“Here's a possible solution to the big "mystery" about why we're getting nowhere with this issue: at the heart of the problem is a communications blunder of epic proportions. Scientists, environmentalists, and the rest of us need to start speaking in terms more people can accept - and feel compelled to take personal responsibility for. Why not try shifting the focus away from "global warming" and "climate change" and instead cut straight to the bottom line: it's not global warming that's the problem, it's POLLUTION. Pollution is causing a whole host painfully tangible environmental problems (not the least of which is global warming), and that's what we need to stay focused on. That pollution is harmful to human health and the health of the planet is not something that requires vast amounts of data to comprehend. By starting from the standpoint of the personal and human-scale (rather than the quick-to-overwhelm global scale) detrimental effects of pollution in general, we stand a much better chance of reaching the people we hope will join us in the effort to build a healthier, cleaner world.
“here's a wild idea - eliminate points #2 and #3 by shifting the discussion AWAY from "climate science", and TOWARDS the issue of the harmful effects of POLLUTION on human and environmental health. pollution, after all, is the ultimate CAUSE of the stress on the environment that is causing climate change - if it even exists - and if it DOESN'T exist, we STILL need to deal with the problem of pollution. no scientific evidence whatsoever is necessary to understand that with increasing global population we are going to need to become much better stewards of our planet in order to coexist.
as for point #1 - there needs to be a broad information campaign such as the one put forth during WWII - "use it up, wear it out, make it do - or do without". however, as long as we continue to base our economy on the wastefulness of the population (americans in particular use - on average - twice as many resources as europeans and four times as much as asians) there will NEVER be legislative initiative that benefits the climate or addresses pollution. change is going to need to be a grassroots movement led by a society who wakes up and realizes that spending its way out of a recession is illogical, and starts to invent other more sustainable, efficient, and healthier ways to survive.
“excellent news - thanks!! just favorited "trees for the future" on facebook.
another related initiative: the "use half now" group on facebook is running a seed collection campaign to benefit haitian farmers and families. anyone who has extra (non-hybrid, preferably organically grown) seeds they'd be willing to donate can be sent directly to:
“prince is correct as far as the music industry is concerned - the old "get signed by a label" model is over, and a decent new model has yet to emerge. when you publish your music to iTunes, you completely lose control of it - you have no idea where they send it or how much money they actually make on it, compared to the few cents per song you may or may not end up getting. there is currently no good model for self-publishing music to one's own website so that you can sell it to visitors at the click of a button and reap most of the profits. if i had the means that prince has, rather than dis the entire internet, i'd take the opportunity to develop that new model. this is a start-up waiting to happen.
“i'm not really clear on how a bunch of pictures of the number 350 are really helping the environment much at all. did those people have to drive or fly to attend those rallies?? what about a campaign to actually get people off fossil fuels?? the underlying problem is NOT, after all, climate change - climate change is caused by POLLUTION - POLLUTION is the problem we need to solve in order to solve climate change. a lot of people don't believe in climate change - but there isn't anyone who doesn't realize that pollution is a detriment to one's own health, and that of the planet.
“fascinating information, DK, thank you. in addition to the things that government agencies need to be doing to protect the grid, it seems it would be prudent for those of us who have found ourselves in highly "developed" countries to consider what it would take to become more self-sufficient. we might look to indigenous wisdom traditions - peoples around the world who still live in simple ways without reliance on technology, to permaculture and food forestry techniques, and to ways that we could begin to make small personal shifts toward greater independence and responsibility for ourselves and our communities. we could certainly be using the electronic technology we've got available to us now to gather the most useful information, so that we don't have to reinvent "appropriate technologies" later - so we won't have to go all the way back to 5000 BC!
“couldn't agree more with andrew winston - that speech was so bad, it's scary. the one thing we used to be able to count on obama for was inspiring speeches. the absence of leadership was chilling. the man clearly has absolutely no idea of the scope of the problem - this should have been a national/international call to action. if he wanted to reference WWII, why not throw in the massive "use it up, wear it out, make it do...or do without" campaign?? then, to put the icing on the cake, he resorts to telling us we're in god's hands?? what makes him think that god has any interest in helping a bunch of spoiled, greedy, filthy parasites?? so much for leadership. we're on our own, folks.
“His words missed the mark and you weren't inspired, it was a speech not a defining moment for the man or his Presidency.
Why would anyone equate one speech with ones awareness and competency is beyond me?
We lack facts and answers to nagging questions, the why's and why nots. Should we think the President is as much in the dark as we are because of that? He could have addressed some of those this evening; he could have said a lot. To call him a failure for not saying what you wanted to hear does not mean he hasn't said it publicly before, or that he doesn't think it?
