Bill McKibben: Winning Slowly Is the Same as Losing

Theists, in my view, view the universe through the lens of family dynamics. Daddy is in charge, and you ask him for what you need. This traditional perspective reinforces and justifies entrenched social hierarchies, and comforts believers. This foundation of "political realism"will likely be our demise.

Humans and their societies do work best with gradual transitions – it gives everyone some time to adapt. But climate change, sadly,  isn't a classic contest between two groups of people. It's a negotiation between people on the one hand and physics on the other. And physics doesn't do compromise. Precisely because we've waited so long to take any significant action, physics now demands we move much faster than we want to. Political realism and what you might call "reality realism" are in stark opposition. 

There are plenty of tipping points …that make climate change such a distinct problem: If we don't act quickly, and on a global scale, then the problem will literally become insoluble. We'll simply move into a dramatically different climate regime, and on to a planet abruptly and disastrously altered from the one that underwrote the rise of human civilization. [order changed, emphasis mine]

image sources: diagram, nurturant climate regime, different climate regime upper imagedifferent climate regime lower image

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That graph is yet another example of Dr. Al Bartlett and his talk about people not understanding the exponential function.

Ruth, I clicked to reply intending to ask you to identify the worst thing that climate change can bring.

By the time I started typing I knew a few things would happen, one of them being a significant reduction in the earth’s human population.

After that, what do you see happening?

By the way, I’m sure you know that chemistry also ain’t negotiating.

Ruth, your "Learn from marketing to save us all" is worth rereading -- about what we can learn from companies like Apple and Harley-Davidson that have cultivated "religious" followings. "Let's unite all of mankind based on science and reason," using the tools that successful corporations have borrowed from religion for creating reasoned motivation, this time not for the profit of a small group, but for the survival and improvement and flourishing of our civilization itself.

"We could lead, while accepting religious adherents willing to modify their religions for sustainability. Trust that their children and grandchildren will take the next steps toward rationality. It's enough for survival to convince adherents to remove the most toxic elements of their religions, those aspects which threaten everyone's future."

That includes religions that don't say "Daddy will fix everything", but teach and emphasize the need for us humans to act. (Under whatever religious garb they have, such as their god "setting" people as stewards of the earth, or a call to "repair the world".)


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