HCW Presentation – Discussion Meetings at the Twin Oaks Library in South Austin

Presentation – Discussion Meetings at the Twin Oaks Library in South Austin (W Mary and S 5th Street, a few blocks East of S Lamar)

Short Newsletter of Humane Civilization Worldwide

Next Discussion meeting at the Twin Oaks Library (S 5th and W Mary St) is scheduled for
Wednesday 7/17 evening 6:30 p.m. (some classical piano music before meeting) focusing on the mental health impact of our grossly inadequate response to global warming. – The world is not a good place. Climate anxiety is real and well founded. What might lead us to be cautiously optimistic?

Please let me know if you plan to attend. see humanecivilization.org

Dear friends:

Almost everybody claims to care about their children and others’ children, but who thinks much about the world they will live in in a few decades? And do we even consider young people’s worries?
Here is some sobering data that was published on my 77th birthday (below, more of my thoughts;)
Harvard political reviews: Climate anxiety among international youth is at an all-time high. In a 2022 poll, “59% of youth and young adults said they were very or extremely worried about climate change and more than 45% said their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning,” according to CBS News. Aug 26, 2023

Young people are worried about climate change, and rightfully so.

How can we pretend that
1. what we are doing is enough and will prevent the continued worsening of the climate-degradation of ecosystems and increasing destruction and lethality of weather events?
2. that nothing else can be reasonably done?
3. that there is no way to end global warming within years rather than the world needing many decades?

How can people be so positive about tiny steps towards sustainability that only postpone catastrophic conditions for most affected populations and worldwide violence.
It is obvious: there is no real progress – renewable energy basically is added energy that is consumed – it hardly replaces existing fossil fuel use. Young and old people can see – we keep pouring concrete, build bigger steel cars (most with gasoline engines), keep running the dirtiest fossil fuel power stations – 2021 was a new record in beef consumption, etc. There is very little reason for optimism – should we not be honest and act accordingly? Demonstrate plans – establish public-private partnership nonprofit enterprises to transform industries, transportation systems and land management, and demand emergency measures – no more business-as-usual-with-incentives!
When Hitler overran much of Europe, did the American government wait for private corporations to build adequate military equipment so we could launch a credible counter offensive by the 1970s?
Was the reaction to Covid 19 like “business-as-usual”? like the development of any new medical intervention?

With regard to caring and compassion, people naturally do not look further than to people they have some relationship with, generally focusing only on the next few years. Do we not have to fight this propensity? Is there no ethical obligation to be compassionate towards people all over the world who will live in the future? As the trajectories of developments point towards rapidly increasing weather catastrophes, great suffering, violence and hundreds of millions of deaths worldwide, is it not an ethical obligation to study issues and do something?

Please recognize: I am not a “doomist” or pessimist. I AM A KNOWLEDGEABLE REALIST.

We humans do best balancing
– taking care of one’s own physical and psychological needs,
– living ethically (mainly being generous, cooperative, compassionate, never vindictive,) to facilitate having a caring community of family and friends,
– engaging in lifelong education and, for most people, finding an ethical career that leads to appreciated work
– access and exposure to nature, to literature and arts, along with time for special interests one may want to pursue, and
– investing some time in ethical pursuits outside our “here and now.”

Compassion being central in universal ethics and for meaning in life, we are to care for family and people we are close to, people we have some relationship with and also people who are distant and different from us. And we must think further than the next few years. We must fight our propensity to act like we have nothing to do with the climate policies that create more and more suffering and deaths. Here, “think globally, act locally” will not work. America could halt the crazy developments – we talk of decarbonizing while using more and more concrete, steel, aluminum, glass, etc. rather than mostly wood (cross-laminated timber*) and bamboo, which are, by weight, similarly strong as steel. U.S. beef consumption reached a new high in 2021. We are not working on efficient public transportation systems, etc.
Alternatives to a luxurious all-electric future exist, we do not need to build, worldwide, 1.4 billion electric steel cars.
We can and must demand that our government enacts broad emergency measures. We can do much. – With Covid 19 being considered an emergency, government agencies, nonprofit universities, and pharmaceutical corporations created excellent vaccines that were made cheaply available to everybody within about a year. After the successful launch of the Sputnik, America got a man on the moon within years. FDR turned our economy upside down with virtually nothing luxurious being produced for years – and people readily accepted the ‘inconveniences.’

Please balance your life – include meaningful actions for young people’s future and particularly the future of the poor in most affected areas. If you see ways to help defeat unethical politicians – that is meaningful. Regarding the climate, the most important issue today.
You do not have to personally plant hundreds of trees; you cannot work with your neighbors to build narrow-track light rail lines, but you can influence influential people to speak out and describe what is needed. Influential people, NGOs and people like you can then support the president’s planning effective, broad emergency measures. Working in that way, we all can say, we did what we could and be cautiously optimistic..
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* Regarding building with wood: according to an article in Regeneration. Ending the climate Crisis in one generation by Paul Hawken, 2021, p.166ff:.
The HoHo wood building complex in Vienna, Austria is 24 stories, 84m (about 280′) high with 6,000 square meters (about 65,000sqft); Caroline Palfy was the builder, engineer, and project developer.  To clarify that forests do not have to be cut down for building timber, the article states Austrian forests produce 30,000,000 m3 of timber/year, of which 26,000,000 are logged, and 4,000,000 are left, increasing the timber stock. Growth is 1 m3/sec. The timber needed for the HoHo complex grows in approx. 77 minutes in Austrian forests (The size of Austria is less than 1/100 of the U.S., about the size of Maine).
While there will be a great need for new buildings with projected population growth, wood structures will sequester carbon rather than leading to much CO2 releases with conventional construction; and wood and bamboo can be used in many ways replacing steel and aluminum.

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SHORT SUMMARY OF MOST URGENT ISSUES
People must know: we are moving in a very bad direction and what is done is not halting rapid deterioration of our climate. A way to stop global warming exists but will require dramatic emergency action. A wealthy and/or loud minority can move the administration to take emergency actions which are needed to transform industries, transportation systems and land management.

Wealth must be taxed – many wealthy people keep corrupting democratic process; many have to be considered mentally disordered since what they do in no way leads to happiness or meaningful fulfillment.

Education on all levels must focus on
1. teaching that being ethical (as defined here) and ecology-minded and pursuing health and happiness largely coincide;
2. defining and teaching broad ethics
Being ethical is partly based on humans’ inherent desire to be good (hopefully not just “right” according to a culture or subculture) and a propensity towards empathy (wanting to treat others as one would want to be treated by them) Broad ethics basically consists in
– being generous (giving and forgiving), cooperative and compassionately empathetic; compassionate is to include people (and other sentient beings) who are very different and distant from us and compassion needs to consider the future;
And in avoiding
– any us-against-them thinking and consider that even nonhostile us-versus-them decreases people’s compassionate empathy;
– abuse behaviors (behaviors that make people feel better but are in some ways bad for self and/or others, and are addicting), abuse behaviors other than substance abuse include addicting consumerism particularly credit buying; conspiracy theorizing which is generally broadly harmful; unethical phantasies: they harm human relationships and are often acted out in extraneous circumstances; and the pursuit of wealth and power;
– adhering to multiple ‘realities’: “we know that we do not know anything” but models of reality that both explain things and have predictive value are reasonably treated as science-based reality. However, traditional beliefs, religions, what is passed down in professional and subculture teachings may contradict pragmatic-science based reality, contain contradictions in itself, be unethical and/or useless in our work towards a better future.
People must learn to be empathetic: listening to others, learning about them, much through reading realistic novels with very different people being principle characters whom one identifies with, etc. Naturally, people easily fall into us-versus-them thinking and becoming completely indifferent towards others’ lives.
People must be aware that competitiveness generally harms human relationships, and competitive people with special talents and inclination tend to live non-balance lives, overly focusing on training, skills, and success, and hardly feeling happy.

 

Discussion meeting, Tuesday 4/30/2024, 6:30-7:45 p.m.: With our weak climate actions: Are we complicit in a genocide?

We hope to discuss how we can influence developments resulting in us living happier and healthier while halting and starting to reverse global warming.
Our lukewarm climate actions, and industrialized countries building a billion electric steel cars, are not halting the destruction of ecosystems, which many indigenous people depend on; and even more importantly: the densely populated countries of South Asia and other areas are becoming unlivable with heat-related deaths and drought-related crop failures rapidly increasing. We are cooking planet Earth – we must first turn off the burners – that is not happening. Somewhen later we can dream of any luxuries with energy almost free and efforts having brought CO2 levels down to below 350 ppm, but by then people may have figured out – luxuries are not what makes us a healthy and happy people!
Please understand – I am not a pessimist, this is not about “doomism” – this is about realism. Hope and optimism will not save the people who are now dying and will die due to inaction by the industrialized countries.
We all can make a difference; probably not by having personally a very small “carbon footprint” but by demanding honesty from the influencers. Needed radical changes must come from governments, and people need to be taken care of when our toxic consumption economy comes to a halt. I hope when re-elected, President Biden will be willing to make bold moves to stop the de facto genocide that is now taking place and also improve the future of children and families worldwide. Is the USA not in a good (the best?) position to lead?

