Remember the Alamo
I watched about 8 hours of the 24 Hours of Reality: Dirty Weather Report from Al Gore’s “Climate Reality” project. All in all, I’d say it was excellent. It also made me realize how much more we need to involve the general public, and especially the young adults and near-adults who will bear the brunt of coming climate changes, in our efforts to reverse the lethargy that grips our nation, and to a lesser degree the world, in dealing with the crisis that is global warming.
The final hour wasn’t as good as I had hoped. In large part that’s because it started with the multi-media presentation not working, which I think kind of threw Al off his groove. But he recovered well, and it was good. There were also a few moments in earlier hours that weren’t my cup of tea, especially the “artsy” parts (including songs to inspire the troops), but I realize that’s just me — many of those who will be the footsoldiers of the climate action army take inspiration from such efforts.
I didn’t really learn any new science from the broadcasts, but I wasn’t expecting to. I was, however, genuinely inspired. Seeing some of the activists, especially the young ones, was moving. Seeing how the climate movement has grown, especially in the last couple of years, was both reassuring and inspiring. Noting the extent of the Climate Reality project, it’s breadth and depth and reach, made me feel good. Damn good.
It also made me realize that we really need to get masses of people moving on this. That requires casting a wider net than I, or most of my favorite blogs, do. It also calls for a different approach. I tend to focus heavily on the science, especially on refuting silly arguments from fake “skeptics,” but to get the troops fired up calls for less emphasis on the highly technical and more emphasis on both the impacts of climate change (which was especially well done during the broadcast) and on the actions which people can take, both on a personal level to reduce carbon footprint, and on a grass-roots level to change the way our governments have failed to address the problem substantively. Frankly, seeing the vast numbers of those who are getting involved and the way people are coming together to face the crisis courageously, was the best part of the program for me.
Hence the title of this post. For years now I’ve been blogging about global warming, and so have many others with which many of you are familiar, but the mass of people have been unmoved. Yet our efforts have not been in vain; those of us who have carried the banner have been like the defenders of the Alamo — hopelessly outnumbered (and out-funded!) by the forces of global warming denial, but giving ’em hell anyway. And like those courageous fighters for Texas freedom, I think we’ve succeeded — we held ’em off long enough for General Sam Houston to get the rest of the forces organized. We could not win the battle all by ourselves, but we’ve kept the enemy at bay long enough for victory to be within reach of our now far greater force.
And unlike the defenders of the Alamo, we’re still alive and kicking. It’s a good thing too — because the host of new climate activists, especially those who pick up the banner of fighting against global warming deniers, will need our help. The deniers will never stop coming up with new excuses to deny reality, and we need to show everyone the error of their ways. And of course, like zombies, deniers will never stop reviving old, long-refuted arguments, so we need to be there to refute them again and again, as many times as it takes.
One thing I learned about was a project called Reality Drop. Its goal is to organize a grass-roots movement to refute denier propaganda, not to let it go unchallenged. To that end, they provide a long list of denier arguments and refutations based on real science. I know what many of you are thinking — what instantly occurred to me — that’s what Skeptical Science is all about! Fear not. Each issue is given a one-paragraph reality check, followed by additional, more in-depth information, and for most of the issues I looked at it turned out to be “Additional info from Skeptical Science.”
Incidentally, I think refuting denier arguments wherever they arise is important work. So if any of you are interested, I encourage you to join the Reality Drop effort, let them help you find out where best to apply your time and energy, and get plenty of quality info from Reality Drop and of course from Skeptical Science. Maybe even, occasionally, from here. Let’s make the Escalator the best-known graph in the climate discussion.
I also learned that outside the U.S., climate action isn’t nearly as paralyzed as it is here. In fact, lest my Mexican brothers and sisters take offence at the “Alamo” metaphor, I must emphasize that Mexico has taken important and effective action about global warming. From where I’m sitting in the USA, our neighbor south of the Rio Grande is putting us to shame in terms of facing the climate crisis courageously.
What next for us here? I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing. I may not be changing the world overnight, but I’m having an impact. And judging by the large number of hateful comments I get regularly (which I spare my readers having to endure), I must be doing a helluva job to have them hate me so much. I think it was John Kennedy who said that if a leader doesn’t have enemies, he’s not doing his job. Mmmm … delicious.
I’m also considering expanding my efforts into an entirely new area. Namely, to organize a political effort (perhaps a “political action committee”) called “Defeat the Deniers.” Its goal will be to help U.S. politicians who deny global warming and obstruct action, to join the unemployment line.
The bottom line, judging by the Climate Reality broadcast, is that we’re approaching “critical mass” for people getting seriously involved in our efforts. It may even soon swell to such proportions that my own efforts are dwarfed. If it should happen that climate activism becomes so widespread that my own speech becomes but a tiny part of a vast chorus rather than a voice in the wilderness … no one will be better pleased than I.