Since reading Global Warming's Terrifying New Math and a few articles such as Earth facing imminent environmental ‘tipping point’ says report, where scientists plainly state "all ecosystems are nearing sudden and irreversible change that will not be conducive to human life" I've gone through my own personal tipping point. For years I've been among the "alarmed by climate change" population segment. However, now that the gloves are off, I can no longer compartmentalize.

Every topic and image make a connection to the overwhelming Ecological/Moral crisis into which we've begun to wade. I see a zombie image, and join Dark Atheists to post my fantasy of a Zombie Apocalypse political action against the Corporate Executives of Climate Change. I see an article on Teen gratitude and feel compelled to post about psychologists being out of touch with climate realities teens face. More and more, when I welcome new members, it makes sense to invite them to Eco-Logical, even if they've expressed no green values in their About Me.

In short, something has shifted inside of me, realigned.

Tags: applying science

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I think it's a great thing Ruth to educate others about the environment and climate change. It's wonderful that you are reaching out to new members to consider environmental issues.

By sudden, they meant "several generations". I think we all understood that to be true (at least, people who believe in global warming). I'm cynical; I don't think there is anything we can do about it, in our current capitalist mindset. It would take a royal smack in the face, maybe like the Hoover Dam drying up -- something that majorly affects our economy, reducing our global domestic $$$$ -- in order for anything to change.

Jonathan, I agree with you that something catastrophic will have to happen to make people realize how serious these changing events are. Hoover Dam drying up is a real possibility, or some such thing. More people losing their jobs and homes and lifestyles surely gets people's attention. 
My fear, and I see evidence of it all around me, people will do foolish, useless things. Kind of like calling in a rain maker, or scapegoating some innocent group, or mass prayers ... OH! these have already been going on! I think I make my point. 

Remedy?

Problems are too big for individuals or groups to overcome the forces that include corporate legal thievery and all branches of government bought and paid for by special interests. For me to feel stable, I need to face the problems realistically, honestly, no delusions or denial, no make-believe. Then keep my communication lines open with family, friends, neighbors, grow and preserve food, cut down on carbon production in my life, walk very carefully and thoughtfully on the Earth. If you have any ideas, I would love to read them.   

Well, Jonathan, it looks as if that royal smack in the face is immanent. You're hearing no doubt about the Arctic Death Spiral. Today I learned that Professor Peter Waldhams of Cambridge says the Arctic will be ice free in summer by 2015 or 2016. And The Cambridge University Sea ice researcher Nick Toberg says that's about the same as adding 20 years of CO2 at current [human-caused] rates into the atmosphere.

So my head's spinning. By 2015 or 2016 we'll be dumping a two decade load of carbon into the air in addition to our regular dangerous amounts.

Perhaps by 2017 it will be obvious to even the most adamant Climate Deniers that the world is out of control, just in time for us to not be able to stop it. Because by then our window of opportunity will be closed. Yeah we can still get our asses into gear and change from fossil fuel to green energy, and maybe even begin to limit overpopulation. But it will be too late because the postive feedbacks will be in full swing.

There will be no going back to a safe liveable planet.

Ruth, Powerfully stated, excellent referrals, there is no relying on myths or historical records or memories. This is an example of remembering the future, an Ed Lindaman phrase. 

Thanks, Joan.

I've been reading denialist attempts to downplay the dangers of the Arctic Death Spiral. One Denialist reassurance is

...two previous interglacial periods were warmer than the Holocene.

Clearly, warming periods release large quantities of methane trapped in frozen marine and terrestrial sediments. Yet in none of the previous interglacials — including the two that were warmer than the present — did warming produce a self-perpetuating, climate de-stabilizing spike in atmospheric methane levels.

from Should We Fear the Methane Time Bomb (Part Deux)?

