Off the Deep End: An inexpert guide to dealing with climate change

This is an ongoing series of blog posts that will make up a majority of this blog for a while. For an explanation of what it’s about, you can check out the initial “announcement” post and the two prefaces, or you can just go to here and find all the posts I’ve made so far in this series. The most recent addition is likely to be either directly beneath this sticky, or not far below whatever IS there.

UPDATE 02/11/2014:

High school post is up.

Recommended reading: Global Weirdness by Climate Central. This book covers what we know about Earth’s climate. Scientists, almost by definition, are always working at the edges of our understanding. They’re more interested in what we DON’T know than anything else in the world, which means that they don’t tend to talk about what we DO know. As a result, a lot of what we hear about from scientists sounds uncertain. This book covers the things that ARE certain, and it’s a good primer in the basics of man-made global warming. It’s a relatively easy read, and well worth your time.

Off the Deep End: What can high school students do?

One of the problems that has confronted every teenager in recent history is that it’s the age at which you are becoming aware of the world around you and the problems in it, but according to the law, you are still a child, and have no power or money to make a difference. While that perception is not entirely true (you DO have the power to make a difference), there are many ways in which it is. Continue reading

Off the deep end: How to make a snowballing climate action fund.

The snowballing climate action fund is a way to start by spending a little money on climate action, and gradually increase the amount you’re able to spend on it by setting aside savings. I’m going to describe it at the level of an individual apartment, but as I’ll explain later, it’s really applicable at any level from individual households, to the entire globe.

The notion is pretty simple, and can be done in a set of easily definable steps. We’ll start with power consumption: Continue reading

Off The Deep End: How can one person influence politics?

In the last section, I talked about how artists and writers can help create a common vision of a better future that seems within reach. When this succeeds, and that vision takes hold, there are a number of reactions, and one of the more common ones is a desire to look at how to make that future a reality. Sure, we have the technology and know-how to create a better society, but do we have the collective will to do so?

Politics, in America, are daunting, to say the least. We live in an increasingly plutocratic society, in which the majority of legislators are far wealthier than the average American, and the cost of running for office seems to get higher with every election. So how can one person, or even a handful of people, make a difference in this arena?

There are a lot of possible answers to that question, so I’m going to start (as is my wont) with my own experience. Continue reading

Off the Deep End: Delayed post.

The downside of having a lot to do is that I have a lot to do. The next chapter will come by the end of Tuesday. Sorry for the delay – I should have time to make future updates ahead of time.

Tomorrow’s update will cover what one person can do REGARDLESS of their artistic or technical abilities.

Off The Deep End: But what can one person do?

The titular question here comes up a lot in climate action. It’s literally the biggest problem anybody’s ever tackled, so it’s a bit daunting. After all, in the face of a problem this big, what can one person do?

Well, it turns out that one person can do rather a lot.

When I started working on this post, I ran into some difficulty. I don’t want any one of these chapters to be very long, and I found that when it came down to it, there was simply more than I could fit in one post.

That being the case, I’m going to set aside actions for the technically-minded and those who like getting involved in debates and politics (for now – I’ll get to you soon!), and focus on those among us of the artistic sort. Continue reading

Off the Deep End: Preface #2, A note on harsh realities.

There’s one more thing to say in addition to the preface I’ve already published.

In the past few years, I’ve encountered what strikes me as a rather peculiar attitude. When faced with a problem the likes of which our species has never seen – a problem which could, realistically, lead to our extinction, a number of people respond by saying that a given action or solution “isn’t feasible” or “doesn’t make economic sense”.

While I’m not suggesting that anybody ruin themselves (that would remove your ability to keep fighting), I AM suggesting that that line of thinking, founded in the largely stable and prosperous 20th century, is not applicable to our current situation. Continue reading