Sixty-three percent of those polled in the US also support the scientific consensus, which is down 7% last year, and only about 50% of those who support the consensus think humans are causing it, according to Yale School of Forestry.
“Our world appears to be on the brink of disaster, an appearance that is itself disastrous. The disaster of disaster is that disaster is everywhere, all the time: while on the one hand it appears obvious that disaster should be the exception that proves the rule of a generally non-disastrous world, in actuality no non-disastrous moment arrives.”
Timothy Morton, “Romantic Disaster Ecology: Blake, Shelley, Wordsworth.”
Why waiting for peak this or that and waiting for doom and gloom is a bad strategy. Capitalists and technologists continuously find ways to circumvent "limits" and "barriers." We need to take on the inequalities and socio-ecological harms the fossil fuel economy creates, rather than wait for the system to implode. They're not waiting.
Awesome web design and a cool way to perceive the vast distance between the planets.
Should we bring animals back from extinction? The how to do it is within our grasp. Stewart Brand has a good rundown of the argument, science, and politics involved. I believe that in 100-years time it will seem funny that we even debated this. Still, intentional geo, bio, and eco-engineering frightens, and irks, some as hubris.
The global warming meme is this web of cultural expressions about the human relationship with nature (Harmony), with one another (Cooperation), and the threat of extinction for the human race (Survival) that evokes a wide diversity of sentiments about expert authority and political power (Elitism).
And yet the core themes of the global warming meme evoke exactly this kind of crippling anxiety. Are we out of harmony with nature? Is it going to kill off everyone we have ever loved? Does this mean there is something wrong with us? Who has the audacity to claim that humans have the power of gods to shape the planet in such profound ways? Questions like these cause people to react defensively or shut out the conversation entirely. Our research shows that these are the questions that arise when climate memes enter the minds of people, explaining why both denialists and advocates respond so strongly to the different threats they perceive from the global warming meme.
This is why global warming won’t go viral. It is psychologically toxic to the human mind and won’t spread on its own.
Worth a look at this study and their conclusions about what could be done to further the conversation of global climate change and specific action.
A new store in Chico, CA called The Patriot. This store specializes in "Emergency Food and Supplies" as well as precious metal exchange. You can buy all your supplies to get you through the coming (political, climate, civil, Obama, etc) apocalypse. People will capitalize on anything.
"The skeptics are quite right when they say that the history of humanity is one long succession of missed opportunities. Fortunately, thanks to the inexhaustible generosity of the imagination, we erase faults, fill in lacunae as best we can, forge passages through blind alleys that will remain stubbornly blind, and invent keys to doors that have never even had locks." Jose Saramago, The Elephant's Journey, 2008
A new article by Clive Hamilton argues that climate change reveals the long Western notion of the separation of humans from nature (nature/culture dualism) to be a sham. Climate change, he argues, lays bare that humans are and always have been embedded within natural systems, which at this point in time, we are so entangled we cannot epistemologically and ontologically separate the two. Hamilton writes,
Climate science is now telling us that such a separation can no longer be sustained, that the natural and the human are mixed up, and their influences cannot be neatly distinguished.
This is an idea that has been circulating in environmental history (William Cronon) and political and urban political ecology (e.g. Nik Heynen, Maria Kaika, and Erik Swengedouw, among many others). Recently, the hybrid thesis is moving into mainstream writing with the help from writers like Emma Marris.
Hamilton declares the social sciences to be on the way out. Why? He argues that since nature and society are not separate categories there is no longer a need for a dedicated social science. He writes,
So the advent of the Anthropocene shatters the self-contained world of social analysis that is the terrain of modern social science, and explains why those intellectuals who remain within it find it impossible to “analyze” the politics, sociology or philosophy of climate change in a way that is true to the science. They end up floundering in the old categories, unable to see that something epochal has occurred, a rupture on the scale of the Industrial Revolution or the emergence of civilization itself.It's a bold argument. But I think he's wrong.
Environmental sociologists and other environmental studies folks, far from fading into oblivion, have an unique position in these matters because of their understanding of cultural, political, and economic systems, which analyzed properly are not siloed away from nature, but rather the society-nature hybrid is integrated into an overall analysis. Multi-disiplinary and trans-disciplinary collaboration, such as the Sustainable Engineering and Ecological Design institute at my alma matter.
Furthermore, Hamilton oddly enough makes an environmental determinist claim, which goes against his overall argument:
From hereon our history will increasingly be dominated by “natural processes”, influenced by us but largely beyond our control. Our future has become entangled with that of the Earth’s geological evolution...it can no longer be maintained that humans make their own history, for the stage on which we make it has now entered into the play as a dynamic and capricious force.
He wants to argue that social science is going away, that the Modernist human-nature duality is crumbling, but then makes a statement that subsumes society into the totality of nature and puts us at the complete whim of nature. This is not hybrid socio-nature thinking that I and others, and Hamilton, up until that point, make.
Environmental studies requires systems thinking rather than category thinking. We may be embedded within natural systems, but it is incorrect to argue that we are now at the whim of nature. It is not enough to just turn Modernity on its head, as Marx once turned Hegel on his head, replacing base with superstructure. We need to continue to push the boundaries and dissolve the categories towards new socio-ecological studies. Down with dualisms, old and new.
This, in addition to renewables being the fasted growing energy sector last year. And the IEA declaring that renewables will be the worlds second largest energy source by 2015. Encouraging signs; long road ahead.
After a long and restful winter break, and as I gear up for another semester of teaching environmental sociology and global sociology, I'll get the blog going again.
A new poll shows that extreme weather events have more impact on changing the perceptions of climate change in respondents than scientific studies. Natural and socio-natural events, and our perception of them, can shift society's attitudes more than rational discourse and science. Perception/experience vs. rational thought. What does this mean for climate change politics? Well, as more and more climate events transpire, whether due to anthropogenic climate change or not, it's possible that public attitudes and perhaps politics will begin to shift even further in favor of concrete steps to reduce CO2 emissions. Yet, it is also possible that more frequent and extreme weather events, with death and destruction, will only fuel the politics of despair and give more weight to the secular Dooms Day environmentalism that is so popular.
The central question of this provocative piece by Emma Marris:
Climate change may not be forever, but it’ll be for a long, long time. Who—or what—will be around thousands or millions of years hence, when the consequences of our casually massive carbon emissions are still playing out? And do we owe them anything?
Lessons: the work of an engaged public and government policy coherence on a national energy transition.
Amazing images of an urban civilization.
Interesting NY Times maps showing large US coastal cities and the portions of them that could be submerged underwater if different climate change scenarios play out (5-ft, 12-ft, and 25-ft sea rise scenarios).
Near where I live, it surprised me to see Sacramento, which is at least 90 miles from the ocean, so vulnerable because of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta.
United Nations' World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports that greenhouse gases reached a recored high in 2011.
Carbon dioxide levels reached about 390.9 parts per million last year, which is 140 percent of the pre-industrial level of 280 parts per million and nearly 2 parts per million higher than the 2010 carbon dioxide level, according to the WMO report.
Via: Yahoo! News
Emma Marris' new blog. Fun stuff. Nature is not only the large vistas, deep canyons, towering mountains, and majestic forests, but is under our feet, in our backyards, growing in the cracks. Nature is also in the spaces humans create; we create them together.
is the Tesla Model S. It is the first time an internal combustion engine automobile has not won the award. To quell any squabbling that this is eco-hype, Motor Trend says, "At its core, the Tesla Model S is simply a damned good car you happen to plug in to refuel."