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Zigzagman
5-31-11, 11:28am
I know there are multiple opinions on the causes of Climate Change and even if are affecting it but from what I read from almost every source it is definitely happening. I guess my question is are we stubbornly going to ignore the science and facts until it is too late? This is a long (3 pages) article but I thought it brought up some really important issues that we all will have to face in our lifetime. We are dealing with the worst drought in our recorded history here in Central Texas and across the nation similar strange climate issue abound.

By Chris Hedges (http://www.truthdig.com/chris_hedges)
The rapid and terrifying acceleration of global warming, which is disfiguring the ecosystem at a swifter pace than even the gloomiest scientific studies predicted a few years ago, has been confronted by the power elite with two kinds of self-delusion. There are those, many of whom hold elected office, who dismiss the science and empirical evidence as false. There are others who accept the science surrounding global warming but insist that the human species can adapt.

<more> The Sky Really Is Falling (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_sky_really_is_falling_20110530/)

Peace

HappyHiker
5-31-11, 12:40pm
Thanks for posting the link to that very interesting article. It does not make for happy reading, but I think there's much truth in what it says. I'd like to not be pessimistic about the topic, but from the actions our govt./business are taking--or not taking--I do think we're heading for an environmental train wreck.

I wonder if the next 'dominant' species will do a better job than we've done in our stewardship of this fragile and suffering planet. Could we humans possibly have done a worse job in bungling and polluting?

pinkytoe
5-31-11, 6:22pm
DH and I talk about this a lot - the level of apathy among the general populace about climate change is frightening. Even while we watch it change in ways we can't yet know, seems like many are content as long as they can live their status quo lifestyle. Dancing with the Stars gets more attention. I get the sense that people know in their hearts what is happening but refuse to acknowledge that they can do anything about it. I feel that helplessness too. And I am sitting here in my comfortable air-conditioned house not daring to venture out in this stifling central TX heat because it reminds me that I could not exist here without it.

Zigzagman
5-31-11, 6:56pm
For me the frustration comes from blatant denial based upon jobs and the economy. It's like who cares as long as it doesn't affect my income and if it does I am against it. What kind of mentality is this. I say that being a white American who probably has one of the highest standards of living in the world. What about those 60% of the population that struggle from day to day just to survive and our greed and consumption affect their lives far more seriously than it does ours?

If the medical community had a >95% agreement that something we were doing would affect our lives and health there would be outrage unless something was done. When it comes to air, water, and the effects of our huge usage of fossil fuels (the US uses over 26% of all fossil fuels and are only about 6% of the worlds population) has a tremendous impact on the entire planet.

With the evidence so clear why, oh why does most of the population that can do something about it chose to ignore the facts?

I am also saddened to see that environmental issues are almost non-existent in the political conversation these days. How? Why? Can that be? Are we so darn ignorant that we will just wait for our own demise? If not, will someone please help me understand the thought process of not being concerned about out environment?

Peace

Bronxboy
5-31-11, 8:19pm
I know there are multiple opinions on the causes of Climate Change and even if are affecting it but from what I read from almost every source it is definitely happening. I guess my question is are we stubbornly going to ignore the science and facts until it is too late?

Yes. It is definitely happening and people will ignore the science for a long time to come. It's simply too big a concept for people not born into it to accept. It turns all concepts of human civilization, including man vs. God, and immediate gratification vs. long-term planning totally upside down. It also requires people to step away from technology that has resulted in huge improvements in material living standards over the past 200 years, and adopt unproven technology.

To expect that even 35 years from now (until today's teenagers become CEOs and Presidents) people will take action is quite optimistic--especially in the profoundly conservative U.S. It requires changes in human thought and ways of life on the scale of the Renaissance or the Industrial Revolution that could easily take 150 years.

Unless electric cars, solar panels, and wind/tidal power work BETTER than fossil fuels, the change is probably too hard. Fortunately for us, I think that will happen by the time today's teenagers are in charge.

