Off the Deep End: Preface

Preface: The more I think about this topic, the more I realize the scale of what I’ve promised to do here. Global climate change is, as I’ve mentioned many times before, a problem unlike anything we’ve ever tackled before, and at a scale we’ve never encountered before. In the past I’ve likened it to an actual journey to another planet similar to, but completely different from, the planet upon which humans and human civilization evolved.

I suppose it’s appropriate, in a way, that I’m undertaking to write something so ambitious – a guide on how to deal with something nobody’s ever dealt with before. I’ve always maintained that writers need to have enough of an ego to think that everybody wants to read what we write, and enough insecurity to be able to accept that much of what we write is crap.

This series (thinking I can do it justice) represents the ego portion. We’ll see about the other bit.The British comedian David Mitchell has done a couple pieces on global climate change, about which I intend to write more this coming week. In one of them, he basically talks about how he wishes that climate activists would stop trying to paint global warming as a “wonderful opportunity”, and just say that while all the toys and activities made possible by burning fossil fuels are brilliant, we can’t do that anymore because of facts. It stinks, but there it is.

That’s true, to a degree, and I’ve often likened climate action to tooth brushing. It’s not something most people are called to do. It’s not something most people (even dentists, I suspect) are really passionate about. It’s just something that we do, because if we don’t our teeth rot and fall out. There’s an element of that in climate action. Getting efficient lights and appliances, turning them off when we’re not using them, finding ways to get places without driving – that’s all toothbrush stuff. It’s hard to form the habit, but once we do form it, it’s reflexive. It’s hard for me to imagine life with a power bill over $40 or $50 per month, just as it’s hard for me to imagine not brushing my teeth. A higher bill is about the same, for me, as the way my mouth feels if I can’t brush my teeth for a couple days.

This series of blog posts is not about the toothbrush stuff. This is way more self-indulgent than that. I have a vision of the future. It’s not a vision I created all by myself – it was formed over years of reading about climate change, and about the various technologies we have at our disposal. It’s a practical vision, really. It’s achievable if you look at it from where I’m sitting, and it’s a damned pretty vision. I like the way it looks. The purpose of this blog series is not only to share that vision with anybody who might read it, it’s to convince the reader that my vision can become reality, and to recruit the reader into helping to MAKE my vision a reality.

Part of my vision is that everybody is needed. Everybody can make a real contribution, no matter your age, your income, your abilities, or your limitations. As such, this guide is going to range as far and wide as I can take it. I want there to be a chapter for every single person who wishes they had a set of instructions for how to respond to climate change. I want there to be a chapter for every person who has ignored the issue because they think nothing CAN be done.

As I mentioned earlier, global climate change is taking us to a planet that is very different from the one on which our species and civilization evolved. The goal of this guide is to provide the instructions for steering our course on that journey, so that the planet and civilization we end up with is not the one we so desperately want to avoid, but is one that we WANT to be on, even more than we wanted the one we’re leaving behind.

We’ve launched, and we’re traveling towards a pretty bad place. Now it’s up to us to change our trajectory.

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2 responses to “Off the Deep End: Preface

  1. Pingback: Off the Deep End: Preface #2, A note on harsh realities. | Oceanoxia

  2. Pingback: Off the Deep End: An inexpert guide to dealing with climate change | Oceanoxia

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