Some people are angry when TV/radio stations allow people in their programs who don’t believe in anthropogenic climate change. I don’t see what is wrong about listening to what other people think and having conversations with them and I said that on Twitter (while I was on the road). That does not make me Donald Trump’s favorite cousin.
Green roof, part of a hotel in Utrecht, the Netherlands
We don’t have merely climate change. We have GLOBAL change.
Among other things, we appear to be at the brink of the 6th mass extinction, with the difference that this one is entirely caused by the activities of the human species, including how we see and treat other species. It also indicates that our habitat is likely becoming unsuitable for ourselves too.
I think it’s a stupid excuse to blame people like Donald Trump and some person called
Watson Lawson, who apparently was on TV/radio in some program, for what is going on and for what other people are doing.
Companies in the United States have a CHOICE, for example. They can stick to emission targets no matter what Donald Trump says. it’s a matter of taking personal responsibility. They can even make industry-wide decisions, no matter what Donald Trump says.
I don’t know who this
Watson Lawson person is, but I can understand why some people don’t want to believe in global change and refuse to believe that it is mostly caused by us. First of all, the idea is scary as hell (because it threatens our own existence as a species). So the idea that it is not happening is much more likeable. So it isn’t stupid for people to stick to such a belief. It means they’re human.
Secondly, because science is big business – requiring and using but also generating loads of money – it is easy for some people to believe that scientists sometimes say things merely to get more money. it’s happened! More than once.
Also, science has fashion trends just like everything else. I remember when more and more people started asking money for CO2-related research. Suddenly, doing that was hot.
Some scientists (Bob Berner, for instance) had already been doing that for a long time but until then, not a lot of attention had been paid to them. Others were (also) experts in topics like ocean pH (Bob Byrne, for instance). CO2 and pH have a heck of a lot to do with each other.
It used to be quite hard to get earth and ocean sciences into Science or Nature. These sciences weren’t deemed of interest to a larger audience. They were for and about people who studied fossils or looked at seals and fishes. Duh.
Fossils writing about fossils for other fossils. Fossils. That was the image a lot of people had about the earth (including ocean) sciences. Stuffy people. (Okay, there were also some who thought “oil and gas” and some who thought “shiny minerals” and “shells”.)
Suddenly, CO2 (carbon) was where the money was so CO2 was what lots of people wanted to work on.
That does not mean that it’s useless research. Far from it. Neither does it mean that researching something else suddenly became stupid. I have had all sorts of people tell me that earth science was a stupid thing to be interested in. It was never a “sexy” science – until the world started to become aware of global change.
Many other disciplines have since jumped on board of the train, often reinventing wheels that earth scientists had already not only invented but developed. Earth science also had the undeserved stigma of not having any modellers, people able to do complicated calculations. Those other disciplines had no idea how much computer power 3D structural geology modelling took or how much math there was in hydrology or how much thermodynamics in rocks and minerals.
(Not that I mind that those other disciplines have joined because they contribute their own insights.)
It takes time for new discoveries /ideas to grab hold.
There was a time – none of us were around back then – when some dudes started suggesting that the earth wasn’t flat, but round. They met with an incredible amount of resistance! They were banned, vilified, crucified, prosecuted. It was heresy! The earth was flat and that was that.
The notion that the earth isn’t flat has taken a very long time to sink in. I am sure there are still plenty of people who are unable to grasp that we are living on a large sphere. That doesn’t make them evil people. It doesn’t necessarily make them stupid people either.
It makes them HUMAN.
I have other examples. I am sure that the ones who think I am stupid when I say it isn’t stupid to talk with and listen to people who disagree on important issues occasionally get very drunk or pig out on food and then regret it deeply the next day.
They KNOW that they shouldn’t do it. They KNOW that they will get sick. They KNOW that they will regret it the next day. Yet, they still go ahead in spite of knowing all that. Why?
Because they are HUMAN.
To be human means to be fallible. None of us are perfect and none of us are 100% right about everything.
I have a personal example too. I love pasta but I’ve recently discovered that I seem to be allergic to wheat (not gluten-intolerant; that’s something else). So I get “punished” by my body for eating pasta. It’s taking me longer to stay away from wheat than is logical.
it’s like the dialogue with someone who does not believe in human-made climate change. My body says to me: “Do not eat pasta”. I keep responding: “But I like pasta!” I have the evidence, but I like pasta and it’s taking me a while to stop liking pasta and coming around to the idea that maybe I should stop liking pasta. The idea of not liking pasta any longer just seems … odd? My body says: “Eat gnocchi instead!” But I still haven’t fully made the switch.
I don’t know exactly how this works.
All I know is that it makes me HUMAN.
Why cut off communication simply because you don’t agree with someone about a topic as important as this? It is usually not a crime to disagree with someone.
I may be seeing something similar with nanoparticles. There may be people who don’t like it when I point out that we don’t have technologies yet for removing them from waste streams. Some may be thinking that if they don’t reply to me, I will go away, even though we literally used to sit at the same table in the past.
Are they thinking that if they ignore the fact that we don’t have technologies yet for removing them from waste streams long enough, it will go away? I am not saying that this will lead “to the end of the world”, but it does seem pretty stupid to me, with all that we’ve learned from all the mistakes we’ve made in the past, to keep barging ahead with new technologies before we’ve fully figured them out and mastered them.
Yes, progress is cool. Very! I get that! And Donald Trump digs coal. Really digging something isn’t always enough justification for doing it.
I don’t know who this
Watson Lawson person is, but I remember a British guy telling me, years ago, that he thought Britain was so small that nothing the British did or didn’t do would make a difference to the planet.
When all the people in the world say “I only have one dollar, so I can’t contribute much, so I won’t contribute” you end up with nothing yet when (almost) all people say “I only have one dollar, so it’s not much but that’s what I can contribute” you get a fortune!
If two or three people want to keep their dollar note to themselves, oh well. I don’t mind hearing what they did with their dollar. Because I know that what I did with my dollar.
But until it’s only two or three people, stopping the conversation does not seem a good idea to me.
In no way does any of the above translate in me saying “Go ahead, trash the planet.”
Do I wish I had much better answers? Hell, yeah! I wish I had a magic wand and could fix the entire planet with one graceful wave of my wand-holding hand. But I can’t. And I feel that the way I live, including all the plastic waste I produce, is horrible, just horrible. And it makes me despair at times.
Instead of buying new shelving, I paint and stack and sometimes first fix small tables I find thrown away along the streets. My microwave is a discard from someone else’s kitchen renovation. It stands on two small cardboard boxes. I catch the cold water when I run a shower till the water gets warm. But it’s too damn little.
Read up on people like Rachel Carson, too.
Sending me a stupid spoofed e-mail about a non-existing job in Germany doesn’t do anything for the planet either, whoever…
If you don’t get my stupid analogies, reader, that’s okay.
No, it is not embarrassing or bad to have dissenting views around the table and have a dialogue. it’s what grown-ups do in a democracy. (It’s also the sort of thing people like Donald Trump don’t do.)