Please pass this message on to anybody you consider appropriate. I believe young people who do not have a family and older people with some wisdom, close to retirement or retired are most important in attempts to stop our racing to “climate hell” with worldwide violence. At this moment the future does not look pretty, and I mean the coming decades, not future centuries. 

We need to create a wider network of organizations that focus on the whole picture, we are in a worldwide war against nature and for-profit corporations, with a very profitable “business-as-usual-with-incentives” approach, cannot save us. Think of this example: Bangladesh, 170 million inhabitants, increasing numbers dying in heat waves, more and more land flooded by the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers from the North, and from the South, as typhoons become more powerful, by salty ocean water, which makes the land infertile, – the Bangladeshi are not welcome in Myanmar, India or anywhere else. 

 

Discussion Meeting Tuesday 3/12/2024. Discussing human reactions to the climate crisis -Thinking about the climate: How serious is the crisis? What is being done? What should be done? facilitated by the co-founders of  HCW
Continue issue of discussion of “How serious is the Climate Crisis?” Why are hardly any people terrified about our future; why are people not studying and discussing how to prevent probable or at least possible horrific disasters in our life-times – why are so many people largely trusting leaders of industries and financial institutions and our government? And discussing our proposals.
My personal views – short summary:
THE RISK OF A GRADUAL ‘ENERGY TRANSITION’ IS ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE!
We individuals must influence influential people who may be able to sway public opinion and governments: scientists, activists and activist organizations, authors, journalists, etc. – for example: Katherine Hayhoe, Greta Thunberg, leaders of the Sierra Club and of The Union or Concerned Scientists, Al Gore, Bill McKibben, Elizabeth Kolbert, Paul Hawken, Christiana Figueres, Jeff Goodell, Michael E. Mann, David Welles-Wells, etc.
Results of scientific data:  We are sliding towards worst-case scenarios. Nobody knows how bad our future will be, if we follow today’s progressive plans, but human suffering will greatly increase. A 2021 world bank report predicts “216 million people could be forced to migrate within their own countries”; The scientist Katherine Hayhoe estimates about one billion, and the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) estimates that around 1.2 billion people will be displaced by 2050.
Climate instability, vicious cycles, and deadly weather catastrophes are likely to worsen at least until 2100. Mass migrations and probably violence worldwide may start long before ‘carbon neutrality’ – expected to be reached in the 2050s. Today’s plans include an ‘energy transition,’ building over a billion electric street vehicles and the necessary infrastructure, piecemeal gradual changes,’ while promoting profit-driven economic growth.
Prevention is much cheaper than dealing with disasters. Our governments must respond to this crisis as decisively as to WWII, when all civilian production was halted. We must save energy and resources in every way possible, also address the abuses of AI and the internet. Public-private partnership nonprofit enterprises must to reform industries and land management; governments must enact high taxes on all greenhouse gas releases and on wealth, and assure that people’s needs are taken care of. Bank lending must be restricted to decrease consumerism and inflation.
Governments must guide progress. We need trees, not cattle; instead of steel cars, a comprehensive rail system including high-speed and light rail lines, most narrow track; and slow electric mini cars. Instead of concrete and steel we must use mostly wood, bamboo, and recycled materials, for buildings, light vehicles, rail cars, bridges, etc. We must sequester huge quantities of carbon: dead and useless organic material may be buried in stagnant water soaked soil, other techniques of carbon sequestration must be further developed.
Radiative cooling paints must be mass-produced and broadly applied worldwide. In buildings, only most used areas should be air conditioned and heated.
Maybe the future is not that bad, some people think it is not, but please imagine: 19 engineers say a plane is safe and one says it is not, would you fly in it?
Living simpler and healthier, closer to nature, with more interpersonal connectedness, people will be happier.
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https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2021/09/13/climate-change-could-force-216-million-people-to-migrate-within-their-own-countries-by-2050#:~:text=Climate%20Change%20Could%20Force%20216,Their%20Own%20Countries%20by%202050.
https://www.economicsandpeace.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Ecological-Threat-Register-Press-Release-27.08-FINAL.pdf.
https://www.zurich.com/en/media/magazine/2022/there-could-be-1-2-billion-climate-refugees-by-2050-here-s-what-you-need-to-know


Tuesday November 14, 2023 6:30 to 7:45 PM:  What is basically wrong with modern cultures? Is the focus of education what individuals and societies need?

Economists of the distant past thought that people soon would work much less and enjoy more time with families and edifying activities. What happened?.
The focus of education has been paths to economic success. Recently there have been discussions about adding “life skills.” Should we not teach that being ethical, pursuing recommendations of happiness research, living healthy, and considering ecological problems largely coincide. Supportive communities are more valuable than ‘success’ and living standards. We do best when giving and forgiving, not taking and vindicating, cooperating more than competing, being compassionately empathetic across lines of us-versus-them thinking and including people who are very different and distant from us. Additionally we must always scrutinize the ethics of job and group subcultures, patriotism, loyalty, religious and traditional mandates, etc.
Ethics also includes avoiding abuse-addiction behaviors, including psychological-behavioral addictions, such as all forms of gambling, addictive consumerism, conspiracy theorizing, and the pursuit of wealth and power.
Traditions and bad institutions drive the world towards the collapse of most civilizations. Present trajectories of ‘progress’ would lead to as much as a billion people being displaced by climate change before 2050.
Influential people do not adequately propagate the need for effective, radical government actions, comparable to the actions during WWII when all industries were mandated to do government contract work.
We cannot change public opinion, but we can encourage activists, journalists, NGO leaders, etc. They may be able to educate and shape public opinion, which must be followed by our compelling governments to enact the needed radical changes, restructuring industries and land management, etc.

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Tuesday, September 26 Discussion Meeting:  Humane Civilization Worldwide: Review of goals and activities.

After reviewing the history of HCW, a focus will be why global warming is not effectively addressed; what is the reluctance to face the crisis?
The irresponsible developments must stop; they are cruel and self-defeating. There is no place for pessimism or optimism; we need realism.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor.in December 1941, the U.S. halted all civilian production; many home makers had to put their children in government-run childcare centers and work where there were not enough male workers. Many food items were rationed and people started backyard gardens. Etc..
[ https://6thbombgroup.com/lessons-of-war-the-home-front-was-critical-to-winning-wwii/ ]
The climate crisis is worsening faster than projected; it is much more serious than widespread warfare and fighting over countries’ types of governing:
the climate is rapidly making large densely populated areas unlivable and weather patterns are becoming much more unpredictable. In all parts of the world we have to expect more frequent and much more deadly weather catastrophes.
But we do nothing other than work towards a luxurious all-electric future.
While we keep spewing enormous amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, mass migrations of climate refugees with likely worldwide violence will almost certainly affect everybody, long before the world reaches carbon neutrality.
First we must note – the human body is defenseless against heat, without continuous air conditioning, first most vulnerable people, later everybody will suffer organ and brain damage and then die, if exposed for some time to what are anticipated to be “normal” heat waves. Our bodies cannot adjust. Equally important: much land will be frequently affected by prolonged droughts and by floods due to unprecedented rain, higher sea levels, and increasing storm surges. We may prepare for surviving weather catastrophes that are similar to previous ones, but not for the much worse catastrophes we must anticipate, if continuing present irresponsible economic developments.

Optimistic scientists proclaim that with carbon neutrality (expected maybe in the 2050s or 2060s), global warming will level off and the climate will stabilize within a decade or two (statement at IPCC in December 2020 by Dr. Joeri Rogelj of the Grantham Institute in London – from Regeneration, by Paull Hawken 2021, p9).
This statement makes no sense: Glaciers, snow fields and permafrost keep thawing because of the present level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, not because of what we are adding at the time. CO2 levels are already like millions of years ago, before the ice ages, when there were no glaciers – only Antarctica was ice covered because of its high altitudes (many peaks in the 3,000m range, one over 5,000m high).
Why should the melting of ice stop? The continuous loss of snow and ice and the increase in sea levels and water-covered areas significantly increases the world’s absorption of sunlight energy. Plants may grow a little faster with higher CO2 levels, but plants dying due to fires and droughts decreases the world vegetation’s ability to absorb CO2, and the continued warming of ocean temperatures further decreases the water’s absorption of CO2. We must decrease atmospheric greenhouse gas levels.
Is it not obvious that we must work towards bringing down atmospheric CO2 levels within years, not maybe in the late 21st century?

