This is not climate change. Remember the term “global warming?” That’s what it used to be called. But right-wing think-tanks and their press outlets didn’t like that term, so they, since they are allowed to frame most conversations these days, chose “climate change” as a more innocuous term. Most people would agree to changing their climate. But saying “global warming” still dissociates the issue from reality, a “globe” is that big round thing at libraries with oceans and countries printed on it. What we really have is a planetary energy imbalance, more heat being retained than is being radiated out into space. And the consequences of that are far more serious than just some “warming.”
This is really good, it's not climate change. Climate change is one thing, but what about the fact of 40% of land mammals are already gone... and something like over 50% of the worlds larger fish in the oceans gone as well.
Dear Readers - apparently I must write a comment to my own article (above). Prof. Dr. Andrew Weaver, Professor at University of Victoria, former member of the BC Legislature, former leader of the Green Party and part of the NDP-Green coalition that chose to complete the environmentally destructive Site-C dam in northern BC, wrote an e-mail reply after viewing this article, and I would not like to see all readers leave with the same negative impressions.
“Hello Kathleen, and with respect, how does your article do anything to help anyone other than yourself in dealing with your own personal climate anxiety? I say this from experience since articles like the one you wrote were being written by climate scientists (including me) several decades ago at a time when public awareness of global warming was still in its infancy. But now public awareness is no longer an issue. People want solutions as there is a growing sense of hopelessness and despondency. Your article, I would suggest, just feeds that without providing any constructive way forward. We need ways forward now, not more ratcheting up the fear.”
“I encourage you to work towards positive solutions for yourself, your family and your community. It is through our individual leadership that we can change the behaviour of others.”
He suggests that I read his article on climate anxiety: “Privilege, agency, and the climate scientist’s role in the global warming debate” https://www.andrewweavermla.ca/2023/01/01/privilege-agency-climate-scientists-role-public-global-warming-debate/
In this article he states: “But when climate scientists participate in civil disobedience or do little more than criticize others for inaction, they abdicate that position of privilege and agency by pretending to be on the same footing as others in society who are not as well informed on the nuances of climate change. As such, rather than alleviating their own, and broader society’s, climate anxiety, they fuel it further by inadvertently ratcheting up the rhetoric with nothing to offer in terms of overall solutions or risk reduction.”
So allow me to address some of these concerns. First of all, I am 76 years old and have NEVER been on an airplane - how many people can say that? I am not on salary and have no income other than some investments which the government and the Bank of Canada are trying to run to zero by their systematic destruction of the value of the currency. I drive usually less than 2000 km per year, some of that in EV, much of it in a 1986 vehicle made in Japan using nuclear power, so even at 411,000 km it might possibly have a smaller environmental footprint than any new EV. I cannot carry lumber and concrete blocks in the EV. I work almost every day at home, maintaining this large and GREEN property with heavy manual labour. This large greenspace produces oxygen which the hundreds of cars per hour or passing traffic steal for free from the commons to burn their liquid fuels during their pathetic commute.
So why did I write the above article which Dr. Weaver suggests is out of date by several decades, and that the greatest present need on the climate front is alleviating people’s anxieties? Well, in recent years there has been all manner of clever attempts at Greenwashing which on one hand, pretend to be “climate action” and their other aspect is to give people “hope.” This includes NBS (Nature-Based Solutions) such as planting millions of trees, carbon “offsets” and CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) and others. Clever “solutions” such as these, while doing no actual good in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions (see the Keeling Curve: https://gml.noaa.gov/ccgg/trends/), these initiatives have taken climate urgency right off people’s thought-table so that they can get back to “normal” in their lives. So what I’m saying in the above article, is that what we have is not the right-wing’s term of “climate change”, nor the old phrase “global warming”, but, to again bring forward the urgency, what humans have caused is an actual planetary catastrophe by throwing eons of properly sequestered carbon into the thin atmosphere which separates us from the vacuum and radiation of Space.
Then there is the suggestion that I give no “constructive way forward.” I’m quite sure that I mentioned the end of the use of coal, as per Dr. Hansen’s recommendations over and over again - that if we stop using coal, then there is plenty of time to solve the oil and gas consumption issues. But with China opening new coal, plants virtually every day, ending use of coal seems to be out of reach. But, remember when you buy products made in China, they are burning that coal for YOU. And there is my proposal on oxygen pricing (https://kathleenmccroskey.substack.com/p/can-oxygen-pricing-help-save-the) on this Substack, which I first proposed in 2013. When Dr. Weaver writes a letter to media, it gets printed; when I wrote to many, many papers (even Washington Post) about this oxygen pricing issue, I am just ignored. Fortunately it was finally published on truthout.org (https://truthout.org/articles/can-oxygen-pricing-help-save-the-environment/) in 2013 and updated since then on my website and now here on Substack. So I DO propose real solutions, but they are always ignored. People do not want to be informed of things that they try to keep out of mind, such as their continuous theft of oxygen from the commons. And I have tried the political version of solutions; I was a treasurer for a local federal riding association. From this experience I can advise you that democracy in Canada lies in the hands of those who can (and are willing to) talk over everyone else in the room, therein lies the primary source of democratic power. The party system in Canada is totally opaque to change; an overwhelming event would be required to make any substantial changes to governance or the news cycle for that matter. In Canada, nobody can walk down the hotel stairs and announce that they are running for President or Prime Minister then fund-raise themselves into office.
And should I really care about a climate-induced anxiety “crisis” in the minds of this rogue species (https://kathleenmccroskey.substack.com/p/limits-to-progress) which is at continuous war against Nature and when “climate anxiety” is even less of a concern than “Nuclear anxiety” in the face of Russian aggression and nuclear sabre-rattling even though I have proposed perhaps the best solution (https://kathleenmccroskey.substack.com/p/a-possible-path-to-peace) to end wars? Can we even begin to discuss anxieties let alone the climate catastrophe and biodiversity during these times when the possibility of a nuclear winter is so close? Oh, wait, that involves the nuclear count-down clock, and Dr. Weaver despises the various climate count-down clocks!
Update April 2, 2023: What I'm trying to say here is that we CANNOT live like this on this planet if we want it to look anything like it has been during the time of human evolution. We need to think entirely differently, not just worry about human anxieties - please read Dr. Maja Goepel's 2016 book "The Great Mindshift" and my review of it here at https://kathleenmccroskey.substack.com/p/a-review-of-the-great-mindshift