Posts Tagged ‘Transition Culture’
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
I came across this wonderful quotation on a blogsite called Wibble! It was a comment to a post with the compelling title of It is vitally important not to make connections and explains that the quote was made by Dr. Seuss in the film The Lorax.
For me that quotation sums up how I would like to reply to not only my dear friend, Dan Gomez, who is a denialist of anthropogenic climate change, as last Monday’s Post illustrated, but also to skeptics everywhere else.
I should also add the important qualifier that I am neither a scientist nor have any expert skills in the relevant areas. But, then again, neither does Dan. He and I are both citizens of Planet Earth with a passion for the truth.
So where to go from here? There is no question that the Earth’s climate is complex and endeavouring to understand ’cause and effect’ relies heavily on mathematical models. But many complex aspects of our world are treated similarly, therefore so what! Dan and I share with millions of others a lack of scientific competence, ergo we have to be rely on the scientific views expressed by those who do have the scientific competencies.
Would one challenge the competence of Scientific American magazine, that in an article on March 18, 2007, (five years ago!) opened thus,
Paris–The signs of global climate change are clear: melting glaciers, earlier blooms and rising temperatures. In fact, 11 of the past 12 years rank among the hottest ever recorded.
and continued later with this, [my emboldening]
For example, after objections by Saudi Arabia and China, the report dropped a sentence stating that the impact of human activity on the earth’s heat budget exceeds that of the sun by fivefold. “The difference is really a factor of 10,” says lead author Piers Forster of the University of Leeds in England: compared with its historical output, the sun currently contributes an extra 0.12 watt of energy for each square meter of the earth’s surface, whereas man-made sources trap an additional 1.6 watts per square meter.
Or what ‘influence’ might be at play when the British newspaper The Guardian reported earlier this year that,
Wall Street Journal rapped over climate change stance
Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
The Wall Street Journal has received a dressing down from a large group of leading scientists for promoting retrograde and out-of-date views on climate change. In an opinion piece run by the Journal on Wednesday, nearly 40 scientists, including acknowledged climate change experts, took on the paper for publishing an article disputing the evidence on global warming.
The offending article, No Need to Panic About Global Warming, which appeared last week, argued that climate change was a cunning ploy deployed by governments to raise taxes and by non-profit organisations to solicit donations to save the planet.
It was signed by 16 scientists who don’t subscribe to the conventional wisdom that climate change is happening and is largely man-made – but as Wednesday’s letter points out, many of those who signed don’t actually work in climate science.
Later in that article Suzanne writes, referring to the 40 scientists, [again, my emboldening]
The letter goes on to note that some 97% of researchers who actively publish on climate science agree that climate change is real and caused by humans. It concludes: “It would be an act of recklessness for any political leader to disregard the weight of evidence and ignore the enormous risks that climate change clearly poses.”
There’s much, much more evidence that shows that the science is clear – mankind is risking the future viability of this planet for the species homo sapiens and countless other species!
One of the important points made by Dan in that Post last Monday was about the book, written by Senator James Inhofe, The Greatest Hoax. Dan wrote, “This is all about money and power, not weather.“
There are a number of independent websites across the world where one can quickly research the credentials and background by name of any person. Try Skeptical Science as an example. A quick enquiry using Senator Inhofe’s name came up with this: Quotes by James Inhofe – Climate Myth/What the Science Says. Read It! And read this on the website Think Progress. There are other websites where one can do that type of research.
In an email just a day ago, Dan wrote, “My message/warning remains the same: “Follow the Money”. When the “End-of-the-World” is the message, what politician can resist?” If only it was that easy.
OK, I’m going to start rounding this all off by first asking you to watch this 4-minute video that I came across thanks to Pedantry’s blogsite Wibble.
Next I’m going to repeat something that I have previously mentioned on Learning from Dogs. There’s a saying in the aviation industry, “If there’s any doubt, there’s no doubt!” That saying underpins the culture that has turned commercial air transport into one of the safest means of travel in history.
Let’s ponder that idea of doubt.
There is no question that there is a great deal of doubt. Back in 2010 Gallup Poll reported that ”42% of adults worldwide who see global warming as a threat to themselves and their families in 2010 hasn’t budged in the last few years“.
