I must apologise for my brief disappearance. As I alluded to in Belief, Enlightenment and the Endless Climate debate, by wading in the murky waters of the ideological climate debate for a few months now, I had reached a form of disillusionment, much like being stuck in Sunday school with a teacher who noticeably goes to great effort to ignore very reasonable evidence based conclusions in astrophysics and biology to continue teaching flat-Earth creationism. Made worse, the teacher has already lost one child to Polio with the belief that life is the will of God and is in no way improved by “the dark arts” of medical science, such as vaccination.
It is difficult to maintain focus on my main points of interest – sustainable planning and natural resource management – when so many seem stuck on the first square (the reality of climate change), too sure of their opinion on subjects that they admit to having no idea about, but are opposed to in every way. How do you convince a morbidly obese person that their house-bound life style is killing them when they are simply too content ordering high-calorie food and entertainment to their doorstep? You’re a nutter, a radical, they’ll tell you with a smug smile, for trying to suggest healthy options and you’ll be accused of denying them their freewill for attempting an intervention.
With nearly 20,000 words spent on the Innovation series alone and probably as much again in related posts, I feel that my reasoning is well rooted. It’s obvious that those who wish to disregard such arguments are not debating the subject on the same playing ground as myself. Therefore, I will make a stronger effort now to shift my focus beyond this starting point and to focus on topics that interest me more. Fossil fuel addiction has made us lazy and quite obviously, miserable. Diversity is the spice of life and I believe that we can have a bright and productive future through re-evaluating our activities. Bickering about trivialities (the most noteworthy is this public debate about climate sensitivity which is in truth a subject far too complicated for a lay-audience to provide meaningful contribution) is nothing short of paralysis.
If BHP CEO, Marius Kloppers, is wise enough to make a call for direct carbon taxing, where our leaders are too gutless to make a stand (hat tip to Mike), we might be seeing the beginning of something which I’ve spoken about previously; industry lead initiative in a changing world. As has already been witnessed within the agricultural sector, there are two alternative methods to address the future; government money (wasted) to support outdated methods or innovation. Longer term, the safety net of government assistance will dry up (but in the case of agriculture, it’ll probably be too late for many plots to be saved or rehabilitated), leaving individuals with no option. Innovation on the other hand will ensure freedom from a non-renewable energy source and long term economic viability. If it can include ecological preservation and/or obtain ecological services, it may enjoy further returns.
The public climate debate has run it’s course, with little more Area 51-styled conspiracy theories left to amuse the bored. Likewise, the scientific climate debate is as settled as it can be on the important aspects. What is left is the political climate debate and it is one where you will be unlikely to obtain an overwhelming consensus unless there is little financial gain to be made in business-as-usual (DeSmog blog have this recent post demonstrating that the climate debate is very much a democrat/republican debate). However, this really doesn’t matter, as long as the votes go in the right direction – starting with the public. As Kloppers demonstrates above, industry (and very possibly braver political leaders or clever public groups) can start the ball rolling.
We cannot get through to every smug slothful person, who would prefer to walk no more than within a 10m radius – between couch and fridge – but we can initiate the change, by providing increasingly functional and enjoyable mixed-use urban environments, where personal vehicles are less essential and many forms of entertainment are close at hand. An increasingly interesting urban environment will stimulate social changes and encourage many others to follow. This is the future of the debate.