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PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post Searching for Hope in Today's Troubled World
Created by John Eipper on 06/27/19 4:25 AM

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Searching for Hope in Today's Troubled World (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 06/27/19 4:25 am)

Yesterday I read an interesting quote: "The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never discovered, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never known, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry our their dream." --Les Brown

Also, years ago I heard a wonderful Arabic prayer: "God, please forgive me for all the things I should have thought but did not think, the things I should have said but did not, and the things I should have done but somehow excused myself from doing."

Such words made me think that we humans are obviously not doing enough to ensure that our world does not slowly get transformed into a future nightmare; that we can still reverse the increasingly destructive trends and start building a better place for our children and grandchildren.

For years I have been desperately looking for any long-term trends that can at least give us hope if not help to build a better future. Can anyone please help me with that? I am tired of reading and hearing conclusive evidence about melting ice caps, disgusting water pollution, climate change, drying aquifers and drought throughout the world while the sea levels rise, destruction of the biosphere, relentless corporate greed, a few more billionaires but millions more into poverty, mountains of increasingly worthless paper money being used to drive the price of vital assets beyond the reach of most people, increasing government and business corruption, lying and deceit as acceptable behavior, injustice by the powerful against the growing numbers of the weak and unemployed, increasing religious fundamentalism and superstition, disregard for science and the rule of law. And I know these things are all strongly related.

I beg my colleagues in WAIS to help me identify some hopeful trends, and do something to reverse the bad ones.

JE comments:  I think of my friend Tor Guimaraes as WAISdom's #1 doomsdayer, so I welcome his invitation for hope.  May I start with (just) two?  Vehicles are infinitely safer and cleaner than ever before, and worldwide communications are nothing short of miraculous.  WAIS embodies this.  Just over a generation ago, communication abroad forced you to choose between a very expensive phone call or a very slow letter.  It's only 7:30 AM at WAIS HQ, and already today we've heard from Brazil and Russia.

But alas, politics have not caught up with technology.  Here, Tor and I are on the same page.

Lord, give us Hope...


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  • Hope for Today's Troubled World: Hans Rosling's "Factfulness" (Paul Pitlick, USA 06/30/19 3:58 AM)
    In response to Tor Guimaraes (June 27th), I have five things to say:

    1. Look for a book called Factfulness by Hans Rosling, which indeed will help Tor "identify some hopeful trends, and do something to reverse the bad ones." I think Dr. Rosling also has done some Ted talks, but I haven't looked for them. He shows that many of the bad trends are actually being reversed now.


    2. Or go to his website:  https://www.gapminder.org/tools/


    3. If you don't do anything else, you must go to this graph on his website:   https://www.gapminder.org/tools/#$state$time$value=2018;;&chart-type=bubbles



    It shows yearly plots of income on the x-axis vs. life expectancy on the y-axis for most countries, starting in 1800; there's an arrow in the lower left corner to get it started. The basic graph shows all countries, and each country can be followed individually (you can select any country from the table on the right, or more than one, for comparisons). The trend is upward and to the right for almost every country, especially over the past 15-20 years.


    4. I don't know if there are problems with copyrights, but I've included a few pages from his book. Most of this information is in his web site, but it's all in 1 place here.



    5. Turn off your TV.


     










    JE comments:  I trust Dr Rosling doesn't mind us sharing a few pages.  Let's not think of it as copyright infringement; I prefer to call it "spreading the hope." 


    The world indeed has made astounding progress, with advances in human health and life expectancy the best news of all.  Dr Paul Pitlick (one of the most optimistic people I know) reminds us of what we often don't see when lamenting all that ails our planet:  we've come a long way.


    There will be much to discuss here.

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    • Hope for Today's Troubled World? (Tor Guimaraes, USA 07/03/19 2:48 AM)
      I am grateful to Paul Pitlick and John Eipper for their reply to my request for any important worldwide trends which are positive, or any evidence against any of the 14 worldwide trends I identified in my earlier post. (See Paul's post of June 30th.)

      So far the replies I received make me even more worried. Some of the 14 trends I identified are interrelated and can be grouped into physical trends and social political economic trends. The ultimate result from the latter group is to dispatch most of mankind back to serfdom over the next many decades. That may not be too bad for some people so let's forget about them for now. Let's focus on the do-or-die worldwide physical trends.


      The critical physical trends I identified based on clear evidence are climate change (melting ice caps, rising sea levels, stronger storms), destruction of the biosphere, drying aquifers and drought, and increasing water pollution. Some of these trends are interrelated and all of them represent worsening existential threats to mankind.


      John Eipper, besides baptizing me as WAISdom's top doomsayer, was kind enough to identify two examples of positive global trends: "Vehicles are infinitely safer and cleaner than ever before, and worldwide communications are nothing short of miraculous. " These are indeed wonderful developments but hardly enough to counterbalance the 14 critical issues mentioned, let alone the physical threats.


      Paul Pitlick also was kind enough to direct me to the widespread work of Hans Rosling as a collection of positive trends. I appreciate his effort and am familiar with Rosling's work and entertaining presentations, and have great respect for him personally and professionally. However, his statistical analyses do not touch most of the critical threats I identified. For example, he has only superficially addressed historical income trends but not the impact of today's extreme income/wealth differential on democracy, political corruption, and living standards in developed nations.  Moreover, he never addressed the impact of rampant growth in the money supply. His work has been limited to historical data about world demographics and income distribution. He has justified well the argument limiting the future global population to around 11 billion people. I believe he is correct about that, but that has never been one of my worries. Rosling shares my concern about climate change but only superficially and in general. In summary, his work does not address any of the trends I have identified, let alone the physical threats.


      My biggest concern is that humanity may be surprised about the threat from climate change. We can all see that aquifer depletion and droughts are happening throughout the world in worsening trends. We can all see increasing environment pollution in many forms. These are difficult problem that humans can and will control to a significant extent when things get bad enough. Climate change is different. For example, today we can still reduce the emission of gases causing climate change, but when the world climate gets warm enough, the Arctic tundra will defrost, releasing huge amounts of methane and other gases already causing global warming. Once this process gets going, we can not put that genie back in the box. We will be in for the full ride, wherever it takes us. To me that is the biggest irreversible threat we must face now, despite what our great leaders seem to believe.


      JE comments:  One glimmer of hope:  we know what to do about climate change.  All we need to do is act.  Politics, not technological limitations, are getting in the way.


      Too optimistic...?


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      • Do "We" Know What to Do with Climate Change? (Cameron Sawyer, Russia 07/05/19 5:16 AM)
        JE commented on July 3rd: "We know what to do about climate change. All we need to do is act. Politics, not technological limitations, are getting in the way."

        It's not that simple. We don't know how much is the optimal amount to spend on reduction of carbon emissions, and to some extent cannot know, because we cannot know how quickly technological change will reduce carbon emissions anyway. Moreover we don't know how bad the problem is--the extent to which positive feedback loops (thawing tundra emissions; increasing solar gain from darker colors of land freed from ice) will make it even worse, or the extent to which the opposite types of mechanisms will reduce the effects. It's hard to make policy with regard to this kind of question; it's hard to ask people to make sacrifices for goals which are so hard to measure (or which can't be measured).


        Technology plays a BIG role, because technological improvement is the source of that part of the solution which does not require sacrifice. A sacrifice which hits poorer people harder, than richer ones. That's what people mean, when they say "technological limitations" stand in our way. The problem is not, realistically, going to be solved without a great deal of technological progress.


        So no, we don't know "what to do" about climate change.  Knowing that we need to do something, is not the same, as knowing exactly what it is, practically, that we need to do, or how much of that, we need to do, when.


        JE comments:  Alas, sacrifices always hit poorer people the hardest.  At the very least, we can acknowledge that a problem exists--and here politics play a larger role than science.


        Next up on this topic, Tor Guimaraes.


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      • Climate Change: Political Will and Scientific Knowledge (Tor Guimaraes, USA 07/05/19 5:50 AM)

        This morning I wake up to John Eipper's hopeful comment on my last post outlining the critical threat of climate change.


        John stated: "One glimmer of hope: we know what to do about climate change. All we need to do is act. Politics, not technological limitations, are getting in the way. Too optimistic...?" Then I noticed the news that the Trump administration fired several EPA scientists who have been reporting on climate change, after in the past restricting travel to conferences on related topics.


        Yes John, you are being way too optimistic.


        This problem is precisely the connection between the physical threats and the social political economic threats that I defined earlier. As a nation, we expect Jesus to save us from climate change destruction (some probably think it will finally bring him back). Some of us know what has to be done, but we have no power to do anything about it. We have to watch the plane crash in slow motion. Meanwhile the scientists get fired, and next the Authorities will cook the data and hire their own "scientists."


        For lack of trust I could not vote for Hillary or Trump, but do admit to sympathizing in general with some of President Trump's ideas, even though in most cases I question his motives and the implementation approach. However, as far as climate change is concerned, his administration is a long-term careless world destroyer, just to gain short-term profits for his compadres. It is difficult for me to believe that climate change deniers are just greedy, stupid and ignorant; there must be some malice involved and I don't understand it. They are now willing to attack science itself to get their ungodly ways. That represents a new dark age for our nation.


        http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2019/jun/19/trump-epa-rolls-back-obama-rule-on-coal-fired-powe/


        https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/agriculture-secretary-perdue-on-climate-crisis-it-rained-yesterday-its-a-nice-pretty-day-today/ar-AADognD


        https://newrepublic.com/article/142547/epa-fired-bunch-scientists-its-just-political-theaterfor-now


        JE comments:  Tor, could you tell us about the Trump ideas you sympathize with?  Do they have to do with trade?


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        • Malthus...and the Mice of Hommerts (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 07/06/19 3:13 AM)
          I appreciate the July 5th posts of Cameron Sawyer and Tor Guimaraes, but this time I have to choose and I have to side with Tor (and JE).

          On the climate change matter, we know what to do and we have to do it much faster, but we do not act.


          With Tor, however, I would like to add one point.  The present demographic explosion is a terrible danger. I believe that the optimal world population existed in 1941, with a total of 2.187 billion (Europe 531, Asia 1206, Africa 161, North America 185, South America 93 and Oceania 11).


          Of course with such human figures the world's pollution would not be a big deal, even with a powerful leader like Trump.


          On a second thought, good old Trump may be the "preventive and positive check" previewed by the theory propounded by Malthus in 1798.


          In fact Trump's actions/laws will considerably worsen the ecological conditions of the world, provoking unstoppable invasions which will be met with stronger and stronger reactions leading to millions of deaths and continuous destruction by natural and human events, by which the world population will decrease.


          But do not worry.  The process will start again as humanity will most probably be unable to understand and so on until the end when humanity finally decides to follow the example of the mice of Hommerts in the Netherlands. Enjoy.


          JE comments:  What do these mice know that we don't?


          https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mystery-suicidal-mice-jumping-deaths-17268822


          Hans Rosling does not see overpopulation as a major danger, but let's re-examine Eugenio Battaglia's position.  Can the world support its present 7.7 billion?  What about double that?  Something has to give, and it's probably going to be our planet.

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        • I (Mostly) Agree with Trump on Immigration, Trade (Tor Guimaraes, USA 07/06/19 2:53 PM)
          I thoroughly disagree with Cameron Sawyer's post of July 5th.  Cameron wrote, "we don't know how bad the [climate change] problem is--the extent to which positive feedback loops (thawing tundra emissions; increasing solar gain from darker colors of land freed from ice) will make it even worse, or the extent to which the opposite types of mechanisms will reduce the effects. It's hard to make policy with regard to this kind of question; it's hard to ask people to make sacrifices for goals which are so hard to measure (or which can't be measured)."

          This is complete nonsense if one listens to the scientific community. They have been warning us for years and we have followed Cameron's advice and did nothing. Now it might already be too late (because of the positive feedback loops Cameron alluded to) or we are quickly running out of time as our leaders continue to suffer from paralysis by greed, ignorance, and pure stupidity.