Would you get into a commercial airliner to fly from ‘a’ to ‘b’ if 42% of the passengers saw the flight as a threat to themselves? No, of course not!
So one certainly wouldn’t fly then if 62% thought it was risky! From here,
The newest study from the National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change, which is a biannual survey taken since fall 2008 and organized by the Brookings Institute, shows that 62 percent of Americans now believe that man-made climate change is occurring, and 26 percent do not. The others are unsure.
So back to the theme that started this Post. For the sake of all of us on this planet, for all our children and grandchildren and beyond, we need to start caring deeply about the future, changing our life-styles in as many ways as we can and demanding that our politicians and leaders are similarly committed to the future.
Not because the future is anything like certain – but to reduce the risks of a global catastrophy. I have a grandson who will be one-year-old on March 21st. I want to be certain that he has a viable life ahead of him for many, many years. That means caring ‘a whole awful lot‘, letting hope motivate me to change, and recognising that change is already taking place, as the following trailer so superbly demonstrates.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
A wonderful enlightened approach to the challenges facing our beautiful planet.
Rob Hopkins is a remarkable fellow. In so many ways he is the most unlikely person to have kicked off almost single-handedly, a gathering world-wide revolution.
He is the co-founder of Transition Town Totnes and of the Transition Network. This grew out of many years experience in education, teaching permaculture and natural building, and setting up the first 2 year full-time permaculture course in the world, at Kinsale Further Education College in Ireland, as well as co-ordinating the first eco-village development in Ireland to be granted planning permission.
He is author of ‘The Transition Handbook: from oil dependence to local resilience’, which has been published in a number of languages, and which was voted the 5th most popular book taken on holiday by MPs during the summer of 2008, and more recently of ‘The Transition Companion: making your community more resilient in uncertain times’, published in October 2011. He publishes the blog www.transitionculture.org, recently voted ‘the 4th best green blog in the UK’(!). He tweets as @robintransition, and and recently came 11th in the PeerIndex-driven Sustainability Drivers List.
I am as guilty as the next person in promoting ‘doom and gloom’ when it comes to what mankind is doing to this planet. I devoted a couple of thousand words to that theme in a guest sermon that appeared on Learning from Dogs a week ago. That’s not to say that unless mankind, in the millions, changes in significant ways then avoiding a catastrophy to our species, and many others, is going to be hugely difficult.
But motivating us all to change is far better undertaken from a position of positive guidance and inspiration, than out of fear!
So when Jean and I listened to a recent BBC radio broadcast by Rob as part of the BBC Radio 4 Four Thought series we were blown away by the guidance and inspiration that Rob presented.
This is how the BBC introduces the programme,
Rob Hopkins, co-founder of the Transition Culture movement, believes that “engaged optimism” is the best way to face the global challenges of the future, be it climate change, oil supplies running out or the economic downturn. He believes initiatives enabling people to produce their own goods and services locally – from solar powered bottled beer to micro currencies like the Brixton pound – are the best way to build community resilience. Four Thought is a series of talks in which speakers give a personal viewpoint recorded in front of an audience at the RSA in London.
Producer: Sheila Cook.
So do listen to the programme and then click across to the Transition Culture website where Rob has posted a transcript of his talk. Please, whatever your plans today find time to listen to the programme and read the transcript. Here’s how Rob closes his talk,
I often end talks I give with Arundhati Roy’s quote “another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing”. I think we might adapt her quote, so that, in the context of this bottom-up drive for more resilient communities, communities better prepared for uncertain times, it is not only a case of hearing another world breathing, but being able to see her around us, already setting up local businesses, reviving her local economy, setting up bakeries, breweries, food hubs, mentoring scores of young people with business ideas, attracting inward social investment finance, creating the models whereby people can invest in their communities and see them being strengthened and supported.
That’s why I get out of bed in the morning, because I feel that the potential in our getting this right is so exquisite that it’s all I can do, and because the grim predictability of what will happen if we do nothing is just unthinkable, especially in relation to the challenge of climate change. If we are able to turn things around on the scale we need to turn them around on, to replace vulnerability, carbon intensity and fragility with resilience, it will be an achievement our children will tell tales about, sing songs about. I hope I am there to hear them. Thank you.
Another world is on her way!