13 March 2011


The environmental crisis--a crisis not only of the Earth, but of ourselves--roils beneath the surface of identity and lifeways, and, perforce, of ideology--economic and political. 

Here a friend says about the crisis what we do not want to acknowledge or even hear: "It speaks to the civilization that humans have formed over recent centuries.  Recognizing that Earth presents limits to human activity opens Pandora's Box of questioning the foundations of economics, transportation, consumer culture, materialism, and much more. It even extends to the fundamental identities that people hold both individually and collectively (as nations, states, businesses, etc.)."

Because the crisis of the Earth is both existential and spiritual (besides ideological, economic, political, etc.), the presentation of facts by scientists will not do the work that needs to be done, because most people do not allow science to speak to their world views. 

And, I am not hopeful that public schooling will do the job, either. Recently I asked teachers in our science department about who teaches about global climate change. Answer: It is very little taught or even mentioned anywhere in the science curriculum. So, denial of the problem due to the "hardened bunkers of ideology," as my friend says--is rampant, even among teachers. 

I suspect changes in public attitudes will come only when global climate changes are undeniably severe in disrupting the status quo of lifeways. By then, irreversible climatic tipping points will have been set in motion. Denial will segue into anger. And, the public will ask why it was not warned. The public does not want to believe or even hear it now; later--too late--it will play the blame game.

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