So I’ve moved from the recliner to the kitchen table in order to write this piece…
‘I’m going to write about climate change. What the hell am I thinking? Write that piece about your dog that I’m going to do. You know nothing about melting glaciers. You hated Science in high school!’
Ok ok, all good thoughts – they’re mine – so let’s give them a little credit. No?! Ok, we move on.
I blame The Age
Up before 6am Saturday morning (it’s a sleep issue thing, I don’t wanna talk about it), I came across a number of valuable articles in my daily online reading of The Age. There were 3 (that number again) areas that kept my attention as they were talking about the quality of the debates relating to climate change, the carbon tax and industrial relations … which sounds boring even as I type it so let’s forget I ever said anything IR…
As I’ve noted, I am no expert in any of the three fields I just mentioned, so I appreciate it when someone breaks down the impenetrable amounts of data that are out there and surmises the quality of the discussions that are occurring. Who’s fighting fair? Are we getting the full picture? If not, why not? Where’s the hysteria stemming from? Who’s avoiding answering direct questions? That type of thing…
‘When science is undone by fiction’
Jo Chandler’s piece opened my eyes in a number of ways. There is an important ice glacier in West Antarctica that is melting 50% faster than in 1994, the year my baby Bombers suffered a premiership hangover. This melting has serious consequences in the areas of destabilising the East Antarctic ice sheet and of course links in to rising seas levels which = a warmer globe.
(If you knew how long that last paragraph took to write, you’d probably never read this blog again.)
Yet not one Australian newspaper reported on it.
It wasn’t until sometime later that a friend* pointed out the relationship between the article and this blog that I thought about writing about it. In my fascination with sport, would these articles have triggered such an ongoing thought process and public discussion that I have encountered since Saturday? No way. These pieces, if indeed I had got to them, would in all likelihood have been swept away from my (limited) brain cells by a torrent of sport-related data, the quantity of which can make climate change look like a children’s story book.
(* I call this person many things, most of which are unprintable, though ‘friend’ does fit into the realm.)
Now, would I have read this article if I had not made the decision to stop watching sport for 12 months? Probably. It’s not like all sports fans think and talk about one thing and one thing only. ‘Sport’, not the other thing…
It’s not just us!
Let’s take sports fans off the hook here for a moment. We all have a crutch, whether it be fashion, gossip and celebrity news or simply plonking in front of the teev to watch whatever mindless rubbish there is. I have Foxtel; there are ‘one or two’ poor quality options to choose at any given time … ‘Bridezilla’, anyone?
Yet here is meaningful research and it can’t even get a gig in a paper. Earlier in the week, Bob Carter’s exposition (searched for and linked in order to be fair) on the reality of climate change received full voice in the media. Both deserve to have their say, to be sure, but is that the case?
In the past, I’ve felt that with all the data that is out there and both sides of the climate change debate seemingly making reasonable arguments, that it was challenging for me to attain a balanced opinion. I wonder if that was in fact the case. People like me have had our heads so immersed in sport that when transcendent information like this is presented squarely in front of me, it has failed to resonate.
There are conclusions to be made, but like matters of faith, parenting, what we do with our money as the richest 2% of the world’s population + the other ‘sacred cows’ that we are not allowed to discuss, it’s easier to just say that ‘there are two sides to every argument’ and in the process, allow ourselves to be swayed by the voices who emphasise fear and those with short term, vested interests.
‘Climate debate deserves more than hysteria, fear and populism’
Barry Jones’ take on this issue presented a stark reality check for me. Surely the title says is all? To compare the fossil fuels debate, think about how quickly did we move away from CFCs once their dangers became apparent. I don’t even recall there being much of a debate. ‘The central difference is that in the case of CFCs every chemical company was convinced that there were economic advantages in getting in first with an alternative propellant (HFCs)’. Ahh, of course, there was money to be made…
So, as this journey to go without sport continues, I am encouraged by these latest developments in my thinking and reasoning as my eyes and ears continue to be opened, widened and educated.
Chandler’s piece concludes with the stats from climate scientists publications that ’97 in every 100 have views that reflect those of the international academies of science: the planet is warming, this is human caused and it is dangerous’. Now, I might not be scientifically-minded, but I do have a maths brain. I’m going to stick with the 97%. They can’t all be wrong. Can they?
In the next instalment: Lexi the wonder puppy – why dogs are easier to write about than climate change.