Looking at the activities of the general public and political and business leaders, there seems to be quite the disconnect between that and what scientists are saying about climate change and the need for action.
Ignoring climate change for just a moment, if you went to a cardiologist and was diagnosed as being at high risk for heart failure, that in itself would probably come as a major shock. Aside from the diagnosis, the doctor may also prescribe drugs and a diet and exercise regimen. Wouldn’t your first visit on the way home be to the drug store and grocery store? Strangely enough, in spite of all the news pinning climate change on human activity, mankind’s first action seems to be to simply ignore it. Indeed, taking a look at man’s current activities, in comparison with those of a decade hence, and there isn’t that much of a difference.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – Assessment Report Five (IPCC AR5) summary, which will be finalized October 31, 2014, can basically be summed up by the word “risk.” “Risk” mostly refers to the damages we have yet to realize for past and current actions. These same reports, some 1,500 pages total, also point out that we are woefully lax in addressing the problem. Is the problem lack of awareness? Lack of funding? Lack of public support? Shortsightedness?
Public support for climate change action seems to be there, yet there has not yet been a major shift in the collective consciousness, which would include politicians and business leaders. Robert Jay Lifton wrote in The New York Times that the shift would take place, likening current climate change concerns with nuclear weapons concerns in the 1980s. Mutually assured destruction (MAD) perhaps was the drover behind what Lifton described of attitudes in the 1980s, that “people came to feel that it was deeply wrong, perhaps evil, to engage in nuclear war.
According to the IPCC, the world is practically on the verge of MAD, which I’m thinking will be the driver behind Lifton’s assertions for the coming psychological shift, that people will eventually come “to an awareness that it is deeply wrong, perhaps evil, to destroy our habitat and create a legacy of suffering for our children…” According to the IPCC AR5 summary, however, it may already be too late for that shift to have any effect. What’s needed to make this happen?
Photo credit: alifaan