Atheist Morality

A place for atheists to discuss morality issues. What shapes your morality? What new perspectives have you found since abandoning faith (if you ever had any)? Is there any merit to religious moral authority?

Is Climate Destabilization the greatest moral issue today?

James Hansen declares climate change a moral issue on par with slavery. I think it's more profound, since the future of humanity is at stake. Slavery can be halted quickly and its effects reversed in a few generations. Once we render the planet uninhabitable for everyone, humanity's trajectory is uncorrectable. Even if we somehow manage to stop our destructive actions, feedback mechanisms will have been kicked into place and irreversible damage done such as species extinctions.

Nasa scientist: climate change is a moral issue on a par with slavery

Averting the worst consequences of human-induced climate change is a "great moral issue" on a par with slavery, according to the leading Nasaclimate scientist Prof Jim Hansen.

Averting the worst consequences of human-induced climate change is a "great moral issue" on a par with slavery, according to the leading Nasaclimate scientist Prof Jim Hansen.

Hansen told the Guardian that the latest climate models had shown the planet was on the brink of an emergency.

"The situation we're creating for young people and future generations is that we're handing them a climate system which is potentially out of their control," he said.

I use the term "Climate Destabilization" rather than "Climate Change" because it's more accurate (less vague and less ambiguous) and carries an appropriate normative force.

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    Ruth Anthony-Gardner

    Kelly Rigg shares points from a keynote speech by Jigar Shah.

    ... the 2012 Climate Vulnerability Monitor whose authors estimate that around 400,000 people are dying every year due to hunger and communicable diseases aggravated by climate change and that another 4.5 million or so die from air pollution.

    These are shocking figures by any standard, but were we, the public, truly shocked? The problem with the climate movement, according to Shah, is our failure to effectively communicate and mobilize around a powerful sense of moral outrage:

    "People aren't getting mercury in their bloodstream because we're dumping thermometers in the river. It's coming from toxic fuels like coal. We allow companies to dump their externalities into our health care system, which we pay real money for.

    ... it doesn't give me hope we can defeat the 6° agenda. We are never going to win this battle with technology alone. If we can't make the case that in essence we are trading off human lives for the economy, we're going to lose, and lose badly. We have lost our outrage." [emphasis mine]

    Killing Us With Coal: Why Do We Let Them Do It?

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      Ruth Anthony-Gardner

      Bill McKibben's road show focuses on moral outrage at the fossil fuel industry.

      Cue the math: McKibben’s roadshow takes aim at Big Oil

      ... the fossil fuel industry is prepared to cook humanity off the planet unless somebody stops it.

      ... sheer moral outrage at ... deep, intolerable injustice. The movements that change the world are moral struggles.

      “There’s always been this slight unreality to the whole climate change thing,” he continued. “Because most people, at some level, kept thinking — and rightly so — Yeah, but no one will ever actually do this. No one will actually, knowingly, destroy the planet by climate change. But once you’ve seen those numbers, it’s clear, that’s exactly what they’re knowingly planning to do. So that changes the equation, you know?” [emphasis mine]


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        Ruth Anthony-Gardner

        Climate and Ethics has a video by Donald Brown, Sustainability Ethics and Law Scholar at Widener University School of Law

        Climate change is a civilization challenging ethical and moral problem and this understanding has enormous practical significance for policy.