Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. Edward Abbey

22 February 2010

So what do you say to climate change denialists?

What do you say when a usually perfectly rational friend asks: "But how do you know climate change is happening and that it's caused by humans? What if it's all just hype?"

And I'm not talking about engaging in long intellectual debates here. I think the most dangerous thing we can do right now is intellectualise the debate about the future survival of our planet.

So how do you respond simply and intensely, in such a way as to change that person's mind?

Perhaps you can point them to the amazing resource:
The effects of Anthropogenic Climate Change
which lists in alphabetical order articles from the mass media which refer to the human impact on climate change.

Perhaps you can say:

In May, 2007 Ahmed Djoghlaf, head of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, said that "Extinction rates are rising by a factor of up to 1,000 above natural rates. Every hour, three species disappear. Every day, up to 150 species are lost."


... you could say something poetic like:

"When the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another Heaven and another Earth must pass before such a one can be again." William Beebe (1877-1962)


... I could relate how

I found the satellite images of a shrinking north polar cap, as published in National Geographic late last year,  moving. They showed the earliest images of the polar cap and superimposed on that the extent of the polar cap in winter 2006, 2007 and 2008. If I remember correctly, winter 2007 produced the smallest ice cap on record.

Another effective tool are the images of deforestation. Again satellite images are powerful indicators of the rapidly shrinking rain forests of the world and hell it is surely impossible to argue that these are not a human created problem!

But I guess ultimately a belief that climate change is happening and that it is human-made can only come from the heart. For every climate scientist confirming climate change, there are 10 who will produce some stats to counter it. So one can no longer depend on the scientists to be of any real assistance here. There are far too many vested interests pulling them in all directions. So best make the decision on your own.

Oh and for South Africans, a drive through the back roads of the new Mpumalanga coal fields should be all that's needed to see what coal fired power stations do to the planet.

For more intellectual debates and links:

... and one last comment. Let's not forget what's happening in the oceans.  Some 90% of all the large fish in the ocean, including tuna, swordfish, sharks, cod, marlin, flounder, and halibut, are gone—fished out of existence. In the oceans, plastic now outweighs phytoplankton ten to one. In 2009 marine biologists confirmed that large predators such as sharks and barracudas no longer roam the reefs of the Caribbean due to disease, hurricanes, and warming oceans.

I could go on and on ... but the point is, we have a problem here and arguing about whether or not the current radical climate change taking place in our home is "man-made" or not, is secondary. Saving what's left is primary.

1 comment:

  1. This was very informative......thank you for taking the time to post this research and your links.