Saturday, August 7, 2010

What is it going to take?

In a reply to a comment on my last post, I wrote this:

There has been a strategic decision made by most prominent climate change activists to focus on CO2 and warming, and downplay other forms of pollution that are harmful to the ecosystem, based I guess on the unpopularity of dirty old boring pollution, the difficulty of proving causation (although it shouldn't be any more complicated than proving CO2 is a greenhouse gas) - and a prejudice towards physics. I think it's a really stupid decision, because it's not working.

Sure, it will really scare people if they understand the link between industrial society and cancer and crop loss. But nothing less is going to motivate them to change. Personally i don't see what we have to lose by pointing out the very real and current price we pay to leave the lights blazing and tootle around on snowmobiles.

Having said that, it seems as though events as described in this video should be enough to give even Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber pause - from the Gulf disaster to destructive hail storms and record-breaking floods and heat waves...there is no lack of evidence of extreme weather. Even better than the VOA clip, oddly enough, is this ABC broadcast which dares to ask the rarely posed question, "Is Extreme Heat Evidence of Global Warming?", and actually reports the brave, unequivocal, and resounding YES from Dr. Somerville, professer emeritus of Scripps! Bravo Professor! and thank you for being a rare candid and honest academic. (Yes, these bastards know far more than they will reveal!...too often).

Then again, today I saw this survey at Apocadocs, which only reinforces my dismal opinion. The emphasis placed on distant melting ice, and faraway water wars and even the above-described Hell and High Water due around 2100 that Joe Romm warns about on his blog and in his book of that title, won't be convincing enough to motivate people to make the transition to clean energy a priority - until it's disaster has reached their own back yard - if then. (Blame it on teh gehs getting married...because, why not?)

Scientists need to help people make the connection between the trees dying in their back yard, their parks, along their roads, and in the schoolyard...with toxic greenhouse gas emissions that kill vegetation.

Oh, that and the minor and forgotten problem of not having any more food.


The survey's conclusions?

"The tipping point that turns skeptics into believers seems nearly impossible to reach when it comes to climate change"..."it's hard to change people's minds about the environment unless something horrifying is actually occurring."


  1. Here's what it's going to take:

  2. great posting !

    Worth regarding the book "Change or Die" that refers to a study that 9 out of 10 people will refuse to change - even when they know they are making a life or death choice.

    I suspect that is true - certainly regarding smoking or eating... but choices made now will be killing our species... and 9 out of 10 seem to be accepting this.

  3. I think some low poll numbers are push back against information that challenges their belief system. Like a poll on offshore drilling in June(?) where a % said that the BP spill was a reason for the U.S. to expand drilling.

    Some people profess not to value endangered species while they are with us, so it won't bother them if some bears go extinct. They lack empathy and miss the connection to humanity. But by that time the deniers will be on the verge of extinction as a political force. Perhaps then decisions on policy will be made.


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