Daily Archives: May 19, 2014

George Marshall on communicating climate change following extreme weather events | Transition Network

George-Marshall

COIN, the Climate Outreach and Information Network, recently published a great report called After the floods: communicating climate change around extreme weather, which set out to explore our “complex attitudes to climate change and extreme weather events”. Why do extreme weather events not necessarily mean that people “get” climate change? How should Transition initiatives in communities hit by extreme weather talk about climate change with their neighbours? These are just some of the vital questions we explored with George Marshall, COIN’s founder, in a long and fascinating interview.

I went to Dawlish the other day, where the railway line was washed into the sea recently, and the town took a complete pasting. I met an old man there who’d lived in Dawlish for many years and we sat and looked out over the town together and I asked him about the storm. He said, “it’s the worst storm I’ve ever seen, I’ve never seen anything like it.” I said “so do you make any link between what you saw that night and climate change?” He said, “oh I don’t believe in climate change.” He said, “do you?” and I said “I do, very much so.” He said, “well I do believe that since the beginning of the industrial revolution we’ve poured huge amounts of gases and pollutants into the atmosphere and that that has changed the climate, but I don’t believe in climate change.” Can you explain that?

I can counter that with another quote. I have a book coming out later this year on the psychology of climate change. I started with a quote from Leon Frankfurter who was a high court judge in the US. He was given a presentation by a man who first hand had seen the clearing of the Warsaw ghetto by the Nazis during the Second World War and the herding of Jews into concentration camps. He reported all of this to Judge Frankfurter who was a Jew himself and Frankfurter said “I cannot believe you.” So the guy said “are you crazy, this is an eyewitness testimony.” But Judge Frankfurter says “No, I’m not saying he’s lying. I said I simply cannot believe him and these are different things.” This was interesting from a Supreme Court judge

* * *

What is this psychological mechanism that allows us to know something is true but act as if it is not? In this groundbreaking and engaging look at one of the most important issues facing us today, George Marshall, known for his work on the psychology of climate change denial, shows that even when we accept that climate change is a dire problem, our human brains are wired to ignore it—and argues that we can overcome this.

With engaging stories and drawing on years of his own research, Marshall confirms that humans are wired to respond strongest to threats that are visible, immediate, have historical precedent, have direct personal impact, and are caused by an “enemy.” Climate change is none of these—it’s invisible, unprecedented, drawn out, impacts us indirectly, and is caused by us. Taking the reader deep into our evolutionary origins, Marshall argues that once we understand what excites, threatens, and motivates us, we can rethink and reimagine climate change. In the end, his book is both about climate change and about the qualities that make us human: our limitations, our strengths, and how we can grow as we deal with the greatest challenge we have ever faced.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Washington Is Rigged for the Rich


ForaTv

Published on May 19, 2014

Full video from Sixth and I Historic Synagogue available at: http://fora.tv/2014/05/01/Senator_Eli…

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts reads from her book A Fighting Chance and argues that tax loopholes, lobbyists, and Republican cronies are taking money and power away from America’s families.

Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

Benjamin Ross: Dead End – Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism

Forum Network

Published on May 19, 2014

Harvard Book Store welcomed former president of Maryland’s Action Committee for Transit and environmental consultant Benjamin Ross for a discussion of his book Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism.

More than five decades have passed since Jane Jacobs wrote her classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities, and since a front page headline in the New York Times read, “Cars Choking Cities as ‘Urban Sprawl’ Takes Over.” Yet sprawl persists, and not by mistake. It happens for a reason.

As an activist and a scholar, Benjamin Ross is uniquely placed to diagnose why this is so. Dead End traces how the ideal of a safe, green, orderly retreat where hardworking members of the middle class could raise their children away from the city mutated into the McMansion and strip mall-ridden suburbs of today. Ross finds that sprawl is much more than bad architecture and sloppy planning. Its roots are historical, sociological, and economic. He uses these insights to lay out a practical strategy for change, honed by his experience leading the largest grass-roots mass transit advocacy organization in the United States. The problems of smart growth, sustainability, transportation, and affordable housing, he argues, are intertwined and must be solved as a whole. The two keys to creating better places to live are expansion of rail transit and a more genuinely democratic oversight of land use.

Dead End is, ultimately, about the places where we live our lives. Both an engaging history of suburbia and an invaluable guide for today’s urbanists, it will serve as a primer for anyone interested in how Americans actually live.

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

Sustaining Life: The Importance of Biodiversity for Human Health


Forum Network

Published on May 19, 2014

The current loss of biological diversity is on par with the last great extinction event of 65 million years ago when roughly half of all species were lost. This rapid loss directly affects human health and well-being on a global scale. Aaron Bernstein explains the relationship between emerging disease patterns and declining biodiversity.

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

Deeper and Longer Greenland Canyons = Higher Sea Levels | Topography Video


VideoFromSpace

Published on May 19, 2014

The below sea-level canyons beneath the ocean-feeding glacier cut further inland than previously estimates. Accelerated ice loss of the glacier was thought to be limited, but this finding calls into question its duration.

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

Thom Hartmann on Science and Green News: May 19, 2014

thomhartmann

Published on May 19, 2014

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

Bjorn Lomborg, “Prioritizing the World: How to spend $75 billion to do the Most Good”


Talks at Google

Published on May 19, 2014

Dr. Bjorn Lomborg is an academic and the author of the best-selling “The Skeptical Environmentalist” and “Cool It”. He challenges mainstream concerns about the environment and points out that we need to focus attention on the smartest solutions first. He is an adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School, and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, which brings together many of the world’s top economists, including seven Nobel Laureates, to set priorities for the world.

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics