Grass Roots

I’m going to start a grass-roots organization to raise awareness of, and especially knowledge of the truth about, climate change.

I’ve “sort of” started already, by making videos for YouTube about important pieces of the puzzle. But I want to do more. I especially want to reach more people, and for that I think YouTube is a better forum than blogging — but I’ll still be blogging.

To be really effective, I need to improve the quality of what I produce. I’m pleased with the content of the videos I’ve posted so far, but the production values aren’t good enough. For that, I need help. I plan to find people in my locale, possibly college students with interest in and talent for video production, to help me make educational materials with the quality and appeal to attract a much larger audience. I also want to find others in my neck of the woods who are keen to address climate change. Reaching those across the country and around the globe is wonderful, in fact it’s invigorating, but I would be glad to have some “face time” with like-minded people.

I have two target audiences in mind. The first is the voting public. They need to know how serious the threat of climate change really is, how high the cost is, and how to tell the difference between the best information as scientists offer it and the bullshit climate deniers spew. My second is the young. They’re the ones who will bear most of the burden of my generation’s legacy, and their ability to motivate and bring about change is something that should not be underestimated.

I’ll still blog, and although I’ll probably put a lot of the education/outreach material here, I want to keep blogging about the “hard science.” In part that’s for me, it’s what I’m most interested in, and in part it’s for you, my regular readers, because I suspect that’s what many of you come here for. But it’s no longer the time to indulge my passion for data analysis, it’s time to make climate change the #1 issue for American citizens.

I’m asking for your help, as in, donations. There’s a link to do so at the end of the post. I’ll need money for space, materials, possibly equipment, transportation, even pizza and soft drinks for those who join me in our campaign. Please help.

With the election of a U.S. president who doesn’t believe man-made climate change is even real, with the EPA in the hands of someone determined to undo even the meager efforts our country has made so far while turning the fossil-fuel industry loose unfettered, the urgency of being more active is upon us. With your help, I hope to have a grass-roots group up and running before the inauguration.

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14 responses to “Grass Roots

  1. Done. Happy to help

  2. We all need to dig in and help. It would make sense to me for Hillary to step up and be a strong spokesperson for the truth about climate change and global warming. This would also increase her positives a lot and put her in good spot for rematch with Trump in 2020. She won the popular vote by a wide margin, she is clearly a fine and strong candidate. We just need to work to replace Trump in the next election. People will probably be sick of outsider politicians in 2020 and an insider with the experience of Hillary can help us put this country right.

  3. I would ask Peter Sinclair for help. He’s pretty good.

  4. Tamino, it would probably be useful to set up a crowd-funding site. You have a lot of credibility amongst the educated in the blogosphere, and Twitter and Facebook would quickly help spread the word further amongst their followers. With some of the high profile participants in the online and scientific communities behind you, I think that you’d rapidly gather momentum.

    And for what it’s worth, I agree that graphs and tables and p values need to take a second-row seat to grassroots action. The grassroots are the only thing now (and have been for a while…) that can possibly salvage something of our predicament: governments around the world have shown themselves to be too inert to facilitate the changes required.

  5. You’ll remember this…I’ll continue to do what I can come hell or high water. Expect both! Happy to help!

  6. Methinks this is love’s labor lost. We have now officially entered the post-truth age:
    Homo S Sapiens is undergoing a cultural evolutionary fulguration, splitting into Homo Sapiens Erectus (who tries to walk his brains upright) and Homo Sapiens Fatuus (trumpus planetexiturus). You would waste your precious statistical explanatorial skills on the latter. They can’t stand the facts, how ever often you repeat them. (Sigh. I’ve been saying that for many years now. Maybe you ‘merricans listen up now…)

    The only way to persuade the fact resisting mob is by indirect shaming and scapegoating: Use the wörd “bullshit” more often on the big polit or media bullshitters, e.g. the Wall Street Journal (that one to the merry delight of Trump voters). Don’t make the common white male feel stupid by straight-forward recital of standard facts. That would be utterly counter productive. (Heck, how often have climate psychologists tried to explain that?).

    I second the suggestion to team up with Peter Sinclair. Try to convince him to rename his “Climate Crock” series into “Climate Bullshitter of the Week”, making fun of the big bullshitters and liars (but forget about Trump here, just leave him alone, being surrounded by elite bullshitters). Perhaps you can get admiral Titley on board as a narrator explaining the bull with help of Tamino charts.

  7. Peter Sinclair works with the Yale Climate Connections. Their videos are here: They tend to alternate between Sinclair’s videos (now called This Is Not Cool) and audio-only files by Anthony Leiserowitz (whom I do not otherwise know).

    I suspect that there is no need to start an organization for this, as there are probably several existing outfits who could use your talents.

