Embracing the Monster of Climate Change

Finally, a mainstream media reporter has the courage to bring up the elephant in the newsroom: CLIMATE CHANGE!!!

In a blog post—not a front page or prime time news story, alas–ABC News reporter Bill Blakemore writes candidly of the fear that a realistic assessment of the threat of climate change must raise in anyone who cares about the future of human civilization on this planet.

“Established scientists, community and government leaders and journalists, as they describe the disruptions, suffering and destruction that manmade global warming is already producing, with far worse in the offing if humanity doesn’t somehow control it, are starting to allow themselves publicly to use terms like “calamity,” “catastrophe”, and “risk to the collective civilization,” Blakemore writes.

“Sooner or later, everyone who learns about the rapid advance of manmade global warming must deal with the question of fear.”

Blakemore advises us to take a page out of the U.S. Air Force playbook and learn to “hug the monster” of climate change, rather than recoiling into fearful paralysis.

“If you freeze or panic — if you go into merely reactive “brainlock” — you’re lost,” he says.

“But if your mind has been prepared in advance to recognize the psychological grip of fear, focus on it, and then transform its intense energy into action — sometimes even by changing it into anger — and by also engaging the thinking part of your brain to work the problem, your chances of survival go way up.”

It is absolutely clear that we stand on the edge of the greatest crisis ever to confront human civilization.

It is also quite clear that almost NO ONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT IT.

Sometimes when I bring up the reality of impending climate change I really feel like the drip, the drone, the total wet blanket in the room.  People actually give me dirty looks and do their best to change the topic ASAP.

Okay, people.  You go your way and I’ll go mine.

I don’t know whether it’s possible for humanity to survive the coming catastrophe of global heating.

If we survive, it will only be through a drastic change in our ethos and way of life.

We cannot continue to treat the planet as our private killing field, burning and hacking at all other life forms as if they did not matter a damn.

We in the Western world cannot continue to pretend that our wasteful, profligate lifestyles are a given that cannot be questioned, touched or changed.

To me the monster in the room is not so much global heating itself, as the destructive, predatory mindset that has brought it about.

If we are going to embrace the monster, as the Air Force suggests, and even employ anger as a tool of resistance, than we need to start getting angry at ourselves.

We Americans and Europeans have brought the planet to the brink of the next “global extinction event”—aka, the brink of total annihilation for the majority of current life forms on Earth.

Where is the anger? Where is the outrage?  Where is the will to change?

First step: acknowledge that the problem exists.

Thanks, Bill Blakemore, for getting us just a little bit closer to taking that first baby step.

Leave a comment

6 Comments

  1. It was very interesting to see your post today – as for much of this day I was in panic about where things are headed. I live a very modest life and do without many things the average American would consider necessities so…recognizing what is really going on is not the problem for me – it’s dealing with the terror I sometimes feel. I barely make enough to buy food, a roof, etc and I know things will be getting far worse. Taking one moment at a time helps relieve some of the anxiety, but not much. Any thoughts on how to work with the fear when I’m already doing far more than most to moderate my consumption?

    Reply
    • Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

       /  May 14, 2012

      Yes I think it’s crucial to build community so you don’t feel like you’re facing this unfolding crisis all alone. If you’re going to “hug the monster,” don’t do it alone!

      Reply
  2. Martin Lack

     /  May 15, 2012

    “If you freeze or panic — if you go into merely reactive ‘brainlock’ — you’re lost,”

    So says Blakemore, and he is absolutely right: The people who survive traumas are those that are mentally prepared for them. That means having a plan and executing it.

    At the moment, our leaders have been hypnotised by the fossil fuel lobby into a catatonic state wherein they believe no radical action to de-carbonise our energy generation systems is necessary. They talk of energy mix and energy security, whilst all the time encouraging – if not subsidising – the exploitation of every last drop of fossil fuels…

    I don’t know where the disconnection is, but, someone somewhere in the backrooms of the civil service of every western government is living a schizophrenic existence… More water vapour in the atmosphere more of the time – and more clouds – did not stop Venus from succumbing to a runaway greenhouse effect once positive feedback mechanisms kicked-in.

    Just as believing that the Titanic was unsinkable did not stop it sinking; believing that technology can solve our problems will not stop them becoming unsolvable. The time to act was 30 years ago but – never has it been more appropriate to say it – better late than never. At the moment, we are failing to plan; and therefore planning to fail.

    Reply
  3. leavergirl

     /  May 16, 2012

    They are afraid to speak up for fear of paralyzing the public?! That’s rich. The public has been systematically zombified by TV, celeb babble, miseducation and misinformation, and the spewage of crap to shop for… what’s left to paralyze?

    “which annual global temperature is rising as a result of excess carbon emissions”

    Wrong. Whatever part of excess warming is caused by humans is caused by lack of water and carbon sequestration… Hey folks, look at it this way. Suppose you live on an island, and pave over most of the land, and what’s left, you farm so poorly that the carbon and water escapes rather than goes into the soil as nature intended. And suddenly, oops, it’s kinda hot and dry. Should that come as a surprise?

    Reply
  4. Bill

     /  July 19, 2012

    Saw your post on “The endless summer” article, and wandered over here. Question for you… once we get past all the “catch phrases” and “scare tactics”, what’s really left? Answer… facts. Here’s the problem (good news), the world isn’t going into a catastrophic climate apocalypse. We live in a world where data and information travels faster than ever before. The fallout is that every severe weather event, drought, heatwave is common knowledge. We’re bombarded with images of destruction and “record data”.
    I concede that humans have an impact on their environment, and we should always strive to minimize that impact. But ideas like NYC will be under water by 2100 are complete garbage.
    In any argument, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. In this case, we’ve got the radical left (James Hansen, etc) who claim the planet will experience catastrophic damage (conveniently just after we’ve all died, so nobody is left to witness the outcome of this wild prediction)… and the radical right who claim that climate change is not real, and just manageable, and probably a warmer planet is better anyway (the climate always changes, the question is how much is human influenced).

    Reply
    • leavergirl

       /  July 19, 2012

      Get ready for steadily more expensive food, though.

      How do you propose we minimize our impact? Is this civilization capable of it?

      Reply

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