Mortal threat responses and the role of politics

July 7, 2007 at 2:28 am | Posted in Activists, Apathy, Citizens, Climate change, Environment, Gore, Independent, Live Earth, Politics | 4 Comments

We shouldn’t be shocked by public apathy
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
Published: 06 July 2007
The news that the mortal threat of global warming is being greeted with a yawn by half the population of Britain may shock you. It shouldn’t. For it illustrates a key truth for anyone concerned with climate change: the difference between activists and citizens. Activists are on top of the agenda, hyper-aware of problems and issues, and because they mainly talk to other activists, they think everyone sees the world they way they do. But people don’t. Most citizens, most ordinary people, are not idealists, never mind activists; their main concerns are naturally self-regarding. Thus polls tell us they care most about their income, and then about their health, and then about the education of their children.This is not evil, or even lamentable; it is the human condition. If people seem unconcerned at the greatest threat to their well-being of all, it is for a simple reason: money, health and schools are now, but global warming takes place in the future. Scientists are surer every week that this future is catastrophic and coming sooner than we thought. But though the activists have taken this on board, the citizens have not.

There’s the political problem of climate change: by the time most ordinary people see their own vital interests are indeed threatened, it may be too late.

That’s why Al Gore is doing humankind a signal service in sounding the alarm. That’s why Live Earth matters.

Yesterday’s story in the Independent, which has good coverage of Live Earth today (Saturday).

There’s a certain irony when you consider the constant drum-beats of war thumping in our ears in America during the build-up to the attack on Iraq. I do not know how much those resounded in Britain, by comparison, playing second fiddle to the percussion who led that orchestrated manouevre. Perhaps the US administration not only led the charge but drowned out all opposition—for an imaginary cause with an unproven threat.

4 Comments »

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  1. I must admit, I’m not surprised by your sentiments… I’ve come to expect them from most people on the internet. Live Earth is a flat out travesty. Okay, so they are having all of these concerts to “raise awareness” for global warming, except that they are also turning a profit. Out of all of the events, broadcasts, and pay-per-views that this “thing” is going to have, only one of them is free (Rio De Janiero), and the profits of all the other events is going too (drum roll please…) The Alliance for Climate Protection which is chaired by, **ba-bum** Al Gore. So guess what, all this stuff is a fundraiser for Al Gore’s already fat wallet, and not so much a “service to humanity”. Guess what else, the public is fickle… in another 10-15 years, Global Warming will be behind us, and everyone will be yelping about Global Cooling.

    As for Iraq, so we took a swing at missed at finding the WMD’s we were told by the CIA they had… now you have Iran and North Korea in a known pursuit of the same. If you have a better idea then a war that has a chance of working, get elected. Until then, I’m going to analyze what the politicians say and make my own opinions.

  2. I do not mind if people ‘turn a profit’ if it is for the good of humanity and our planet.
    The alternative is ‘turning a profit’ at the expense of human lives and our fragile Earth.
    You are wrong on several accounts:
    1. We watch and listen to full Live Earth coverage free of charge on BBC TV and radio.
    2. Global warming will not be behind us in 10-15 years’ time; we have a chance to minimise the extent to which climate change will damage our environment, but only if we take action now—which is the point of raising awareness through Live Earth.
    3. Global cooling is not in any of the scenarios modelled by scientists for our lifetimes, nor those of our children or grandchildren.

  3. allow me to please to quote Dr. Timothy Ball, a Canadian climatologist, and the first Canadian to win a Nobel Prize for Science, “When I started in this field in the 70’s Global Cooling was the fad… The “facts” regarding Global Warming are misleading at best… The Earth experiences cycles of both hot and cold, right now we are in a warm cycle.” The real problem with science is that it assumes that the way things are now is the way they either have always been(unprovable), or will always be if left to themselves (historically untrue). According the guys out studying the ice core samples in the arctic, the earth’s temperatures we this high before… 2000 years ago… before the industrial revolution. If Al Gore is so up in arms about Global Warming, he can sell his private jet, because I seriously don’t think he cares half as much as he claims.

  4. Timothy Ball is a well-known global warming denialist. Nuff said.


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