          I agree with Cameron that "technology plays a BIG role, because technological improvement is the source of that part of the solution which does not require sacrifice. A sacrifice which hits poorer people harder, than richer ones. The problem is not, realistically, going to be solved without a great deal of technological progress. So no, we don't know 'what to do' about climate change. Knowing that we need to do something, is not the same, as knowing exactly what it is, practically, that we need to do, or how much of that, we need to do, when."


          John Eipper is right, we already have much of the necessary technology. Unfortunately our leaders have much more greed, ignorance, and stupidity. It might be somewhat analogous to something Cameron knows a lot about, and saying that faced with Barbarossa, Stalin should have bid for time until they figured out how to measure the full strength of the German assault, more clearly assessed their intentions, morale, ability to face the Russian winter, and the cost to the Russian people. The results from climate change are very clear and getting worse: weather patterns have changed producing more drought and flooding, bigger storms, sea rising with many millions permanently dislocated from sea shores all over the world, tundra is melting, etc. Listen to the scientists, not to fake news. Last, sacrifices and disasters always hit poor people harder that the rich ones. Perhaps that is one reason why they invented progressive income tax systems and social programs?


          To answer JE's question about my sympathy for some of Trump's ideas, I believe that US borders must be respected according to the law. Unfortunately Trump might be spending billions to be a wall that probably won't work. Powerful interests crave the flow of cheap/vulnerable labor to increase profits. Regarding trade, I like Trump's hard-nose attitude, but so far the results are not positive overall. Tariffs usually hurt everybody except the protected industries. Regarding expenditures for war, I believe in a smart, lean and mean, and powerful military for self-defense only. Trump talked about reducing NATO expenditures which I consider a waste but he reneged on the Iran contract and hired Israeli agents to re-negotiate with Iran. Only God knows what he is thinking; this makes no sense to me. Finally, Trump's white supremacist talk, climate change denials, etc. seem like clear evidence for commitment to an insane asylum.


          JE comments:  Cameron Sawyer was not denying the reality of climate change, but one needs to ask:  does a "we don't know exactly what to do" attitude only serve to justify inaction?

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    • Hate, Hypocrisy, and Human Nature (Rodolfo Neirotti, USA 07/06/19 3:34 AM)
      I agree with my friend Paul Pitlick (June 30th) that many things have improved around the world. Unfortunately, it is difficult to appreciate and enjoy the good things if we add to Tor Guimaraes's description the increase in the amount of hate and hypocrisy circulating in the world.

      Rather than pessimism, it is regarding things in their true nature and dealing with them as they are. Reality can be transformed, but human nature cannot be changed.


      JE comments: Human actions can be changed.  Just two examples:  attitudes towards smoking and littering over the last half-century.


      Great to hear from Rodolfo Neirotti in Boston.  Rodolfo, any interesting travels of late?


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      • Climate Change and Human Excess (Timothy Brown, USA 07/07/19 4:54 AM)
        I'm confused on climate change and what must be done immediately to save the human race, due to air pollution.

        But I've yet to read anywhere that population growth (from 2 billion to 8 billion during the last few decades), better housing in general (bigger, more comfortable), the resulting far greater demand of electricity for lighting, cooling, heating or communications are causally connected, much less what we should do about such massively increased demand.


        An example: One of my friends, EB (Elbegdorj Tsakia) was born in a primitive yurt in the Mongolian heartland but raised in one with heating, cooling, TV and a radio-telephone, not exactly the historic norm for a Mongolian herder.


        The person-by-person demand (from zero to a few hundred billion cell phones, Internet, better food, education, health, housing, etc.) have an impact. But everyone seems to be talking supply while ignoring demand as if it has no impact on supply. (I've met people that actively demand action on climate change NOW, NOW, NOW, lest the world be destroyed--while living in 6-8,000 square foot homes on ten acre estates with warmed indoor swimming pools or in one full floor apartments on the top floor of a skyscraper with great views of the ocean.)


        More realism, please.


        JE comments:  That's a "sic" on the few hundred billion cell phones.  But Tim Brown is not too far off:  I found the figure of nearly 9 billion "cell phone connections" worldwide, which is more phones than humans.


