We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lapp√©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

When the End of Human Civilization Is Your Day Job [a must read]

Click here to access article by John H. Richardson from Esquire

I am disturbed that I didn't pick this up sooner because I like to post current articles (within one month). I was alerted to it by the lead article in today's selection of articles entitled "Saving the planet". I seem to be having greater difficulties in finding articles from scientific sources that seriously challenge more conventional views which have drifted somewhat from their earlier denial characteristics to one of downplaying the threats to civilization and humanity. I believe that this article goes a long way to explaining my difficulties, but more importantly, why scientists are continuing to have difficulties influencing public opinion. 

However, in my opinion, it doesn't go far enough to explicitly name the source of their opposition and their interests in managing information that might cast doubts about their system and its threats to human life. Of course I am referring to the system of capitalism that serves the addictive needs (power and profit) of only one tiny segment of humans, but is having a major and destructive impact on all human life (and many other species).
The incident was small, but Jason Box doesn't want to talk about it. He's been skittish about the media since it happened. This was last summer, as he was reading the cheery blog posts transmitted by the chief scientist on the Swedish icebreaker Oden, which was exploring the Arctic for an international expedition led by Stockholm University. "Our first observations of elevated methane levels, about ten times higher than in background seawater, were documented . . . we discovered over 100 new methane seep sites.... The weather Gods are still on our side as we steam through a now ice-free Laptev Sea...."

As a leading climatologist who spent many years studying the Arctic at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at Ohio State, Box knew that this breezy scientific detachment described one of the nightmare long-shot climate scenarios: a feedback loop where warming seas release methane that causes warming that releases more methane that causes more warming, on and on until the planet is incompatible with human life. And he knew there were similar methane releases occurring in the area. On impulse, he sent out a tweet.
Read about the tweet and how it changed scientist Jason Box's life forever. Also, be sure to listen to the interview by Mark Warren of Esquire with journalist Mark Richardson who has followed climate issues for a long time. 

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