What if we stopped pretending?

A growing number of us believe we have done so much damage to Mother Earth that recovery of life as we know it is no longer possible.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to deny the evolving environmental chaos.

Except when the impacts hit us, personally — or threaten to. By that perverse logic, the news is cooperating — as is the climate, unleashing unprecedented punishments, seemingly each week. Which may be why one recent survey, conducted in the immediate aftermath of the IPCC’s doomsday report, showed that 72 percent of Americans believe climate change should be a higher political priority. Sometimes, as unhappy as it is to look in the face of disaster, those disasters are overwhelming enough that they simply cannot be ignored anymore. Unfortunately, for all the talk on the environmental-left about denial, simple belief in climate change is not enough to move the needle. Already, Yale says, 70 percent of Americans believe “environmental protection is more important than economic growth.” Nudging that number up to 75 percent isn’t the important thing; what’s important is getting those 70 percent to feel their conviction fiercely, to elevate action on climate change to a first-order political priority by speaking loudly about it and to disempower, however we can, those forces conspiring to silence us. Even the ones in our own heads.

You, Too, Are in Denial of Climate Change
Most Americans believe, abstractly, in climate change. That’s not enough. New York Magazine. Dec 14, 2018

The total destruction by hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas is hard to believe and the reasons for it hard to deny.

Believing we are in spiral of increasing chaos, do we just give up and enjoy life now as best we can? No, I believe we continue to have a moral responsibility to do what we can to stop the abuse of Mother Earth, to at least slow down the rate of the worsening consequences. To live faith guided lives and help those in need. With millions of climate refugees now and millions more in the future, this will become increasingly important.

If you care about the planet, and about the people and animals who live on it, there are two ways to think about this. You can keep on hoping that catastrophe is preventable, and feel ever more frustrated or enraged by the world’s inaction. Or you can accept that disaster is coming, and begin to rethink what it means to have hope.

What if We Stopped Pretending the Climate Apocalypse Can Be Stopped? by Jonathan Franzen

New research, described last month in Scientific American, demonstrates that climate scientists, far from exaggerating the threat of climate change, have underestimated its pace and severity.

As a non-scientist, I do my own kind of modelling. I run various future scenarios through my brain, apply the constraints of human psychology and political reality, take note of the relentless rise in global energy consumption (thus far, the carbon savings provided by renewable energy have been more than offset by consumer demand), and count the scenarios in which collective action averts catastrophe. The scenarios, which I draw from the prescriptions of policy-makers and activists, share certain necessary conditions.

The first condition is that every one of the world’s major polluting countries institute draconian conservation measures, shut down much of its energy and transportation infrastructure, and completely retool its economy.

The actions taken by these countries must also be the right ones. Vast sums of government money must be spent without wasting it and without lining the wrong pockets.

Finally, overwhelming numbers of human beings, including millions of government-hating Americans, need to accept high taxes and severe curtailment of their familiar life styles without revolting. They must accept the reality of climate change and have faith in the extreme measures taken to combat it. They can’t dismiss news they dislike as fake. They have to set aside nationalism and class and racial resentments. They have to make sacrifices for distant threatened nations and distant future generations. They have to be permanently terrified by hotter summers and more frequent natural disasters, rather than just getting used to them. Every day, instead of thinking about breakfast, they have to think about death.

Call me a pessimist or call me a humanist, but I don’t see human nature fundamentally changing anytime soon. I can run ten thousand scenarios through my model, and in not one of them do I see the two-degree target being met.

What if We Stopped Pretending the Climate Apocalypse Can Be Stopped? by Jonathan Franzen

I apologize for the extended quotations. I’m glad to find a clear articulation of things I have been thinking about. I intend to discuss the rest of the article in the next post.


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