President Obama is an intelligent man, we have no idea what facts have been privy to him alone. He was off the mark tonight, not enough of a reason for me to change my opinion of the man let alone question his leadership.
One would have to be pretty oblivious to their surroundings not to be aware of the years of heartache, devastation and irreversible damage still to come. President Obama is not a man who walks around with blinders. He does not lack empathy for what has been another crisis for the region and still to be a crisis for others.”
“DK, i hope you are correct. "common sense" and "sensible analysts" have become rare, having been all but made extinct by voracious greed and quest for profit. thankfully, there are many things individuals can do right now to speed your vision along:
1. move money out of 401K plans and other investment packages that invest money your for you, invisibly, into anything deemed profitable, regardless of the level of risk or damage to the environment. find out where your money is, and begin investing it in healthier ways (whether it be moving thousands into wind power, or spending $10 at your local farm stand instead of at fast food conglomerates).
2. begin to simply use less of all resources. western civilization has become accustomed to a lifestyle of excessive waste. learn to appreciate and feel rewarded by positive, healthy, less-wasterful behavior. most people would hardly notice a dent in their "comfort level" if they strived only to eliminate excess waste (don't heat or cool unused rooms, hold meetings via video skype rather than flying when possible, etc).
May 29, 2010 at 10:27:55
“mark, GREAT piece!! you featured my sonic fabric (a textile woven from recycled cassette tape http://www.sonicfabric.com) in MAKE magazine a few years ago. i just published an article with a remarkably similar sentiment to this one over at truthout. "makers: DIY agents of social change" http://www.truthout.org/makers-diy-agents-social-change59919 happy to be tuned in to a similar wavelength - if everyone could realize the power of their own acts of personal creativity, we'd have a shot at transforming this world for the better.”
"Forty-one years ago, Buckminster Fuller published his “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth: A Bold Blueprint for Survival that Diagnoses the Causes of the Environmental Crisis”. In it, he claimed humanity would not survive the 21st century if it continued to build an economy based on mass consumption, inequitable trade relations, short-sighted allocation of fossil based resources, and lack of consideration for holistic systems.
A decade later, Jimmy Carter gave his “Crisis of Confidence” speech during which he famously said, “We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One is a path I've warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure.”
Right this very moment, scientists and citizens who recognize that we are quite a ways down the path that leads to failure – failure of our society to find common ground, and to care for that ground – are in the midst of a teachable moment. And we are bungling it."”
“i guess it all depends on your definition of "prosperity" - my definition has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the dow jones industrial average, or with my ability to participate in consumerism - it has much more to do with a sense of striving for personal and social happiness. i would argue that western culture in general would do well to consider retrofitting itself into something that benefits individuals more than corporations and emphasizes practices that ethical, responsible, and sustainable - all the way from the individual up to the national level.
“but peter there IS something that will convince people, that thus far scientists and most others have overlooked! we need to stop trying to convince people that climate change data is real, and instead present the public with something irrefutable, something that takes no data whatsoever to know is true - the bottom line is that it's POLLUTION that's the problem. how can people be expected to understand that their actions are unhealthy to the planet, when they can barely understand that their actions are unhealthy to their own bodies and those of their children? scientists (and the rest of us) need to look at the social construction of the issue, and take another tack if they (we) hope to be heard. more on this in my article: http://www.truthout.org/change-is-dead-long-live-change57879”
MrSparrow on May 12, 2010 at 08:23:02
“Absolutely agree with you mrs. obvious, and that's me a supposed denier! What gets me truly upset about the new environmental push is that it simplifies pollution by deamonizing one gas. It is obvious to anyone that isn't being simply reactionary that our present system of living is unsustainable, out of balance, headed to destruction, etc. etc. But rather than engage the public on real problems such trade agreements that put our money and labor overseas (and associated pollution out of sight and mind), and that our economy is forever consumed with the question of how to make people by more stuff that they don't need with resources that are not unlimited. And now being green can mean buying a green car, fridge soap or t-shirt? More business as usual. . .”
“"The debate on climate change needs to end immediately and we need to begin focusing on ways to build a healthier society instead. How can anyone be expected to believe that their actions cause damage to the planet when they have difficulty accepting that their actions have immediate effects on their own personal health and that of their children? No additional scientific evidence is necessary to prove that lack of exercise, poor eating habits and exposure to polluted environments cause obesity, cancer, depression and a host of other diseases, or that general lack of good education contributes systemically to the problem. Even when we do know better, we sometimes continue to repeat unhealthy behaviors because, as it happens, unhealthy options are often most convenient, habitual, and because our entire culture is bent towards perpetuating them. If we are unwilling to make the connection between our actions and our physical health, it is firstly because we have other seemingly more pressing concerns, and secondly because it wouldn't do us any good if we don't believe we can afford to make the necessary changes anyway."