Climate Change & Renewal If Possible

The years have passed since I showed Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth to my class at UofH & now he has an update.    Also see George Monbiot’s TED presentation “For More Wonder Rewild the World” if you want to envision our future as a “raucous summer” and not the silent spring predicted with climate change if we do nothing.  Check out his life story also!  What an adventuresome & activist journalist. Then watch E.O. Wilson on setting aside half the planet for wildlife.  Perhaps he inspired Monbiot…

Meanwhile, forest reestablishment and regrowth is a bright spot giving much hope.  “Restored Forests Breathe Life Into Efforts Against Climate Change.”

Here is a link to 10,000 links on ecology at The Eco Gateway.  For the scoop on the depth of our problems Climate Central is useful, and there are two lively historical graphics on the history of CO2 emissions and on temperature escalation.  Unless we can reign in overconsumption of fossil fuels we have a problem Houston.  As that seems to require a change in behavior I’m not optimistic but Al wants us to hope!  I think I’ll have to next read his book The Assault on Reason as I’m finishing up The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby.  Without reason we won’t change our ways, but we also have to tap into the right emotions to drive change and that means being close to nature and other species at a time when we’re increasingly disconnected from the natural world. Gore has a quote in his first chapter:

One of the world’s leading neuroscientists, Dr. Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, has written, “Our mental life is governed mainly by a cauldron of emotions, motives and desires which we are barely conscious of, and what we call our conscious life is usually an elaborate post hoc rationalization of things we really do for other reasons.” There are other mental structures that govern feelings and emotions, and these structures have a greater impact on decision making than logic and reason. Moreover, emotions have much more power to affect reason than reason does to affect emotions—particularly the emotion of fear. A scientist at Stony Brook University, Charles Taber, went so far as to say, “The Enlightenment model of dispassionate reason as the duty of citizenship is empirically bankrupt.”

One thought on “Climate Change & Renewal If Possible”

  1. Here is a related response from the “Feedback” section by my wonderful student Rain Daugherty:

    Good evening Professor Walker, I just read the following article that you suggested. I’m in awe at the situation we are in. History will not be kind to us, I’m afraid.

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-plan-to-defend-against-the-war-on-science/?WT.mc_id=SA_BS_20161014

    She’s on the mark at there is a good article covering much important territory, including the crucial need for scientific literacy. There is a conjunction between authoritarianism and its impact on progress and environmental degradation. Otto writes that “The vertical tension between experts and authoritarians helps explain what is going on in both the Republican Party and in the European Union with the Brexit vote and the rise of a new authoritarianism, and why it is so corrosive to science. The argument is between antiauthoritarians who support science and evidence, and authoritarians who have had enough of experts.”

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