    I should also point everyone at a video I made a few years ago that attempted some of these same ideas. If and when I ever do it over, I’ll try to make it a series of sub-ten-minute pieces.

  8. Also take a look at Peter Hadfields youtube videos (potholer54, linked below). A lot of good climate and science related videos. We need more of that. Sometimes I feel like there’s a need for direct up-front reason-logic talk, but other times theres a need for a science-Sigmund Freund kind of approach.

  9. To elaborate my comment a bit more: Said split had been superficially manifest in the U.S.A. by the split Reps/Dems ever since Reagan. (E.g. his trickle down economics is still part of the prayer book.) Superficially. The analysis of Trumps’s victory (Sanders and Moore) shows that it is a split between coastal America and middle America.

    Please do not waste your precious skill and your heart to yet another science nerd campaign. E.g. forget about about Neil deGrasse Tyson. Also forget about Leonardo DiCaprio. (His recent beautifully frightening great climate movie won’t make any difference.)

    That’s why I suggested Admiral Titley. I’m not sure about him. The gist is: You need someone who can speak the language of the simple sailor.

    But that all comes too late and is fundamentally misguided. What is needed is a spiritual grass roots movement. Not in the sense of spiritual materialism (Ch. Trungpa), worshipping a transcendent sky puppet or worshipping one’s ego clad pious wishy washy. Or elitist eco mumbo jumbo. (What the middle ‘merrican white male hates is elitist ecologists and all-knowing scientists.) — The spiritual challenge of this century is Martin Heidegger’s question “why is the Earth silent at this destruction?”. We need to appreciate the ground under our feet again and have a closer look at the real grass roots. (There lies the only known thermodynamically feasible way of repairing the carbon cycle: soil carbon.) These grass roots are our life support system, and we need to reconnect people to it, in a 21st cengury sense of re-ligio.

  10. Of course many people are … [having] some “face time” with like-minded people … with Katharine Hayhoe now building quite a following for her ‘snippet’ videos, which aim to educate in small morsels. I think she is a great communicator, who is not afraid to go to groups which have been sceptical (in whatever sense we like to frame it) about global warming, and framing the discussion in ways that they can relate to.

    I agree that this is probably at least as important as blogging, which is often unedifying, with the usual suspects, and completely puts off anyone who is curious and might like to get informed. Often, the science is either way over their heads, or conversely dumbed down to the point of being patronizing. And if people have been trying to explain the GHE to WUWT for 10 years, and failed, don’t imagine another 10 will be any more successful.

    I produced a talk which has gone down well with lay audiences, based on my essay ‘Demystifying Global Warming & Its Consequences’
    – and have had a lot of great dialogue with attendees at the talk of all ages (from 13 to 85; and all political persuasions), and use a lot of props to enliven matters. People, even those with strong views, tend to be much more civilised face to face than on-line, and usually, everyone learns something (e.g. what arguments work and which ones fail miserably!).

    Empowering people to be more confident to talk about global warming in an open and constructive manner is a result in my book. This should be as much about arming people with ‘tools’ for finding their own way through the complexity, as much about sharing data and arguments.

    For example, understanding common fallacies of argument (e.g. Thouless); how to grapple with large numbers (e.g. Mackay); how to articulate risk (e.g. Kahneman); knowing how to check provenance of claims; how do we embrace uncertainty, versus what is settled science; how to frame arguments; why 2C global warming is a big change regionally; how to frame things historically (e.g. Weart); etc. There are many great resources out there, but people need help navigating it – google is no friend here.

    Just as it is ignorant for Inhofe to take a snowball onto the floor of the Senate, it is also a little silly to say ‘we just had the worst storm in 20 years, this is proof of dire consequences’: the trend is the demonstration of the reality of the warming and those wanting to be fluent, need to understand there is natural variability superimposed on that trend, and the extended time period over which impacts will be felt.

    For these reason I am planning a series of workshops I will be running in my locality under the title ‘climate fluency’, covering the physical basis, impacts, mitigation and the transition to low carbon, but more importantly those thinking and communication skills, and a trusted-resources pack.

    I believe this is hard to do, but I like a challenge, and am encouraged by early efforts. I think the face-to-face approach is rewarding for all concerned, almost whatever people come away with, IF it at least stops the bizarre silence there is on the subject in many circles (outside the enthusiasts who read and comment on blogs!), and gets the conversation going in one’s local ‘grassroots’.

    If you can achieve the same thing on a bigger scale, that would be wonderful.

    Happy to share and exchange ideas.

  11. You need a Twitter button. Every time I want to tweet one of your pieces I have to copy and paste the URL into a new window.

  12. I’d be happy to help if you need any illustrations or animations. I’ve done a lot of these for Skeptical Science and in their Denial 101x project.