Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

I sometimes wonder whether climate change is coming to pass before our very eyes, but because it is on a somewhat longer time scale than the human brain is capable of fully processing (even if just decades), there is enough uncertainty to fuel the beliefs of those who do not wish to believe it is happening or that we may be responsible for the speed of it.  Even those who do wholeheartedly believe that it is occurring and is man-made will not have 100% confirmation of their beliefs until more time has passed and it is painfully obvious retrospectively.  Even the beginnings of it seen in data spanning the past century or so are disputed because it is so much slower than the technological advancement needed to monitor it; people question the readings from the past because they seem technologically archaic compared to our equipment today.  Add to that the distrust of everyone and everything that seems so prevalent these days and even experts trained in interpreting the data are assumed to be manipulating it for their own ends.

And so climate change is disputed, and likely always will be.  I find it interesting that many people can believe in “hoping for the best, preparing for the worst” when it comes to more immediate threats (e.g. damaging weather systems), yet many of those same people cannot apply that adage to longer term threats, or will vehemently deny such threats even in the face of the data.

(This could even be applied politically too — there is evidence of many modern governing decisions/practices starting to resemble the beginnings of fascism from years gone by, and yet, despite documented similarities, people will argue passionately against such an idea.  We will likely never revisit fascism in its earlier form, but that does not mean a new type of fascism may not spring from our complacency.)

I certainly don’t have a solution to this issue, as I do not believe there ever will be such a solution.  It is the nature of humans and our psychology.  Seven billion (or more) people will never perceive the world and events the same way due to the myriad of influences in our lives.  The diversity that makes humanity so interesting and remarkable also makes it wholly unlikely that it will ever agree in total — it should astound people that even a large majority (e.g. 80%) can agree on any one thing.  And so there will always be dissenters who have their reasons for dissenting — some will be based on hard evidence, some on their distrust of others, some on the absorbed opinions of others, and so on.

So it may well be that climate change will have to lay waste to the world as we know it before the majority (not even the totality) believe it, at least the majority of those responsible for it and thus in a position to have a greater impact through changing their lifestyles on a widespread scale.  And thus it will always be a struggle for those who do believe it is happening, happening because of us, and that we should take steps to mitigate and slow/stop the damage to get the point across to enough people to “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”.

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~ by bohemianincognito on 2013 May 20.

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