Not sure what more I can say about The People’s Climate March than what I said in this week’s Dustinland comic. I guess it’s easy to be jaded, cynical and disillusioned with protesting and politics. But something like this doesn’t happen very often. A massive effort organized by amazing people with the goal of changing the dialogue around the biggest danger mankind will ever face. Like I said in my comic, if that doesn’t get you out in the streets, I don’t know what will.
A Facebook group called “I fucking love science” recently posted the Dustinland comic about selective reasoning, and it has been making the rounds online, with more than 10,000 likes and 5,000 shares as of this post. Which is great because I think this is a really important issue. The constant attack on science—it has been going on for centuries. Just watch Carl Sagan’s famous Cosmos series. That aired in 1980 and more than 30 years later it seems like science is still being assaulted by people who just don’t want to believe things that don’t fit into their own personal dream of how the world should be.
Terrorists tried to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993. That wasn’t enough of a hint for us to step up our security. People knew for decades that New Orleans would be underwater if the right storm came by. We did nothing. Now scientists are telling us that we’re putting the entire world at risk by altering the atmosphere. And it looks like once again we’re going to be too late to do anything about it. And this time, we’re talking about devastation and loss of life on a scale never before seen by mankind. Sadly, for all of us, enough corporate dollars can turn facts into “theories” and make people doubt the findings of unbiased scientific studies.
People get tired of hearing about it. They think it’s something they won’t have to deal with, even if it is real. But we’re already dealing with it. And it’s only going to get worse. Do people have to suffer firsthand before they act to change something? I think for most people, the answer is yes. And I truly believe we as a species may be doomed because of it.
Read this. Then read the comments.
This week’s Dustinland isn’t very funny (as usual), nor is it intended to be. It’s simply an argument I feel compelled to illustrate in the face of such frustrating debate around a very important issue.
When I look at a majority of the back and forth on the issue of global warming, I see a big mess of people getting caught up on the results of studies, with skeptics trying to define what qualifies as “scientific proof,” and it just seems to go round and round. While I believe there to clearly be more evidence on the side of global warming being a very real and man-made threat, I still feel that merely piling up scientific facts is not enough to convince skeptics. That is why I present this approach (which is ironically based on Pascal’s Wager in a sense). When it comes down to it, all decisions are based on risk/reward considerations, yet for some reason, I rarely see the global warming debate phrased in this manner. And personally, it seems like a pretty solid argument when you put it this way:
If global warming is real and we do something to stop it, we save our future.
If global warming is not real and we do something to stop it, we still create a better world to live in.