Skip to main content

View Diary: James Hansen: Less than 10 Years Left to Reduce CO2 (243 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Hitler was defeated in a shooting war. (6+ / 0-)

    Hitler was defeated by hundreds of thousands of soldiers who were willing to sleep in muddy trenches with fleas and lice crawling all over them, and do without wiping their asses after they shat, and eat crappy food, and endure hellacious heat and bitter cold, and get shot at, wounded, lose arms and legs, die slowly and agonizingly on battlefields, die quickly by being blown to pieces, and kill enemy soldiers in even larger numbers by the same means.  

    See, there's another reason aside from moral principles (not to mention site TOS!), to not go advocating violent means of change: nobody in this over-pampered culture is willing to put up with the physical privations involved.  

    But here's the dirty little secret:

    All that mud-slogging and lice-enduring and dying and killing was to stop a madman whose victims (the war as well as the Holocaust) totaled up to at most a high double-digit million.

    That's one hell of a puny death toll compared to what climate change is doing to do: at least two billion.  World War Two is a tiny fraction of what's going to happen during this century.  And once it gets going, it's going to add up to a world war's worth of casualties every single year.

    Compared to that, eating non-meat dinners a few nights a week, turning the heat down to 65, doing without Christmas presents, doing without spurious car trips, and spending your Saturdays registering voters, is EASY.

    If we can't do that much, we deserve to go extinct.

    So which will it be: sacrifice and work your butt off, or consign humanity to extinction?

    Hint:  Every single one of your ancestors all the way back to the first single-celled organisms, passed the test of natural selection.  That's over three billion years' worth of ancestors.  Otherwise you would not be here.  

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 06:32:45 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  A lot of those soldiers weren't all that willing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Evolutionary

      their government forced them to go sleep in the mud with the lice, etc etc

      And like you say, forced them to do all that when the stakes were much smaller than today.

      Basically, you are making the argument for absolutely draconian, top down action on the part of the federal government.  . . .

      •  if need be, yes. (7+ / 0-)

        If there's a wildfire sweeping through a valley, one would hope that everyone evacuates voluntarily.  But if not, then you send the police door to door, and if they find children, they yank them the hell out of there even if the parents want to stay and get incinerated.  Because when push comes to shove comes to handcuffs, parents do not have the right to incinerate their children, even if they themselves don't give a flying fiddler's fart whether they live or die.  

        Here's the blunt reality:

        The longer we wait to deal with the climate crisis, the fewer the options that remain, and the uglier are the options that remain.

        Today we can get there by cutting back carbon outputs by 6% per year.  If we wait, it'll have to be 15% per year.  

        If we keep waiting, it'll be food rationing and starvation lotteries and mass graves.  Not to mention terrorist bioweapons (a few desperate people in a doomed country are all it takes) and suppression of dissent by force, and mandatory sterilization after the first kid is born, and 40% unemployment if we're lucky, and forced mass migrations, and climate refugee camps, and, and, and, and.

        There is no arguing with nature about this, any more than there's arguing with gravity if you fall from a high place: 9.8 meters per second squared doesn't care whether you're a poet or a pickpocket, either way, you'll go splat! when you hit the ground.  

        Right now our culture is engaged in a kind of binge behavior where "the party goes on" until the hangover hits in full force.  But the day of reckoning is fast approaching.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 07:47:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  When TPTB are partly of the mindset that (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, mightymouse, marina, NoMoreLies

      Theocracy is the answer to ills (praying for rain), one of our biggest hurdles is attempting to get them to understand what you are talking about - Evolution.

      They deny Evolution, they deny Climate Science, they deny science in general, and in fact, are attacking those that would teach the world (teachers) the truth.

      Until and if, these idiots get past their fairy tale Man in the Sky, and start dealing with reality, we don't stand much of a chance.

      We don't just need to get money out of politics, we also need to make clear the separation of church and state.  A Theocracy would surely spell the coming of their now, all too real, self-fulfilling prophecy of Armageddon.  So what's the solution?

      VOTE!!!
      VOTE!!!
      VOTE!!!
      VOTE!!!

      #OccupyOMC - "We have a permit, its called The Constitution".

      by Evolutionary on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 07:41:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And register new voters, and offer to drive people (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina, NoMoreLies

        .... to the polling places.  And in states with ALEC Crow laws, drive people to get their state voter ID cards, and help them get their birth certificates so they can get those voter ID cards, and then get them registered.  

        You can be damn sure the Republicans will be doing that via their dominionist churches, to make sure every adult member is registered and able to vote.  Our side needs to hit the same numbers and more.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 07:50:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  US, Britain, and USSR economies (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, Roadbed Guy, wu ming

      directed totally toward the war effort.

      these countries produced an astonishing amount of stuff to defeat Hitler.

      that level of focus IS possible.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 08:01:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  propaganda effort, too (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse, G2geek, wu ming

        People forget that there was a huge propaganda effort here and abroad to push/convince people to participate and make that effort. That was really egregious in WWI but was also an important part of WWII.
        I'm not advocating "propaganda" about climate change, but we DO need massive, convincing, top-down education so that every community is pitching in toward a goal.

