Welcome to Gaia! :: View User's Journal | Gaia Journals


View User's Journal

~ Colours on my fingertips - Another world right here in Scarlet ~
Climate Change
By ALBERT NERENBERG, Freelance October 23, 2009

When friends found out I was writing a column for The Gazette about the future of climate change, they immediately laughed.

"What? The positive side of climate change?"

I laughed, too. What a ridiculous idea. But then something happened.

I may be a Laughologist, but I hadn't planned on writing anything upbeat for the simple reason I think the situation is deadly serious. It's hard to find jokes in it. In fact, when Tim Flannery, one of the world's leading climate-change experts, comes out with a book titled Now or Never, I have to agree.

We have a matter of years to rein in carbon dioxide or we face major consequences, possibly within our lifetimes and almost certainly within the lifetimes of our children.

I am not a practising environmentalist, a friend of David Suzuki or a fan of Al Gore, and I'd like to deny the existence of climate change. Who wouldn't? Denying it would make life so much easier. Part of me wants all of this to be a dream. But it isn't. It's time to wake up.

I know climate change is taking place because I can feel it in my guts. You don't need to be a weatherman or a climatologist to know which way the wind blows. All you have to do is go outside. Intense thunderstorms, weird winters, hurricanes, months of rain, flooding, drought in southern regions - they're all signs of more energy in the atmosphere due to warming. Like the opening of a Hollywood disaster movie, these changes are being noted all over the world by scientists, politicians and people who just look out their windows. The government of the low-lying Maldives just convened its parliament underwater to alert the world to the country's coming predicament.

It's showtime.

Denial campaigns backed by big oil are floating the idea that cooler, rainier weather lately means climate change is slowing down or maybe not happening at all. The opposite is true. Most new climate science says that if anything, overall climate change could well be accelerating. The weather seems cooler in northern climes for a simple reason - more heat, more condensation.

Some of the most convincing proof just came out of Canada. A study on Baffin Island conducted by five Canadian and U.S. universities, published this week in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says the current Arctic heat wave is unprecedented in the last 200,000 years. Meaning what is happening now doesn't have a remotely recent natural precedent. We are in unknown climactic territory, living a science-fiction storyline.

So where is the bright side, you ask? Well, weirdly, there really might be one. Consider:

We're all in this together. If there has ever been something that can potentially unite all humanity in a common cause, this is it. If climate change gets fully out of control, it will be a disaster for everyone. No exceptions. If entire ecological systems fail and the oceans die, as some have predicted, there will be nowhere to hide. You can't breathe money.

Although climate change has the potential to foment discontent, war and disaster, it could also drive ingenuity, productivity and unprecedented human co-operation.

It already has.

The green economy. There are incredible side benefits to fighting climate change. Imagine, for example, if all the cars and trucks in Montreal went electric. The city would immediately become not just less polluted but quieter and friendlier. If you think Montreal is cool now, imagine a Montreal without choking exhaust and the constant roar of engines.

A green economy would yield many benefits in lower stress levels, and productivity.

Climate change is not your fault. Although climate-change arguments often sound accusatory, guilt can be paralyzing. The greenhouse effect really began taking shape during the Industrial Revolution. According to Flannery, "Climate change probably started in the '70s" - meaning it was already in effect before most of us knew there was a problem.

Of course, we know now. It will most certainly be our fault if we just let climate change continue. We risk being the biggest jerks who ever lived. Why should we expect the next generation to look after us in our golden years? When they find out we knowingly stole their futures, we'll be lucky they don't roll us off cliffs.

Make love, not emissions. You'll never guess what is a fantastic killer of emissions. I'm not talking about hybrid cars, windmills or solar panels.

It's the recession.

The International Energy Agency recently announced the current recession caused a three-per-cent drop in emissions.

That's big. Obviously, the recession is a bad thing, but perhaps it points the way toward a vision of the future. It's the high-octane human economies that are driving climate change. One of the solutions is for humans to just relax.

Instead of working ourselves to death in a pollution frenzy, we should stay home. Watch movies, garden, read books, play with our kids, take a nap. Basically make love, not emissions.

Yes, we'd be poorer, but we'd be happier.

This seems like a crazy idea, given our debt-oriented, shopping-obsessed, work-

focused society. But if there was a way for the modern industrial world to work half as much, we'd be home free.

This is solvable. Although it sometimes seems like an impossible task, climate change is solvable. All we have to do is seriously lower the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Of course, this is more complicated than it sounds. There are massive campaigns on how to do this.

In fact, a very focused campaign called 350.org (http://www.350.org) has a day of action tomorrow. Its aim? Get carbon dioxide in the atmosphere below 350 parts per million. It is now at 384. The feeling is that getting below 350 could stave off dangerous climate chaos.

There are many ways to do it. None are easy, but it most definitely is possible.

Given the gravity of the situation, the human response so far has been half-assed. Relatively speaking, a tiny amount of money, time and effort have gone into what many call "the greatest challenge to ever face humanity."

What if we really got it into gear?

Important links for the one who wants to help:

A small thing can go a long way. Just say the word, it matters a lot.


User Image
Visit my nifty DeviantArt.

All images and icons © http://xxscarletbutterflyxx.deviantart.com


Community Member
« Prev Week | Next Week »
Archive | Home

  • 10/25/09 to 10/18/09 (1)
    Manage Your Items
    Other Stuff
    Get GCash
    Get Items
    More Items
    Where Everyone Hangs Out
    Other Community Areas
    Virtual Spaces
    Fun Stuff
    Gaia's Games
    Play with GCash
    Play with Platinum