Climate Change: Denial to Despair? Case for Hope
We all know at least one person who is a climate change sceptic or denier. It is easy to dismiss their views as uninformed or even ignorant, however many deniers are educated and intelligent. How can this be? the simple answer is that denial is easier than accepting the frightening evidence that humans are causing the planet’s climate to change in such a catastrophic way.
But for those deniers it is getting harder and harder to hold onto their views as the acceptance of human impacts on climate change has become the mainstream view. Further challenging their denial is the mounting evidence, not just the NASA evidence tracking at https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/ but also the frequency of news on topics such as:
- Extreme weather events: sadly there are many examples to include so instead of listing some I thought it would be better to provide a link to a media release on the climate index, an index created in 2018 as an objective measure of extreme weather conditions and changes to sea levels, to help policymakers and Australia’s businesses assess how the frequency of weather extremes is changing over time (actuaries.asn.au)
- Climate change trends: Australia’s trends for annual minimum temperature (www.bom.gov.au)
- Impacts to Flora and Fauna: the polar bear is a common example of the impact of climate change on the biosphere but sadly there is a new poster animal – the Australian Bramble Cay melomys, the first mammal extinction attributed to climate change (news.nationalgeographic.com)
- Visual impacts: disappearing glaciers (www.nytimes.com) and “sinking” cities and islands for example the climate battleground of Miami (www.businessinsider.com)
This onslaught of catastrophe after catastrophe coupled with too little planet-wide action has shifted many deniers from denial to despair. And not just deniers. The shift to pessimism has reached such a level that the fight against climate change must now include a fight against climate change despair. A fight that is only possible if people believe there is hope.
The good news is that the case for hope exists not only to combat despair, it exists because there are many reasons for hope:
- The mean temperature increase is less than 1 degrees celsius (climate.nasa.gov) – this means that there is time to change the trend before we hit the 1.5 degrees celsius maximum target (Paris agreement was “well under” 2 degrees).
- While Governments work on legislation and regulation to reduce greenhouse gases, scientists and engineers around the world are working on finding technological ways to reduce climate change. This includes technology to reduce release of greenhouse gases (www.weforum.org) and technology to reduce the impact of released greenhouse gases such as carbon sinks (www.dezeen.com).
- Companies and corporations have joined the fight against climate change (sciencebasedtargets.org) – is your company on the list?
- You. There has never been an easier time for 1 person to drive change due to the power and momentum of social media. Check out http://change.org for a cause near you.