        When activities become popular or the thing to do, people will eagerly join in. Example: I've been carrying my own cloth/mesh grocery bags since about 1980, over thirty years. Now in the last couple of years, somehow these bags have become the thing to do, and everybody (or a noticeably large percentage of people) bring their own bags. What caused this change? Stores adding a surcharge if you take bags? Stores promoting the cloth bags? Some kind of TV role models I don't know about? Schools? City recycling centers? Somebody's grassroots project? Or a combination of all these? What effected this change in behavior?

        I guess people need to feel like it's fun and worthwhile to join in. We need to figure out how to do this on many more issues.

        ~On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Raise her glowing flame!~ I am proud to say three generations of my family lived in WI. Though I live elsewhere, am with you in spirit!

        by sillia on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 09:15:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  great point - propaganda is essential. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, sillia, sleipner

          it's fascinating to go back and look at the WWII propaganda effort. they really taught the people who the good guys and bad guys were.

          An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

          by mightymouse on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 09:27:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  One caveat on propaganda (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sillia, mightymouse

            Back then the populace was relatively naive when it came to propaganda and marketing - today everyone's been exposed to hard sell jobs for everything from beer to politics their entire lives.  Attempting to overwhelmingly motivate people as occurred in WW2 would be impossible today.  

            The only way we'll get that level of motivation will be after tremendous disasters begin to occur which were obviously caused by climate change - personally I believe we've already seen many of those but the deniers are better at propaganda than the scientists, so the population still believes those several thousand events are flukes.

            Atheism is a religion like Abstinence is a sexual position. - Bill Maher, 2/3/2012

            by sleipner on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 10:49:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was thinking more (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mightymouse

              of fashion trends, fads, bandwagons to jump onto. Keeping up with the Joneses by getting solar panels on our house, too! Some sparks of publicity to help generate that type of behavior.

              I agree with you that people are more sophisticated now about marketing. They still like participating in something they view as worthwhile though, so it could be done, carefully. But the will has to start somewhere.

              ~On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Raise her glowing flame!~ I am proud to say three generations of my family lived in WI. Though I live elsewhere, am with you in spirit!

              by sillia on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 11:17:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  maybe "propaganda" is the wrong word (0+ / 0-)

              kind of old school. but that's what it is ....

              An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

              by mightymouse on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 01:35:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  then I'll advocate propaganda about climate change (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoratioGalt, mightymouse

          .... since you said you wouldn't:-)

          We have an entire advertising industry producing propaganda for overconsumption, which is one of the two key drivers of the climate crisis (the other being overpopulation).

          So we need to direct the same kind of talent, effort, and blanket coverage toward producing propaganda for climate change.  And the key to that is to not waste effort explaining and explaining but instead go right for the emotional narratives and the emotional hot buttons.

          For example run natural disaster footage, then cut to a picture of two 10-year-olds walking through the flood or the wreckage or the parched desert where there used to be a municipal reservoir, talking about how "nobody cared about climate change when they could have stopped it."   All manner of gruesome stuff could be created to scare the living shit out of people and give them nightmares.  And on the other hand, all manner of warm and fuzzy stuff could be created to depict what happens if we manage to solve this.  

          There's nothing dishonest about using emotional narratives and button-pushes to get people to act in a manner that will save their childrens' and grandchildren's lives.  

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 10:11:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think it has to be firmly connected (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wu ming, mightymouse, G2geek

            to action. You don't just scare people on principle. You use the emotional narratives to get a particular result--in the case of WWII, for example, collecting scrap metal. (Not to mention donating their sons :-( ...) In our case, recycling, using cloth grocery bags, swapping light bulbs, turning down the furnace, carpooling, etc. But there has to be a GOAL.

            The kind of action I'd like to see is more hands-on, like insulating people's houses. How about a gov't program to put insulation into every attic, supported by state and local efforts (they could compete to see who does more) and volunteer efforts? I imagine this would be a big job-producer, but the work is so enormous, at least for the first few years, you'd need teams of volunteers too, like Habitat for Humanity.

            ~On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Raise her glowing flame!~ I am proud to say three generations of my family lived in WI. Though I live elsewhere, am with you in spirit!

            by sillia on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 10:29:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  as gmoke often writes (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sillia, G2geek

              the analogy is a barn-raising.

            •  Yes, clearly, and also... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sillia

              When people start taking steps such as insulating their houses etc., they start to get "buy-in" which gives them a commitment to the issue.

              The most important piece is getting people to write to their elected officials in large numbers, and getting them to vote for someone who will do something serious about this.  

              Everything comes down to votes.

              And yes there could be an enormous economic stimulus based on this, which will also produce major buy-in with people who are getting those jobs.  That's what we should have done starting in 2009, but one way or another it can still happen.

              "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 04:24:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  this is a big deal (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sillia, mightymouse

          people need to be given lots of small things they can accomplish, so that they can be a part of a solution and not just get bogged down in despair at the enormity of the thing. luckily for us, global warming is the sum of zillions of seemingly insignificant acts, so shifting those acts away from releasing carbon are actually - not only in a propaganda sense - fighting the problem at its source.

          you gotta give 'em hope, and you gotta give 'em victories.

      •  Ironically, I suppose, all that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse

        effort certainly boosted CO2 levels more than anything else in history up to then . . .

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site