        There has been much discussion about reducing our carbon footprint, but for the modern bourgeois lifestyle, "living simply" is often what other people should do.  (Full confession: my footprint is massive, but I did stop using drinking straws.)

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        • Overpopulation, and Dan Brown's "Inferno" (Enrique Torner, USA 07/08/19 7:16 PM)
          I found the discussion of world population very interesting, and it reminded me of a fascinating thriller by Dan Brown that I recommend: Inferno (2013).

          This novel combines the impending doom of the world with a fascinating trip to Dante's Florence and Inferno. There's a group of scientists that are trying to save the world from destroying itself because of overgrowth by causing a plague to compensate for that. In the novel, a character states that "any environmental biologist or statistician will tell you that humankind's best chance of long-term survival occurs with a global population of around four billion."


          "Four billion?" Elizabeth fired back. "We're at seven billion now, so it's a little late for that."


          The tall man's green eyes flashed fire. "Is it?" (136)


          Are you hooked already? It's a spellbinding novel. I wonder if Eugenio Battaglia has read it. You learn lots about Florence and Dante, besides the scientific side of the novel.


          Regarding the world's population growth dangers, this is one I don't lose sleep over: I am very confident we'll handle it. With today's scientific advances, and Tor Guimaraes in charge, I wouldn't worry about it!


          Scientists seem to be on different sides regarding world's population: some think world's population will eventually start decreasing, even come to a stop. I found a great website with lots of good information, that even includes world population from ancient times to the future (200 million in year 1-8 billion in 2025). This site has an interesting piece of data: "The United States Census Bureau estimates there is one birth every 7 seconds and one death every 13 seconds, with a net gain of one person on earth every 11 seconds." However, family size is decreasing, especially in Spain: they are trying to save the world! Here is the link:


          http://worldpopulationreview.com/continents/world-population/


          JE comments:  Professor Hilton closely followed the population "problem."  He even hosted a conference in the 1950s or '60s on Latin America's demographic explosion.  I'll see if I can scare up the conference program from my research in the RH archives at the Hoover Institution.



          Here's a surprising question from the above link.  Name the world's second-largest city (after Shanghai).  Click and find out.  I never would have guessed.

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        • Climate Change: The Clock is Running Out (Tor Guimaraes, USA 07/09/19 6:53 AM)
          Timothy Brown (July 7th) stated that he is "confused on climate change and what must be done immediately to save the human race." Apparently, Tim is not the only one confused.

          The problem has been noticed by scientists for decades but as should be expected, at first the scientists were arguing over whether or not the problem was real and needed to be addressed. A few years ago the much-maligned UN recruited a large multinational scientific group (1300 I believe) to answer such questions. The consensus was that it is real and quite serious; however, in practice the bad results from climate change were barely beginning to show and the related industries were just too powerful for any preventive government action.


          Today it has become obvious that the climate change related industries (coal, oil, gas, etc.), similar to what the tobacco industry did for cancer and lung disease, remain careless mankind-destroyers just to gain short-term profits. They have even persuaded the Trump administration to attack science itself and fire scientists providing evidence about climate change. Indeed, it is very confusing not to be able to trust your own government on a critical issue.


          To add to the confusion, the climate change problem is multidimensional and very complex. Today the results from climate change are very clear and getting worse: weather patterns have changed, producing widespread drought and flooding, bigger storms, sea rising with many millions permanently dislocated from sea shores all over the world. These problems have become serious enough that many states, counties, and local communities have taken matter into their own hands. With severe costs and turmoil, we can survive these problems in the short term but not in the long term, even after we are willing to take serious action.


          Thus, today the most serious problem (which required action decades ago) and now might already have become too late, comes from some positive feedback loops. For example, as the average temperature rises because of increased CO2, methane, etc. other natural, uncontrollable and massive sources of such gases (melting Arctic tundra, the oceans, etc.) of these gases will participate in further warming the climate. That is why we are late or quickly running out of time as our leaders continue to suffer from paralysis by greed, ignorance, and pure stupidity. Last, this is a world problem, thus we must have a worldwide solution.


