When a large asteroid hit the earth, sixty-five million years ago, it kicked up a huge amount of dust. The dust dimmed the sun for so long that the surface of the earth cooled sufficiently to wipe out the dinosaurs (incidentally giving mammals a chance to develop into the rich variety we see today).
If such a threat were in our near future, CNN and all the other news channels would be screaming about it. There would be non-stop coverage, on what we could do to avert the disaster, and how to cope should it strike anyway, and how each of us would be affected. You couldn’t get away from this news.
A similar threat is actually upon us, but going the other way: the earth is steadily warming. If we keep burning fossil fuels at today’s rate, the average global temperature may rise by 4 degrees C by 2100. That doesn’t sound like much, but the last time the world was 4C cooler on average, we were in an ice age, and life looked very different from the way it is today.
And it will keep warming past the year 2100. We don’t know what life will look like when it’s more than 4C warmer: it hasn’t been that warm for millions of years.
This is an astonishing thought: the planet, our home, would be altogether a different place from what it is today. And while the changes appear slow on a human time scale, the warming is occurring at an unprecedented rate. Already species are feeling the pressure, and it is not clear how many will survive the changes that are very rapid on an evolutionary time scale. It’s clear: we must do what we can to keep the warming below 2C.
You would think that would make the news.
But the other astonishing thing about this is that there has been a near-silence on climate change in the mainstream news media. What little there is, is often diluted because editors give equal time to climate change deniers.
So here is what you and I can do about that.
We can help pass around the story ourselves. I’ve been giving climate talks, and have found that even the greenest cohorts still needs to hear the message more often, and more clearly: that global warming is happening, that it’s happening now, that we humans are causing it, and that there is a window of time in which we can work to stave off the worst of the effects.
For those who are not into powerpoint talks, you can arrange to show movies on climate change. This is what I did recently. I started by going to my public library; I found the librarian who manages the library events, and pitched her my idea of showing selected parts of the documentary “Years of Living Dangerously”.
Press link for more: http://www.cellomomcars.com/2015/03/how-to-spread-word-about-climate-change.html