Talking Climate Change

I want to suggest some things to keep in mind when talking climate change. See also my 8-18-18 letter in the LA Times. There’s a lot more to say on all of this, and I will keep coming back to it, but here’s a start.

  • Let’s not cover the deniers anymore, or attempt to counter invalid arguments. I’m not suggesting a monolithic universal-agreement approach. There’s plenty of room for disagreement and debate here. But it can be about addressing the problem; about what to do next and how to do it.
  • Of course we need to talk about adapting to this changing climate. But let’s continue to talk about reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. How many tons of GHG emissions can we reduce with car and truck and train and ship standards?  With more renewable energy? Let’s not give up on trying to stave off the worst potential effects of climate change.
  • Let’s highlight environmental and climate success stories. My favorite lately is the story of the California Sea Star.  Imagine that a species could evolve this quickly for survival. Who knew this could even happen in this kind of a time frame? We shouldn’t overstate successes. But we do need some rays of hope to keep us going.

I loved the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins when I was in high school.  There was a quote I loved in particular:  “And for all this, nature is never spent;  There lives the dearest freshness deep down things…”

These words make me wince when I see them again.  Because of course nature is spent. We are wearing nature out. But I guess we need to find that “dearest freshness” wherever we can, and treasure it.


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