Is there a rational response to the crisis other than government-guided changes as radical and decisive as during WWII?
Basically: We must halt waste and consumerism; we must save energy and resources in every way possible; we must work with wood and bamboo, in place of concrete and steel; use cooling white paint, not more air conditioning; plant trees, not raise cattle; build ultra-light electric vehicles and trains, not more Teslas and planes; etc.
You and I cannot sway public opinion or halt corrupt decision making by our legislators that are primarily protecting profits and supporting donor interest groups, such as the IRA and conservative “Christians.”
I believe we must make efforts to influence the influential people: leaders of organizations and individual influential activists, authors, and scientists; and particularly media editors and science journalists.

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Tuesday August 8 / 2023 What does it mean “I care about what global warming does to the world of our children, to the most affected poor?
with the founders of HCW – Classical piano music for four hands during short break
We are on a highway to “climate hell” with the foot still on the accelerator. – PLEASE HELP US HALT AND REVERSE GLOBAL WARMING – NOW
Most people care, but they take only tiny steps towards slowing global warming. Scientists, activists, authors, and science journalists did well educating us regarding the gravity of the situation. Many individuals and corporations have been working on reducing their carbon footprint. (These efforts are valuable but they only slow our pace towards worldwide disaster a little – predictions still include that about a billion people will lose their land and livelihood by 2050 due to global warming – and how can any poor country address famines, violence, and dismal human rights situations, if governments continually try to respond to new weather catastrophes.). Is it not time to move towards the next stage of climate actions? Save energy and resources in every way possible. Compel the government to take a leadership role and redirect misguided economic developments. There is no one answer to the crisis, we must work in all conceivable ways to halt global warming.
COMPASSION DEMANDS EFFECTIVE ACTION NOW. The most affected poor cannot wait for more research and gradual changes. They are suffering now and their lives deteriorate while we study the issues here. We don’t need optimism or doomism while working, at best, on gradual steps forward. We need realism.
Why are most affected countries like India and China contributing more and more to worldwide CO2 releases? Because they follow in our footsteps. WE MUST LEAD.
We must work to compel governments to act, respond to the crisis as a most urgent emergency, and we all should influence scientists, activists, authors, and science journalists to participate in promoting an alternate, much more effective path forward.
Is it not obvious that governments must halt misguided developments and guide reforms of our economy. Our goal must be that governments must highly tax greenhouse gas releases, restrict bank lending, take care of people’s needs with comprehensive safety nets, and tax wealth. Governments must create and fund public-private partnership nonprofit enterprises to reform industries, land management, transportation systems, and food production. We need ultra-light electric vehicles and trains, not Teslas and planes; wood and bamboo, not steel and concrete; trees, not cattle; cooling white paint, not more air conditioners, etc. We must rein in abuses of artificial intelligence and the internet, restrict data gathering, storing and analyzing, outlaw bitcoin, etc. Regarding trains – we have the technology to rapidly build high-speed trains and light-rail narrow track (100cm track and less) trains and streetcars everywhere, complemented with electric buses, aerial lifts and ships. Houses up to over 24 stories high can be built with wood. We need mostly plant-based diets. Fast-growing bamboo and several water plants can absorb CO2 more rapidly than newly planted trees. Burying trash lumber and any organic waste in with stagnant water soaked ground will greatly delay degradation which releases greenhouse gases. Etc. etc.
A simple thought: how much greenhouse gases will be released if billions of electric 1.5-7 ton steel vehicles will be built to replace cars, pick-up trucks, SUVs, and vans? And while we build more steel and concrete highway bridges, parking garages, highrises, etc. There is no way to compensate for these greenhouse gas releases. We may build kits to convert cars and trucks into hybrids and electric vehicles; but mainly we need alternate transportation, produce more locally, minimize car and plane travel, etc.
People will be happier when living simpler, less hurried, more natural, with less consumerism and with more interpersonal connectedness. We are not adequately studying and pursuing ethics and data of happiness research – thinking and behaving with broad compassionate empathy promotes happiness and health.
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Thursday July 6, 2023: Corporate CEOs and Politicians Gamble With Our Future: How Can We Stop Them?

