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 Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Scientists, Policymakers, and a Climate of Uncertainty

Click here to access article by Fred Powledge from University from U. of California Press (via JSTOR). 

What is useful about this article is that it provides an up-to-date survey of the current state of climate change politics in the US, albeit at a rather superficial level. Most scientists and writers on scientific matters seem to have a trained incapacity to understand where power really lies in the US.
Much of the US-based research is directed at people who make political decisions: members of Congress, the president, state legislators, municipal officials. But whereas the flow of information from scientists has been copious, the response from policymakers, including those at the topmost positions in government, has been minuscule.
What they need to understand is that the dynamics of capitalism and conserving a healthy ecosystem are totally in opposition. And even more importantly, scientists need to communicate this understanding to the general public and to the real power brokers. Unfortunately, scientists have been dumbed down by their lengthy ideological training in the One Percent's institutions of higher learning and, thus, are unable to see where real political power lies and that there are alternatives to capitalism.