Monday, September 22, 2014

Somebody get me a bigger rat trap!

Suggested reading:
Regarding Climate Change and firewalls agains corporate interests

I am clearly and unambiguously in favor of the purpose/intent. However, it does beg the question, do those corporate players need to be physically sitting at the negociating table in order to effect the outcome? In short, is it possible to construct effective firewalls? Here is my initial supposition. The policy makers of individual governments and international organizations may already be owned/beholding to/subsidized by these very corporate entities. Further, the inaction or insufficient action in the face of clear and convincing evidence by our best thinkers, suggests that the game is rigged from the outset. It is difficult for us to see clearly in part because we are all enmeshed in this Capitalistic game directly (through our dependence on jobs it provides) or subtly (through avenues like the stock market and the return on investment it provides). I sadly suggest that, no matter how inescapably correct or even noble our efforts, the tendency to rapacious profiteering is woven into the fabric of this beast. I offer into evidence the following. One of the bastions of American style Capitalism, Forbes Magazine, carried this headline refering to corporations:The Disturbing Link Between Psychopathy And Leadership. My advice, read it but, as with any other horror story, not before bed.

So, do I have a bigger point or am I merely expressing a nihilistic rhetoric? A reasonable query. For the moment I will answer this way. I have stake in the outcome. How this turns out effects my children and grand children. I am not served by hysteria, histrionics, or maudlin belly-button gazing. It behooves me to put on my best thinking cap. Arguably problems are more likely solved following an unflinching examination. This is generally understood to lead us to the best questions which, in turn, lead to the best answers.

So, I challenge those who read this. For the sake of argument, assume what I have said is true. Now, starting with the assumption that doing nothing is not an option, ask yourself, What course of action is most consistent with the premise? I have an idea or two but I would not think to rob you of the opportunity to work through the puzzle for yourself. I will give it a few days after which I will share my inferences.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I am looking for any and all thoughtful persons to make a case for my attending the climate march coming up in NYC. Clearly I am onboard with the message. The world needs to do more, way more, with regard to climate change. My concern is with effectiveness. If I attend, will I along with many thousands of others, be manufacturing a feel-good-moment with little or no chance of effecting significant change?

Why do I pose the question in this way? I was listening to a recent Radiolab podcast titled, In the Dust of this Planet. The topic was nihilism or pessimism, the cycles of such thought, and the way it spreads through modern culture. For those with curious minds who are not familiar with Radiolab, I urge you to tune in during your down time or as you go about the less mentally taxing of your daily activities. I guarantee you will be enriched. With that said, one of the guests made a statement that is currently bouncing in a disturbing manner around in my brain. The gentleman who made the statement is called David Victor. He is a professor of International Relations at the University of California at San Diego. Dr. Victor is also one of the authors of the definitive climate report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I believe it is safe to infer that he is uniquely qualified to comment on this topic. In the Panel’s most recent report the tone shifted from an emphasis strictly on prevention to a greater emphasis on adaptation. Which is to say, the people who know most about this topic now strongly suggest that we balance prevention efforts against doing what is needed to survive the changes they feel are inevitable. He candidly states that members of the panel bent over backwards to strike an optimistic tone when they stated that if we put in place various technologies and policies across the world, we might still avoid a two degree warming (apparently this is considered to be some important benchmark). But, in his own words, “my own opinion is that the kind of actions you’d need to do that are so heroic that we’re not going to see them on this planet”.

To be clear the United Nations Climate Change Summit, scheduled to begin on 23 September, while ambitious in its scope, in no way approaches ‘heroic’ actions.

So, the question is out there. Does it matter if I attend? If I don’t attend, what might I do that would be a more effective course of action? Keep in mind that I already try to limit my carbon footprint, recycle whenever I can, vote for candidates who support climate change action, and so on. So, my question is, what does one reasonably rationally do beyond ones immediate sphere?

Opinions are solicited but those bolstered by verifiable evidence are the most sought after.