Save the Planet? Bah! Save the Holocene maybe (for a while).
Humans have enjoyed a stable planetary climate system for 11,000+ years. In fact, without the Holocene we wouldn’t be here as we are, the dominate species. But the Holocene, if you examine its traits, is truly a blip (or non-blip) in the massively variable history of the planet’s climate. Humanity will NOT be able to save the Holocene regardless of any effort put forth to maintain climate homeostasis. (Note the ~logarithmic scale in the below image. The important parts, for us, are in blue.)
From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geologic_temperature_record
No one could look at that chart and not come to the conclusion that, “whoa, we’ve had it so nice lately…” (Lately being relativistic.) So, of course we want to keep our streak of good climate luck going. Humanity has never had it so good. But let’s put this into perspective shall we? Whatever humanity does or doesn’t do, in the long run, the planet’s climate will change. We can look back on our 11,000 years of spring like weather with fondness, but let’s be real, in the grand scale of things, shit’s gonna get weird — someday.
This might sound like I’m an AGGW denier, or contrarian at least, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Humanity is ABSOLUTELY the cause of the planet’s recent climate warming. And we will no doubt be the cause of the 2-4 degrees Celsius rise in the coming century. And… that rise will no doubt cause untold changes to the world’s ecosystems. But, only one without perspective could look around and think that what we do today, or tomorrow, or never will truly change the planet’s trajectory through its future history.
Sorry, but given humanity’s proclivity for really poor decisions, unless some benevolent globally powerful General Artificial Intelligence comes into being and helps us figure out how to build fusion energy systems, or rearranges the entire planetary economic system such that the current oppressive inequality gives those millions of hidden poor and starving geniuses the wherewithal to create planetary wide systems for energy, clean water and food production — well then, I don’t really think a little global warming will matter all that much.
But, to step back from that precarious, contentious edge just a bit, these thoughts are neither here nor there.
For no matter what you do, your impact on the Universe will be whatever it is you think it should be — and, more importantly, your choice of impact is what you will live with.
In the end it won’t matter to the Universe. Because, you know, nothing matters to the Universe. (And to compare your lifetime with that of the Universe’s, is, like zero vs infinity…?) But that’s not the point, which is, only those things that matter to you — matter. Epicurus – eat your heart out!