A personal example. I was first exposed to the climate change issue in the late 1980s, in relation to a task I was involved in to assess the impact of the banning of chlorofluorocarbons on a Government agency. I attended conferences that included discussions of the Greenhouse effect and CO2 emissions, including presentations from leading scientists such as Dr. James Hansen (http://www.stormsofmygrandchildren.com/james_hansen.html). Despite scientific education and exposure to the best information of the day, it took me about 10 years to accept that it was real. To expect people to change their thinking so drastically on the basis of 2 minute news clips delivered by the scientifically illiterate Barbie and Ken dolls of TV news is completely unrealistic.

People will be going to the North Pole in fiberglass boats and kayaking the streets of London and Washington while continuing to deny.

ApatheticNoMore
5-31-11, 8:23pm
For me the frustration comes from blatant denial based upon jobs and the economy. It's like who cares as long as it doesn't affect my income and if it does I am against it.

It is almost certainly the case that things don't change because a certain system of power and wealth must be maintained. But joe blow ... even joe blow middle class office worker, doesn't ultimately hold that power, and is probably so exhausted from those long long work weeks (plus raising a family and so on) to even have much time to think about it. And he would probably have to get on the net to even get an accurate perspective (no global warming isn't hidden in the MSM, but it is glossed over).

So an appeal to one's higher nature is needed: yes you are exhausted, the survival of a habitable planet (and yes for your children and grandchildren if you have them), should concern you nonetheless. This matters.


If the medical community had a >95% agreement that something we were doing would affect our lives and health there would be outrage unless something was done. When it comes to air, water, and the effects of our huge usage of fossil fuels (the US uses over 26% of all fossil fuels and are only about 6% of the worlds population) has a tremendous impact on the entire planet.

With the evidence so clear why, oh why does most of the population that can do something about it chose to ignore the facts?

They are not that clear on what they actually CAN do. Now let me be honest about what I have seen: people who I KNOW know about the environmental situation, people who are active and activist, good people, still display blatant wastefulness, and when I see it it drives me crazy, because these people are super aware and still. And no I'm not without sin myself, so yea who am I to throw stones, it's not a slam at anyone really, it's more a comment on how ingrained waste is in this society. But one individual's action concerning reducing waste and so on can't really change things? That's right IT CAN'T! I see no realistic way for the problem to be solved just by that.

At worst we can say it sets a horrible example: "Every single one of your petty misdeeds throws a light on the wretchedness of human life. Every one of your petty actions diminishes the hope of improving your lot just a little more. That is ground for sorrow, little man, for deep, heartbreaking sorrow." (Wilhelm Reich)


I am also saddened to see that environmental issues are almost non-existent in the political conversation these days. How? Why? Can that be? Are we so darn ignorant that we will just wait for our own demise? If not, will someone please help me understand the thought process of not being concerned about out environment?

I read that Obama has decided not to make it in an issue in his campaign due to polling or something. I don't know if it's true, if it's true it's obscene.

ApatheticNoMore
5-31-11, 8:31pm
To expect that even 35 years from now (until today's teenagers become CEOs and Presidents) people will take action is quite optimistic--especially in the profoundly conservative U.S. It requires changes in human thought and ways of life on the scale of the Renaissance or the Industrial Revolution that could easily take 150 years.

As for changes in human thought though: from my readings (hey I wasn't alive then, give me a break) quite a lot of changes in thought took place during the 60s. It didn't last, it is widely acknowledged it had some unwanted side effects. But anyway, I'm not saying do the EXACT same thing (we have decades of new information to integrate, you can't step in the same river twice anyway). It's just an example of the possible. I said possible, not likely, merely possible.

Bronxboy
5-31-11, 9:19pm
As for changes in human thought though: from my readings (hey I wasn't alive then, give me a break) quite a lot of changes in thought took place during the 60s. It didn't last, it is widely acknowledged it had some unwanted side effects.

The idea of women and people other than white Protestants/Catholics (depending on state religion) having equal rights in societies of European origin has been developing for about 150 years. It is still some distance from complete. The idea that the ordinary things humans do to support ourselves are drastically changing our climate is almost as big.

Rogar
5-31-11, 9:54pm
I think Obama has chosen to steer clear if global warming controversy but has done a reasonable amount under different names. "Creating green jobs" sounds more dear to peoples hearts these days and he has made some incentives for sustainable energy, including tax rebates on energy saving devices that I personally took advantage of last year. Plus tougher gas mileage standards.

