Saturday, November 07, 2015

Can we talk Climate Change in Rochester, New York now?

We couldn’t talk about Climate Change much during last week’s elections. (Which is odd because that’s the time when our leaders and our media are supposed to talk about important stuff.) Nevertheless, now that those elections are over and the Paris Climate Change Summit is coming up maybe we can talk about this crisis.

Paris may decide whether humanity dodges the climate bullet or not. So, at the very least shouldn’t we be talking about this issue now?
Climate Change seems to be a lot of things to a lot of people: Climate Change is just science. Climate Change is a moral issue. Climate Change is an economic issue. Climate Change isn’t an economic issue. Climate Change is a hoax perpetrated by some ‘idiots’ who want to socialize the world and take away everyone’s money. Climate Change is dreadful. Climate Change is boring. The oil giants mislead the public about the fossil fuel industries’ contributions to Climate Change. Climate Change is fixable. Climate Change is the end. Climate Change is the beginning of a fair and just world. Climate Change doesn’t have anything to do with folks in Rochester? Climate Change will affect every aspect of your life and everyone everywhere—including Rochesterians. Climate Change has always occurred. The present manmade Climate Change is like nothing that has happened in our planet’s history. We will find an app for Climate Change. We can put up a great big shield in the sky and stop Climate Change. If we pollute our air more, less sunlight will enter our atmosphere and make things cooler. Climate Change is like taking illegal drugs: before you took them, you had a lot of problems but after your hooked you have just one problem. There are a lot of other things more pressing than Climate Change.

Some of the above views are right, some are uninformed opinions, and some are sheer lunacy. But whether you like it or not, Climate Change is here in the room with us and we ought to talk about it because it’s not leaving. Bill Nye, the science guy, thinks talking about Climate Change is critical: 

Bill Nye demolishes climate deniers: “The single most important thing we can do now is talk about climate change.” In a Salon exclusive, the scientist discusses his new book, "Unstoppable," and the urgent need for climate action “To confront climate change, we all have to embrace two ideas. They are simple and familiar ideas, but that does not make them any less true. First: We are all in this together. Second: The longest journey begins with a simple step.” – Bill Nye On Nov. 10, Bill Nye will release a new book titled “Unstoppable.” As only Bill Nye can, he uses the book to explain the science behind climate change, debunks popular myths, and asks readers to take action in their own lives to create a sustainable future. The book is shot through with optimism, but Nye has no illusions about what lies ahead. The message is simple: Climate change is real; humans are causing it; and we have no choice but to build a better and cleaner world. (November 6, 2015) Salon

When we do talk about Climate Change should we set rules for how we talk about it? Should we only talk about it when it is unlikely to make others uncomfortable? Should we frame it only as an opportunity? Should we blame ourselves and everyone else for it? Should we be respectful—even if we are called bad names and get sticks thrown at us? Or, should we just talk about Climate Change and throw out the rule book?

Regardless of how we frame our discussions, Climate Change talks should take place in the open with lots of people around, during elections, during the holidays, at public forum, in any place where people gather.

Climate Change is not going away unless we make it go away but we cannot make it go away by trying to shut everyone up who tries to talk about it.


Time passes. 

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