Taking a Different Approach

On February 13th, Farhad Manjoo published a superb editorial in the Opinion section of the New York Times called Pretend It’s Aliens. (I’d link it but I subscribe to the Times and it’s behind a paywall.) His article “suggested” that maybe it could be a good idea to address climate change in the same manner as if an unpredictable global existential emergency were occuring – for example, as if aliens were on the way. Now for my dramatization, we earthlings (in order to avoid becoming breakfast food) would band together in a global alliance to confront and turn back the alien hordes. Now, substitute the example just described for the actions needed to address the crisis of the changing climate and minimize its damage.

Considering the amount of nonsense, fake news, outright lies, and willful ignorance circulating in our media (on the internet, television/radio and daily/weekly/monthly periodicals, etc.), he suggests that we try another approach to get our collective attention. How about a global Manhattan Project to address climate change?

Do you recall Sunday night, October 30, 1938? That was the night the Martians invaded Earth,or so radio listeners thought. Orson Welles introduced his radio play War of the Worlds, and then, suddenly, an announcer broke into the broadcast. He began to describe a Martian invasion. A million radio listeners thought that the United States was being invaded by hordes of slobbering Martians. Wild fear and panic ensued until the broadcast brought things back to Earth, when it was recognized that things were getting out of control on the streets of New York City.

Welles made quite a name for himself. He got the public’s attention, as well as the FCC’s. Maybe we need a Welles moment to get the public’s attention and demand governmental and intergovernmental action. Similar to a Manhattan-type project. Inter-governmental, corporate and religious leaders admit and declare the crisis, urgently step up, work together, and reach compromise agreement on best alternatives forward to mitigate it.

Mr Manjoo highlighted the work of David Wallace-Wells who published an article called The Uninhabitable Earth in 2017 in New York Magazine. It is essential reading.

It presents a devastating indictment of our failure to act and its consequences. Provocative. It is Mr Wallace-Wells says “a portrait of our best understanding of where the planet is heading absent aggressive action.” He goes on to point out that not all of the doomsday type scenarios will play out because earlier events will likely trigger action, albeit late, possibly mitigating future doomsday scenarios.

Mr. Wallace-Wells has published a book of the same title which is due for release this week. I’m looking forward to finishing it. Yes, I pre-ordered it on amazon.

After reading, the aforementioned articles, I researched the Hothouse Earth scenario.

The Hothouse Earth scenario was put together by a group of scientists called the Stockholm Resilience. They published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showing that there is risk of our planet entering a “Hothouse Earth” phase of accelerating temperatures and sea level rise even if the Paris Agreement targets are achieved.

Perhaps, I’m being presumptuous. You’re here so I’ve assumed that you’d be interested in reading the original materials yourself. They are highlighted above.

Thanks Mr Manjoo. Great opinion piece.

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