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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Into It

I've been dropping comments on various big blogs for a while now. Usually they just get overlooked. I think I struck a nerve this time. Fred Bortz, contributor on the great site (see comments) scienceblog has deemed me more dangerous than a conservative. I'd like to be able to say I've been called worse.

His point: We should take specific actions to mitigate the human contributions to climate change.

My point:
  • There's no reasonable way to define the group "we".
  • No specific actions have been suggested that will affect a predictable change to the progress of the climate.
  • So, specific actions should be taken locally to respond to climate change as it happens.

Put another way; when the Titanic hit the ice berg, passengers didn't suggest mitigating the impact by putting the ship in reverse. After the Hindenburg ignited, nobody suggested mitigating the impact by putting out the fire. When the twin towers were hit and firemen went in, it did not mitigate the death toll. It increased it.

Agreed we can't as yet assume we're on a sinking ship, but given the available scope of my personal opportunity to respond to whatever is happening, I'm thinking "lifeboat" not "full reverse thrust".

One additional thing I'd like to add about this perspective. The "lifeboat" actions I propose for individuals is indistinguishable from the stock-standard environmentalist agenda. Act locally, reduce, reuse, recycle, lighten your footprint, etc.. What I would hope is that these imminently achievable actions would inspire changes from the bottom-up, instead of the top-down political sledge hammer approach.

GM, Ford, etc. will only start making economical cars when people start buying them. Politicians have been unable to legislate in this direction because it's still political suicide. It's going to take a ripe market at the grass roots to inspire any sweeping global change. That's the sort of direction I'm suggesting. It's far from despair. It's self preservation with an eye to influencing the smallest unit of community first.

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