          JE comments:   What strategies would help to remove climate change from politics?  At present, at least in the US, one's position on climate change is a political litmus test.


          Can you imagine a "position," say, on heart disease?  Exactly.  As a society, how do we get to the same point with climate change? 

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          • Post Unpublished - please check back later

          • How Do We Take Politics Out of the Climate-Change Crisis? (Tor Guimaraes, USA 07/11/19 4:12 AM)
            John Eipper astutely noticed that US culture equates one's position on climate change with one's politics.  He asked me off-Forum, "how can the CC debate be 'elevated' to something separate from politics?"

            Unfortunately, today the evidence of the results from climate change (widespread drought and flooding, bigger storms, sea rising with many millions permanently dislocated from seashores all over the world) has become increasingly obvious.


            Thus it will take a very special leader and group of followers to continue to deny the obvious. Amazingly, the last G20 meeting showed that under Trump our beloved nation has become the only (denying) voice in the wilderness. However, by firing scientists warning about CC, or perhaps hiring "alternative facts scientists," or possibly even cooking the data, the deniers can try to delay the inevitable. Yet you cannot fight the truth effectively for very long and the evidence is everywhere. Soon, but very likely too late, politics will shift from denying CC to what emergency measures we should take to mitigate the disasters from CC. Soon the Republican Party will realize that letting Trump be himself will cost them dearly in terms of credibility, and will cost our nation a heavy price.


            JE comments:  But Tor, such arguments will only further entrench the position of the deniers.  Perhaps climate change (CC) could be packaged/spun as a matter of national security?  Or as a theological imperative?

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            • Climate Change Crisis and Theology (Tor Guimaraes, USA 07/14/19 4:44 AM)
              Commenting on my post of July 11th, John Eipper raised some relevant questions: "But Tor, such arguments will only further entrench the position of the Climate Change deniers. Perhaps CC could be packaged/spun as a matter of national security? Or as a theological imperative?"

              It is true that religious fundamentalists (CC deniers in this case) do not listen to reason. Historically they never did and probably never will. However, today you don't hear too many people believing that the Earth is flat or the center of the solar system, etc. Similarly, when too many people get hit by rising seas, forcing them to relocate from their homes to emergency places, even these religious people will start changing their minds. Even if they don't, we all have to live with the results anyway.


              Regarding "Perhaps climate change (CC) could be packaged/spun as a matter of national security?" That is a tough sell, since the whole world including our rivals are in this CC together. In a way the scientists have been warning us for years that the climate might turn out to be our worst enemy, but we don't perceive the national security threat.


              Framing the CC issue "as a theological imperative" could be a powerful motivation, but has some major counter-indicators for success. Historically we have had a few groups whose religions view the Earth as their mother, to be respected and kept free from pollution. However, all the major religions to a great extent have ignored the CC issue altogether and I see no sign of re-direction. On the contrary, many religious people seem to thrive on the concept of Armageddon and seem to welcome the end of the world.


              JE comments:  We've never explored the Armageddon angle of climate change.  "End of world" scenarios typically involve human warfare or divine wrath.  Is anyone aware of doomsday theologies that specifically touch on climate change?  What was the Flood of Noah's time other than a dramatic example of CC?

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              • Climate Change, Doomsdayers, and "Florida is Drowning" (from Gary Moore) (John Eipper, USA 07/16/19 4:04 AM)

                Gary Moore writes:



                Concerned by Tor Guimaraes's (July 14) impassioned call to arms on climate change,
                but, from practical experience sympathizing (once again) with Timothy Brown's unfashionably
                skeptical demurer (July 7), I turned to the Web for signs of the crisis.


                The logical keywords
                seemed to be "Florida climate change"--for sensitivity to future sea-level rise in Florida is so
                great that six major newspapers there (two I used to work for, with contributions to others)
                have put aside their customary jockeying and joined in an informational mega-project,
                the Climate Change News Network. Knowing already that some subtropical flooding
                in Miami Beach has raised concerns that this is only a foretaste, I expected to see
                hard-hitting examples of how property lines are now an inch or two underwater,
                and other markers. The opening list on Google certainly seemed to promise this:
                "Florida's Climate Threats," "Florida is Drowning"--and there, too, was a CNN
                story on the newspaper project, with an interestingly truncated teaser blurb,
                as a tiny hint of excited haste: "How six Florida newsrooms are working together
                to strengthen climate change" (Yup, that's what it says).