This isn't convincing to me because those interglacials had no human CO2 input, only slow natural greenhouse gas production. That makes them like a control group, whereas the Anthropocene Era is an experimental group, with much faster than natural CO2 and methane injection, plus some man made trace gases that are very powerful. The Vostock data say the previous integlacials CO2 and methane weren't as high as current levels.

Present-day atmospheric burdens of these two important greenhouse gases seem to have been unprecedented during the past 420,000 years.

Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the ...

The second reassurance Denialists offer is that bacteria will eat the excess methane. I don't know if we have any data on how much gets consumed in the ocean when subsea deposits melt. I do know that flyovers of areas where such melting occurs find elevated methane levels in the air. Methane bubbles rise fairly quickly through water.

It's not like the Gulf oil spill where the oil stays in the water to be consumed slowly by bacteria.

Perhaps a little will be consumed by bacteria.

Yes Ruth, this is a critical time, important changes take place in so many areas of our lives. Your writing is so powerful, and your intensity sincere, it causes people to stop and think. Some with curiosity, others with fear, still too many don't see what you see. Stress, anxiety, fear, confusion ... where will this all end? A valid and responsible question. 

It seems to me there are so many things out of control, the population grows crazier with all kinds of magic talk, denial talk, delusion talk, and all these responses seem foolish and stupid and worthless. Given the reality that a lot of bad things happen now, this year, this decade, this century, in order to stay sane and feel as stable as possible, I try to keep focused on what I intend to do. You know better than most my goals; you do better than most getting the word out in ways that others hear and think and maybe make some changes. Your talent to inform and enlighten inspires me. Your writings mean a great deal to me and I want you to know how important you are in my life. 

Thanks for the kudos, Joan. I'm honored.

The Climate Change debate is just like the Evolution debate. The evidence does not seem to matter to most people, they believe what is most convenient for them. Opinions are easy to hold, knowledge is hard to acquire, and like evolution, climate change is difficult to understand in full detail so people would rather listen to some charismatic ass-hat who tells them what to believe.

 

It's is funny how the same people who resort to Pascal's Wager in the name of religion, and say, "Think of the consequences if you are wrong!" will not do so on climate change. It's only the Earth, the planet we live on, no big whoop, so let's consider the econmics first... grrrrrr. It's infuriating.

Thankfully, science to the rescue. There are many CO2 sequestering technologies on the rise that will bail us out (I hope). Much like the Haber method prevented mass starvation, and the development of high yield dwarf wheat prevented another possible world shaking famine, science is our only way out.

Dan, powerfully stated. I like your reference to Pascal's Wager and how its use for salvation does not extend to  hunger, climate change, diseases, poverty, fascism of all kinds. 

Thanks!

Even though mechanisms behind Pascal's Wager are based on faith, I've actually seen this argument presented on an environmental activist perspective. It made sense to me, but not the attitude of presenting what is essentially a guessing game as fact. It goes something like this:

If global warming is real:
Worst case: Global chaos, rising sea levels wipe out a third of habitable land mass, destroying water sources. Bio-diversity drastically decreases, dangerous pathogens are on the rise. Unpredictable weather causes permanent drought in some areas of the world.
Best case: We develop the technologies necessary to combat global warming, steps are taken to prevent irreversible damage that might require stringent guidelines, lowering corporate profit, lowering our standards of living. The industries destroyed by these limits will gradually be replaced by a new set of industries based around global warming, and evetually human innovation will prevail. It might even be said that we go into depression because of the spending, just to make this more "fair".

If global warming is not real:
Worst case: It cost us trillions of dollars to research the idea, our bank accounts get thinner, and our standards of living go down, causing an extended worldwide depression, big government expenditures, and hyper-inflation.
Best case: We lose some money but gain a better understanding of the world. The government is a little depper in debt, corporate profits are less than they should be, but no lasting damage occur.

As the wager goes, the Democratic doomsday scenario is clearly worse than the Republican doomsday scenario. I think even if global warming is fundamentally sound, this is poor argument form.

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