Quite a few of the solutions are going to cost money and this will eventually trickle down to the consumer in terms of higher costs. Not a popular issue these days. For example, finding better energy sources than coal and building the plants and/or infrastructure to support them. In my mind our leaders haven't done enough, but I dread to think about conservatives gaining more control.

Beyond politics, there is some personal accountability that is difficult for the mainstream of folks to swallow. There are some sacred cows among American's love of the auto, meat consumption, cheap energy, and family size. I often find myself thinking back to the old Pogo cartoon that was used for the first Earth Day celebration, with the caption, "We've met the enemy and he is us."

Alan
5-31-11, 11:04pm
Beyond politics, there is some personal accountability that is difficult for the mainstream of folks to swallow. There are some sacred cows among American's love of the auto, meat consumption, cheap energy, and family size. I often find myself thinking back to the old Pogo cartoon that was used for the first Earth Day celebration, with the caption, "We've met the enemy and he is us."

And that same personal accountability is plagued with a confusing mixture of hysteria du jour and facts. On that first Earth Day, which I remember well, we were in the grip of a global cooling hysteria as pernicious as today's global warming. It seems that there's a constant political agenda which distorts whichever environmental catastrophe can be successfully identified and magnified.

As recently as 2005 there were grave warnings that by 2010 there would be 60,000,000 people displaced throughout the world as a result of rising sea levels brought on by global warming. That didn't happen.

During the 80's, warming hysteria was fueled by computer models which showed that increased CO2 levels would cause warm, moist air to accumulate in the upper atmosphere and converge approximately 7 miles up in a band over the tropics. This would have a magnifying effect on warming by a factor of three. The problem with that model is that we've been monitoring temps in the upper atmosphere continuiously since the 60's and those forecasted hot spots have yet to be found.

Then, within the last few years we've been made aware of climate researcher's efforts to "doctor" the data to achieve the politically desired result. It seems that if the current warming trend is man made, there's lots of political hay to be made of it. It it's not, then not so much.

These things, plus the sheer quantity of special interests which will be advanced by promoting a man made global warming agenda should make cynics of us all.

reader99
5-31-11, 11:04pm
I already live in a tiny place and drive a fuel efficient used car; don't know that there's much more I can do as an individual. So many things go better when done at a macro level. Receycling for instance is tons more effective now that the city picks up, unlike the 60s when my mother used to drive her own recycling several miles to a center. The easier it is, the more likely it is people will do it.

Rogar
6-1-11, 9:02am
Alan, I think somethinglike 96% of the leading scientists around the world believe that global warming is real and most likely cuased by man.

We're sort of haggling over details after that. Yes, there was a little cover up of date by some scientists. Probably not any worse than the Bush censorship from the other angle. And there is probably not agreement on how bad it will be or when any major problems will appear. But even now we're seeing receeding ice in the arctic regions, rising ocean levels, and record global temperatures. Along with increases in weather disturbances. It's only going to get worse.

I've pretty much come to the conclusion that it's poorly spent energy to try to convince naysayers, but they are becoming fewer.

Alan
6-1-11, 9:19am
Alan, I think somethinglike 96% of the leading scientists around the world believe that global warming is real and most likely cuased by man.


Just as a little added food for thought, those same 96% of "leading scientists" not only believe, but know that Mars is warming too. They just haven't figured out how it could be caused by man and there's little to no research money available for advancing the theory.

Zigzagman
6-1-11, 11:25am
Just as a little added food for thought, those same 96% of "leading scientists" not only believe, but know that Mars is warming too. They just haven't figured out how it could be caused by man and there's little to no research money available for advancing the theory.

See, this is how the issue gets lost in debate. I think it becomes all about "blame"? People don' t like to be told what they can or cannot do - especially by government, especially the GOP who likes to label itself "small government" (not reality but a marketing slogan).

I think the real debate in the US is more about regulation of business more than anything. In our world of uber-capitalism unless you are business friendly then the world will come to an end. Never mind it might destroy our air, water, forests, oceans, and anything it's magical "free market" can reach.

I good example is our recent economic meltdown which is pretty much explained by a lack of or no regulation. We somehow have been able to focus on surviving the results and ignoring the causes. Business as usual.

A local example that we in Central Texas are dealing with is the never ending push for more and more development. Never mind the area does not have the natural resources to support this growth - build it then get a political solution to support it.

I find it simply amazing how much pride people take in this growth, never mind it destroys the quality of life in an area but just seems to be celebrated as a means to reach the American dream of wealth and privilege.

As a simple living forum I think this philosophy is not really that popular (never ending consumption) but for the public at large it is definitely celebrated and makes it extremely difficult to hope that people will actually do anything that might help our environmental situation. The math shows that even our undesirable practices can be tolerated as long as the population is small but we have almost reached the point of no return as the population continues to increase and more and more parts of the world adopt our "western" lifestyle.

I hope you are right, Alan, (refusing to accept climate change as being affected by humans) because in all probability nothing will happen in the US - the politics of regulation and environmental protection are being demonized by the marketing of our "wonderful life".

Peace

Alan
6-1-11, 12:14pm
I hope you are right, Alan, (refusing to accept climate change as being affected by humans) because in all probability nothing will happen in the US - the politics of regulation and environmental protection are being demonized by the marketing of our "wonderful life".

Peace

I think you may misunderstand me Ziggy. I don't "refuse to accept climate change as being affected by humans", I just think that it's magnified by humans and politicians as a means to an end. One that has little to do with climate change.

Rogar
6-1-11, 1:42pm
Alan, If you could point me in the direction of information saying that global warming doesn't exist or is being greatly exadurated for political or personaal gain, presented by reputable scientific researchers, I would sincerely be interested in reading more.

puglogic
6-1-11, 2:29pm
Yes, the sky is falling. We are hopelessly screwed. The debate will never end, and it will only get much, much more violent as time goes by, people hang on more tightly to their own resources, and the world's resources dry up.
But life is still good. I agree with so many things in this article:
http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/170/

Zigzagman
6-1-11, 2:47pm
Yes, the sky is falling. We are hopelessly screwed. The debate will never end, and it will only get much, much more violent as time goes by, people hang on more tightly to their own resources, and the world's resources dry up.
But life is still good. I agree with so many things in this article:
http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/170/

Wonderful article! I really did enjoy about the concept of "giving up on hope". I also think I found the answer to one of my personal life questions - “If things are so bad, why don’t you just party?” Damn, I've been looking for an explanation for that for decades!

Peace

Zigzagman
6-1-11, 2:49pm
I think you may misunderstand me Ziggy. I don't "refuse to accept climate change as being affected by humans", I just think that it's magnified by humans and politicians as a means to an end. One that has little to do with climate change.

Pray tell, what is the end that "treehuggers" are striving for? If it is r-e-s-p-e-c-t for the planet then I'd say you are correct.

Peace

pinkytoe
6-1-11, 3:09pm
I don't know what the movement is called or how large it is, but locally I see a lot of younger folks living their lives much like the back to earth movement of the 60s. Growing their own food, bartering, riding bikes, ie living lightly. It gives me hope that perhaps there is some fundamental change going on. Of course, many of those old hippies from the 60s went on and became very materialistic so ...who knows?

puglogic
6-1-11, 3:51pm
There are a lot of really beautiful things going on in the world -- amazing things, everywhere, and I'm not talking about the "to hell with big business" stuff, but real connection to simplicity in all its lovely forms.....urban farming, downsizing, rebuilding of community and family unity, volunteerism. I'm deeply involved in it in my own community, and it's a joy. Even with millions of people participating, I don't think it's enough to save us (I mean, there's 7 billion of us, most living in abject poverty), but it sure makes life wonderful as we make our way through this mess.

ApatheticNoMore
6-1-11, 9:40pm
Yea, I see it too, precisely the trends you talk about. And sometimes it's ALL I want to participate in, to give my all to it.