                So I opened these entries,
                each forming a blizzard of many words. But where were the present-day signs? If
                one could wade (apologies) through the browbeating and hair-rending, the claims
                were all about the future. Well, certainly valid. Planning has to look ahead. But the
                way the alarms were worded was arresting, almost a deceptional bait-and-switch.
                Worst was our old friend, The Guardian (was it John Heelan or Nigel Jones who from
                British perspective called it a lying rag--a reputation its newsroom somehow keeps
                earnestly trying to live up to). The "Florida is Drowning" headline was The Guardian's
                --and you have to slog through 1,750 words of screaming to find out the headline should
                have been: "Florida Is Going to Drown--And We Told You So." There seemed to be no interest
                in present proofs--that is, in actual facts--though there was a shocking photo of Miami
                highrises looming like chastened tombstones out of apocalyptic new blue--a requisitely
                Photoshopped imagining--required, you see, because people are so blind. The Guardian,
                which in its wrestling with its soul has many skilled reporters and sometimes valuable
                information. may of course be right on this. But the presentation is not reassuring, working
                like that Google-botched CNN headline to actually impugn the case.


                Unfortunately, reactionism in crises (that is, waiting until it actually does something to hurt
                before you rush out and do something back) is not just public passivity but the mode implicitly
                decreed by a factor that is not the warners' fault: the incredible abundance of false warnings
                there have always been in the world from people who just know that what gives them excitement
                and purpose is right. Of course, for all those sunken highrises in Miami, such stubborn reactionism
                will be sadly too late.


                The prescience of those who see future doom (whether all too real, as with Churchill's Gathering Storm,
                or not so cooperative, as with the new Ice Age predicted in the 1970s, or when thousands of Millerites
                braced, on October 22, 1844, for the End of the World, producing the Seventh Day Adventists)--whichever
                way it goes, the warners have a tough job cut out for them.


                JE comments:  So far the Doomsdayers have a 100% track record of being wrong--although sometimes it seems like the End of the World is Nigh.  (Ever attended a faculty meeting?)


                Gary Moore puts his finger on the problem.  The "deniers" have two enormous advantages:  1) It's always easier to do nothing, and 2) As of today, science to the contrary, we're still here.


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                • Climate Change: Greenland, Indonesia, Florida (Tor Guimaraes, USA 07/17/19 12:14 PM)
                  Doom-saying is indeed a difficult business, so I always look for reasons to discount he bad news. Regarding Antarctica and Greenland, the two primary sources for future sea rising another 80+ centimeters by 2050, the kids love global warming in Greenland. The farmers get another three weeks of potential productivity (except for some apparently associated drought). The fishing industry is also super happy in Greenland.  Some species have now moved North to fishing areas too cold before, and even tuna followed behind. Great silver lining to global warming.

                  Another silver lining from global warming is that some counties in Florida are working together to redesign their sewer systems higher off the ground, as well as other defenses. The cooperation is great even though the cost for temporary relief is quite high.


                  The Pacific islands are already in serious trouble with seas rising. Indonesia's capital is in big trouble. The wealthy people have raised their area to avoid the floods but now when it rains the rest of the residents can see the water draining to their own residential areas, creating a PR problem for class differences and the government. On the US coasts, some media outlets may be scaremongering as Gary Moore suggested (July 16), but most are under pressure to avoid the topic. Smart seashore home owners are slowly selling but someone seems to be buying. Let's see how many disasters and how long it will take for the buyers to disappear completely.


                  JE comments:  On the downside in Greenland, ice melt has made some hunting areas impassible for dogsleds.  WAISer Cameron Sawyer recently sailed to Greenland.  Has anyone else in WAISworld visited?  It's always been on my bucket list.  Today's high temperature in Nuuk is a balmy 52 F.

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