the flood, regardless of the fact that we probably should learn lessons from the flood and consequently take action to prevent the problems recurring.
I think that to solve a problem a problem must exist. Taking action to prevent the causes of a problem, such as that which you mention with regard to flooding, is instead to prevent the existence of certain conditions that must be present in order for a problem to exist. This may be seen as the height of pedanticism, relating to wording and nothing else. I agree with you that attempting to negate problems before they emerge is an intelligent approach to take. This makes a lot more sense to me than continously fighting with problems, and I agree that we should do all we can to combat climate change, even when it seems that our relatively small changes will achieve nothing. I maintain, however, that your claim "Can't solve any problem without removing the cause" is incorrect.