The Other I

November 27, 2012

A challenge too big to talk about?

Filed under: Environmental Issues — theotheri @ 4:47 pm

I’ve just read a summary of a report commissioned by the United Nations into global warming.

The prospects for our planet in the next 80 years could be much much worse than I’d imagined.  I can see why people go around denying it.  It feels too horrendous to deal with.  So let’s live for now and let the future generations deal with it.

The future generations, though, are already born.  They are our children, and unquestionably our grandchildren.  And it is unlikely to be a small inconvenience for them.  It’s potentially drastic.  Potentially deadly.

I do know from psychological studies that we often simply repress news that we find intolerable.  No, I say, this cancer isn’t terminal;  no, my child is not retarded, no I don’t have an alcohol problem, or a drug addiction.  No, I say instead, science makes a lot of mistakes, and this is a mistake.

I also know that scientists and government officials have felt that scare stories about global warming are apt to be counter-productive for that reason, and so have soft-pedaled the most extreme possibilities.

And I do know – better than most – that science makes mistakes.  I also know that the research on global warming is by no means clear cut.  The climate is incredibly complex and convoluted, and is beyond the current reach of science to comprehend totally.  But we are taking a terrifying risk if we simply put all our eggs in the basket that science might be wrong.  We take out insurance against all kinds of things that science tells us have a far lower chance of happening.  We get vaccinations and take out health and life insurance — just in case in the unlikely event…

But global warming seems too big, too overwhelming, too complex etc.  I know it is.  I’m sitting here thinking that with the short years I have left in my life, if I can make even a small contribution to reducing environmental pollution and global warming, that’s what I would like to do.

But there seems so little I can do besides turn off the lights I’m not using, and install solar panels.

But believe me, that alone is not going to save the world.  Even if we all do it, it’s not enough.

I haven’t given up, but I don’t know the answer.

In my next post, I’ll summarize what the United Nations report says.  Look away now if you’d rather not know.


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