(at least when my own lifelong depressive tendencies are aren't on the ascendancy, and then I just want to sit at home all day and do nothing, and no life doesn't seem good then.)

puglogic
6-1-11, 11:38pm
I'm cut from that cloth too, Apathetic. Seems like my only saving grace is some kind of involvement with something bigger than me.....something that matters. I can't always do it either, though. I'm fortunate in that, falling sky or not, life can't really get much worse than what I've already been through - how's that for a silver lining? :)

razz
6-2-11, 10:09am
That is why I start each day with a lot of gratitudes - for the day, my family, a new idea, a friend's phone call, some wonderful memory... I try to live carefully with our grandchildren's future in mind using so many of the ideas that I have gained through the SLN. Do what you can, let things unfold as they will and adapt accordingly.

Mrs.B
6-2-11, 10:48pm
This morning I read an editorial that had me "hot" it compared an article about the connection between the recent outbreak of tornado's and the greenhouse effect to the gentleman who claimed the world would end May 21st. As you can draw your own conclusion he thought they were both in left field. I think what angers me the most is the group who states "we've had 2 ft of snow where's the global warming" they hear the word "warming" and think every one should be having heat waves, trying to explain climate changes and shifts to them is like teaching my dog long division.
Sorry, I was really ticked!
Mrs. B

loosechickens
6-3-11, 1:17am
Well, Mrs. B.....remember that there have been hundreds of millions of dollars spent by big polluters to feed misinformation, create false "controversy", etc., although over 95% of the world's climate scientists not only know global warming is happening, but know also that we have caused most of it.

We'd better get used to these wild swings in weather, because "global chaos" is what is in store for us as the planet warms. Even if we got control of the greenhouse gases immediately, which isn't going to happen, we may well have passed a tipping point, and certainly cannot escape a major amount of warming that has already happened and will have consequences.

There are a lot of people who are ignorant of the science and quite a few determined to keep them that way. Greed and self interest in profits will ensure that, sadly. And the media has not really been of help, as in their zeal to present "both sides", as though they were somehow equal, as opposed to the huge majority of the world's climate scientists on one side, and a few, mostly employed or beholden to large polluters on the other side.

Don't even get ME started, either, ;-)

Anne Lee
6-3-11, 7:52am
I bought a copy of Superfreakonomics to read on a plane trip and they had an interesting chapter on climate change including a rather unorthodox solution taken from the research think tank IV. Rather than remove the CO2 and other greenhouse gases, the solution is to pump sulfer dioxide into the stratosphere to cool the planet a la Mt. Pinatubo eruption. There was also quite a bit of print devoted to debunking what they said the popular understanding of climate change is. Quite frankly, I didn't feel it was the strongest part of their book but it's a good conversation starter.

SRP
6-3-11, 1:25pm
Loosechickens, your comment about "global chaos" brought to mind the devastating storms that the southern US has experienced. If that's not chaos, I don't know what is. Living in Arkansas, I've witnessed firsthand the damage from the most vicious tornado season I can remember. And I've heard that the hurricane season is also supposed to be especially rough this year. Bigger storm seasons seem to be coming more frequently - a sure sign of a heating atmosphere.

puglogic
6-3-11, 1:27pm
Okay, so scratch Superfreakonomics off my summer reading list. Those kinds of solutions are just patently ridiculous imHo -- and allow us to keep pumping billions of tons of destructive gases into the upper atmosphere without another thought. Very convenient.

I agree that popular understanding of climate change needs a severe adjustment, but probably not for the reasons the book does. Here at our little homestead, we're preparing for wild weather swings -- wind, hail, flooding, etc. -- and not waiting for some Soylent Green style heatwave. This is the first year we've experimented with hail shields, for example, because the storms here at 7000 feet are nowhere near as predictable as they used to be...on JUNE 25 last year, tennis-ball sized hail destroyed everything we all had planted. Unearthly.

We're paring down our lives, building soil, growing our own, strengthening the community through common security programs like tool/skill sharing, education, etc., and pushing for other communities to do the same.....but if Wall Street wins out (and haven't they always?) I want to be sure we're okay for as long as possible.

Someone just sent me this quote (in their annual report) and I thought it was how I'm feeling today:
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.
(Clarissa Pinkola Estes)