By Brentin Mock
The apocalypse is always usefully cast into the future — unless you happen to live in Mauritius, or Jamaica, or the many other perilous spots. – Zadie Smith
On Monday, the American Association for the Advancement of Science hit us with a report that is supposed to change the conversation around climate change. This report, called “What We Know,”
is a “sharper, clearer, and more accessible” explanation of climate change “than perhaps anything the scientific community has put out to date,” according to Justin Gillis at the New York Times.
James McCarthy, one of the report’s authors, said in a statement that we need this report because, “Even among members of the broader public who already know about the evidence for climate change and what is causing it, some do not know the degree to which many climate scientists are concerned about the risks of possibly rapid and abrupt climate change.”
Reading it, though, I have to admit that I didn’t find much different than any other report on climate destabilization from at least the last five years. I’m sorry. That’s not meant to dis the scientists who I’m sure worked hard to create this document. They are experts on this crisis and they should be taken seriously. That said, I’m lost on how this will win them new followers.
Many Americans believe, no doubt, that climate change is a thing, and that it’s happening in one way or another. But what is that thing? And is it fucking with us yet? Because believing that climate change exists doesn’t do anything to motivate change unless we’re experiencing its fuckery ourselves.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) accepts that poverty exists, as does every other member of the U.S. House of Representatives. But so long as poverty doesn’t affect Ryan, a millionaire (who makes less than the average rep), then it’s easy for him to say there’s no reason to wage war on it. It doesn’t fuck with him.
I don’t believe that Republicans are truly unconvinced of climate change’s existence. Those lawmakers in Texas, red as they may be, are aware of the droughts. They have TVs. They can see how floods and storms have ravaged areas around the country. But it doesn’t fuck them over. Wealth serves as a good buffer from that kind of fuckery.
Forgive my language here, but if scientists are looking for a clearer language to express the urgency of climate change, there’s no clearer word that expresses that urgency than FUCK.