Comments on 2020-02-23 Into the climate catastrophe

That’s a very good point about ending up viewing changes eventually implemented as a “last-minute turnaround”.

Ynas Midgard 2020-02-23 16:22 UTC

Yeah, I started thinking about that in the context of green parties in European parliaments not getting as much done as I would have liked. And sometimes I look around and feel that journalists write as if climate problems and our awareness of them was “new” – but it’s not.

The again:

– Alex Schroeder 2020-02-23 17:39 UTC

@olivia replied on Mastodon:

First time i visited europe i was surprised by how much people in a ’first world’ country could actually live their whole lives thinking they are ’good people’ and ’do no harm to others’ (and really, they’re not doing anything wrong) and recycling and being nice to their neighbors. without realizing they were working for companies that actively engaged in social exploitation in far-away lands, buying things made by someone that makes 1 dollar a day etc.

because in these first world country everything is so clean and orderly. and the trains come on time and you don’t see poor people on the streets. poverty is elsewhere. but it’s hard to see how much your life impacts poverty across the globe in these situations. we need to remember, as david harvey always says, how did the food we eat was produced. the things we buy. why are they so cheap? how can i buy a shirt for 5 dollars if getting a haircut where i live costs 4× that?

The comment above developed into a longer discussion on Mastodon. I don’t think I can copy it all to the blog. Sorry!

– Alex Schroeder 2020-02-23 22:24 UTC

Where were you when you wrote this, three days before you arrived in Quito?

Ed Davies 2020-02-26 21:19 UTC

Greta Thunberg: Humanity has not yet failed, 75 on the Swedish radio, in English.

– Alex Schroeder 2020-06-26 14:51 UTC

Population panic lets rich people off the hook for the climate crisis they are causing, by George Monbiot, The Guardian: “[Dame Jane Goodall] proposed no mechanism by which her dream might come true. This could be the attraction. The very impotence of her call is reassuring to those who don’t want change. If the answer to environmental crisis is to wish other people away, we might as well give up and carry on consuming.”

– Alex Schroeder 2020-08-26 14:09 UTC

Ice Sheet Melting Is Perfectly in Line With Our Worst-Case Scenario, Scientists Warn, by Marlowe Hood.

“We need to come up with a new worst-case scenario for the ice sheets because they are already melting at a rate in line with our current one,” lead author Thomas Slater, a researcher at the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at the University of Leeds, told AFP.

– Alex 2020-09-15 08:24 UTC

“The second best approach we have is education.”

Perhaps it would be interesting to ask what the content of that education could (or should) be.

Lots of people seem aware that we’re heading for climate breakdown; fewer seem confident that we can change that, or to have ideas about how we could go about it.

If the theory of an evolutionarily stable strategy is the last word in practical reason then it seems as if we might in fact locked in – by what is, according to the theory, the very nature of rational interaction – to our current, destructive path.

If we teach that to coming generations, we probably shouldn’t be surprised if they conclude that there’s ultimately no way for them act any differently to how their teachers did.

@poebbel 2020-10-25 19:16 UTC

I think I learned the right things back in the eighties and nineties. The lessons could have been better, of course. I hope they are better, now. I hope this means that green parties will gain power. That other parties will become greener and greener. That green deals can be made within larger blocks, like the European Union. This will pull many other nations along. I’m still optimistic. The only problem is that it is glacially slow.

Gen X optimism born out of the Boomers and Generation-X thread I saw last year.

– Alex 2020-10-25 22:25 UTC

I thought I’d subscribed to this page but it seems I didn’t. Maybe I forgot to tick the box.

I suppose what I was trying to suggest, in a roundabout way, is that the theory of evolutionarily stable strategies has problems as a model of social and political interaction, and that it might be interesting to think about how to improve on it.

It’s an example of a kind of theory that’s incredibly influential, both among economists and among people more broadly. And what it basically seems to say is that to work towards climate justice is bound to be both painful (for those who undertake the work) and futile (because you/they won’t succeed).

If the theory is true, then not only are we in a situation that can lead us to despair sometimes, but despair is all there is. Not only is it horrible to continue to cause climate breakdown but it’s irrational to try to do anything other than continue.

Personally, I don’t think we actually are stuck in that corner. The theory isn’t convincing. We can do better. People have done better. There are lots of alternatives out there, some within game theory/economics, some beyond.

But probably you think all of this already!

Poebbel 2020-11-09 14:35 UTC

Sadly, on a bad day, despair is all there is. 😟

– 2020-11-10 09:03 UTC

That’s true. And things are hard for a lot of people at the moment. I hope you’re doing alright.

– Poebbel 2020-11-10 09:58 UTC

Bubbling methane craters and super seeps - is this the worrying new face of the undersea Arctic? by Valeria Sukhova, Olga Gertcyk, The Siberian Times. «Fields of methane discharge continue to grow all along the East Siberian Arctic Ocean Shelf, with concentration of atmospheric methane above the fields reaching 16-32ppm (parts per million). This is up to 15 times above the planetary average of 1.85ppm.»

– Alex Schroeder 2020-11-20 20:08 UTC

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