Elizabeth Kolbert's book, “Field Notes from a Catastrophe”

A great global challenge. GLOBAL climate change. In recent decades we understand patterns in the climate much better than we do, even 25, 30 years ago.

And now there is an enormous body of evidence, that shows that the planet is getting warmer, and that human activity has contributed significantly to the warming of the planet.

This, was controversial for a while and part of the reasons it's controversial is because the science is complex, it's based on big data and computer modeling that is not easy to grasp. It's not intuitive.

But  is also controversial because, it calls to us, to change our behavior in ways, that will have very serious economic consequences for lots of people, in the industrial, and in the developing world different kinds of consequences for those two regions.

And yet we hear about these long negotations that end in tepid resolutions about changing our behavior. We continue to dump tons and tons of carbon into the atmosphere, at increasing rates in many parts of the world.

That we have the science to develop a renewable energy although we don't have it at the scale with the economic framework that's necessary for massive use. But, still, the reaction seems muted compared to the scale of the problem, and one of the reasons that people have speculated that  is that we humans have a real hard time thinking long-term. We all  like gratification. We like to get something done and then it's done and we feel good about it. Many of you, know this experiment about a delayed gratification where the  toddler is looking at a marshmallow and is told if he doesn't eat that marshmallow for five minutes he's going to get more stuff right. And a lot of kids just as soon as the experimenter's not there, eat that marshmallow. And in, the ones, some of them can wait, some of them do things, the way they go like this, they don't look at the marshmallow. They, do all these things so that they can think of the long term, project into the future. And scientists have studied these kids many years, over many years. And they find the ones who could really wait are the ones who do better on their tests, who seem to have more success in their lives. And so the speculation is that it's, we have, if you can think in the long term, if you can delay gratification lots of good things will come in the wake of that willingness to delay gratification. But the temptation to grab the gratification right away is strong, you want to employ more people tomorrow, so you want a quick industrilization, we want cheaper gas. We want  to be able to cool our, houses in the summer more efficiently. All these things,  we can do right now. The long term consequence of doing those things right now, scientists understand but the rest of us seem to be, just focused on the near term.  The neuroscientists, say that, that's because our brains were built for shorter term responsiveness. And it's much harder to think about the world that our grandchildren will inherit.


That's very dire and yet there are ways in which right now we can change the trajectory of our impact on climate change.


CLIMATE CHANGE  is a global phenomenon. Everyone will be effected somehow but you know you hear people joking about it, you know, weather's nice. And they say oh, I like this climate change. It's warmer in October. And, and I guess there will be I hate to put it so crudely, but winners and losers or people who will be more vulnerable and less vulnerable. And after I, maybe we can, we can just talk about that.


  • Hits: 279

Global Sustainability Tenacity