Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Trying to communicate Climate Change over the din of Super denials

The collective human reaction to Climate Change in the US can be characterized as dysfunctional. I use ‘dysfunctional’ in the sense that our collective reaction to the Climate Change threat is not normal for a functional species—a species intent on survival. Whether most folks in the United States understand Climate Change, or ‘think’ they understand Climate Change, we aren’t really addressing it in any meaningful way.

To ‘get’ Climate Change in a meaningful way would be to see a massive turnaround in how our media, politics, and our culture itself reacts to the most troubling issue of this century. Only a top-down, that is, leadership from government s around the world will bring down our greenhouse gas concentrations in our atmosphere to a level that won’t threaten our ability to survive. That is not even close to happening. We need to find a way to communicate this issue that is like no other challenge the human species has ever faced. Never had we had to change human behavior instantly on a planetary scale to survive.

This conversation between Andrew C. Revkin, science communicator/reporter at Dot Earth Blog - NYTimes.com and Nobel Prize winning physics Murray Gell-Mann about the difficulties of communicating the science of Climate Change to the public highlights one of the problems. Does the US public understand the basic physics of Climate Change or not: Can Better Communication of Climate Science Cut Climate Risks? - NYTimes.com. You ought to read this piece and watch the films clips as the whole conversation is rather amusing, amusing in the way absurdity is used in Vonnegut’s Slaughter House Five is amusing. We can laugh at our propensity for self-destruction, but not in a happy, joyful way.

Another way in which the US public is reacting in a dysfunctional way to the Climate Change crisis is through our politics. The presidential elections should be a time when important matters are discussed so the public can decide which candidate will be the best choice to solve those matters. I know even this is a pie-in-the-sky interpretation of what actually goes on during a presidential election, but this election season will be multiples of factors worse than our usual state of political ineptitude.

The 2012 presidential election will be dominated by a sound and fury about a lot of things that don’t matter, a few things that do matter, and nothing about Climate Change which will signify our country’s total inability to do anything to address it. This time around the vicious cycle of absurdity that surrounds our politics will be the roar of idiocy from the political action committees or Super PAC s. That’s political action committees with the word ‘super’ in front, where limitless amounts of money can be spent on lying for a candidate as long as the candidate isn’t orchestrating that money, and no disclosure of who is providing that money for a long time after the ads.

Super PAC’s are the Supreme Court’s way of saying Big money is far more important than Little people in the US. And thank goodness somebody is taken on the Super PACs.
Stephen Colbert May Run for President, Talks to George Stephanopoulos Running for president is hard work. But for comedian Stephen Colbert, who announced his plans to "explore" a presidential bid in South Carolina earlier this week, it's not the long hours of campaigning or the intense public scrutiny that weighed against his decision to run, it was giving up control of his Super PAC. "To do this exploratory committee, I had to give away my Super PAC," Colbert told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview Sunday morning on "This Week." "That's my baby. Do you know how hard it is to give away a baby? Now imagine if that baby had a whole lot of money. Imagine how much harder that would be to give away." (January 15, 2012) ABCNews.com
Here’s why that is important: The din created by the ads created by Super PAC will overshadow any discussion on Climate Change, and likely any other issue not popular in the 1%’s self-serving attitude towards a systems of laissez faire Capitalism that got our economy and environment in the deplorable state it is presently in. Don’t think there is an effort to suppress the public’s understanding of the world-wide Climate Change crisis? Check out how our children’s classrooms will be the next stage for crippling our country’s effort to educate the public on Climate Change:
Climate change becomes a flash point in science education - latimes.com Some states have introduced education standards requiring teachers to defend the denial of man-made global warming. A national watchdog group says it will start monitoring classrooms. Reporting from Washington— A flash point has emerged in American science education that echoes the battle over evolution, as scientists and educators report mounting resistance to the study of man-made climate change in middle and high schools. Although scientific evidence increasingly shows that fossil fuel consumption has caused the climate to change rapidly, the issue has grown so politicized that skepticism of the broad scientific consensus has seeped into classrooms. (January 16, 2012) Los Angeles Times
We are so going to cook.

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