There will be classical piano music during a short break. [we plan meetings about every 5 weeks].
We are on a highway to “climate hell” with the foot still on the accelerator. –
PLEASE HELP US HALT AND REVERSE GLOBAL WARMING – NOW
COMPASSION DEMANDS ACTION. The basic fact is: we do not know the future, but it does not look good. Optimists say ‘doomism’ leads people to withdraw and do nothing. But optimists don’t do much either. We need realism.
Some researchers predict that there will be increasing waves of climate refugees with up to a billion displaced by climate change. Some dispute that to be likely; but we must not accept even a low risk of such suffering and chaos.
THE STARK ALTERNATIVES ARE: Slow progress, protecting profits, while moving towards a collapse of civilizations, OR: Governments guide reforms that will halt global warming within years. We need emergency measures, not irresponsible economic growth and risk-taking. We must not hold on to false “realities”: business-as-usual with incentives has not and will not work..
A RELATIVELY SMALL NUMBER OF PEOPLE MAY BE ABLE TO MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE: We all can contact activists, authors, journalists, and scientists, asking them to participate in promoting REAL PLANS: Trains, not Teslas and planes; wood and bamboo, not steel and concrete; trees, not cattle, cooling white paint, not more air conditioners, etc. Governments must create and fund public-private partnership nonprofit enterprises, curb bank lending, highly tax greenhouse gas releases; take care of people’s needs, and tax wealth.
People will be happier when living simpler, healthier, less hurried, more natural, with more interpersonal connectedness, and less consumerism. People in highly industrialized countries must fight addictive consumerism, conspiracy theorizing, and the pursuit of wealth and power. Who is really enjoying wealth? Who benefits from being a powerful boss or dictator? We are not adequately studying and pursuing ethics and data of happiness research – thinking and behaving with broad compassionate empathy adds much to feeling happy and healthy. But ethics must consider sentient beings in all parts of the world and future generations.
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Tuesday, May 30,  The Climate Crisis and the Question of “Political Will”

“There is no political will for enacting an effective response” is the most common response when discussing the climate crisis. Political will does not just materialize. People influence each other. They are influenced by people with some recognition, including teachers, community leaders and politicians, leaders of organizations, and journalists. Meaningful discourse creates political will.
We must dispel the myth that hardly anybody cares. While many people do not know enough, many feel rather hopeless but lack guidance as to how we can deal with an impending crisis that will first mostly affect the poor but later everybody.
There is far too much unfounded optimism by scientists and activists, and an assumption that people cannot handle major changes – however, there are effective ways to address the crisis; they involve radical changes, luckily many positive.
We must question – is it: things are bad, but …, or progress is real, but …? Is it:
“science gives us the very opposite of hope, but renewable energy has become much cheaper,” or “there are many ways we can decrease greenhouse gas releases, but they do not add up to preventing catastrophes we cannot adapt to”?
Looking at all the data – scientists know: there is hardly reason for optimism. It would be an unacceptable gamble not to enact radical changes, to halt greenhouse gas releases and to dramatically reduce CO2 levels to restore a stable climate: Compounding natural and directly human-induced vicious cycles keep aggravating problems in unpredictable ways; and following present plans, climate disasters may worsen well into the next century. Preparing for disasters and adapting to the unstable climate may be possible at best in a few wealthy areas.
The human body cannot adjust to heat; cooling by sweating and air movement has limitations, particularly if the humidity is high, and hottest areas often lack reliable access to urgently needed drinking water. Air conditioners heat the environment, making outdoor activities in cities even more dangerous, and electricity grids, needed for ‘cooling centers’ will hardly be reliable in catastrophic weather conditions.
First and foremost: the world must greatly decrease its energy use. We certainly do not need more energy: Today there is incredible energy waste, particularly in transportation, heating, and cooling; and we do not need all the new consumer goods. Cooling white paint and shading plants are much more appropriate than building every minute hundreds of (not very efficient) air conditioners with refrigerants that are extremely powerful greenhouse gases. And people may benefit from minimizing heating and cooling, maybe re-introduce ‘siesta’ during hottest times; it is healthy to live more naturally and with more interpersonal connectedness.
What else may interfere with political will and consequent action?
The human mind has an inherent ability to hold multiple “realities,” including contradictory “truths.” Truth, as we understand it, refers to a model of reality that people agree on because it seems to explain things and can be used for predictions. The model of Newtonian physics explains how mechanical clocks work and can be used to design functioning machines, but it is not really true; it does not work in astronomy and in physics of subatomic particles. Complex notions or rules we may consider ‘right’ or ‘true’ refer to scientific laws, to rules and laws we were taught by an ‘expert’ such as a teacher, to a firmly held intuition or impression, to pragmatically followed local culture, or to teachings of a religion or ideology. Often such taught “truths” contradict each other and/or ordinary ‘common-sense’ reasoning. Teachings may attempt to instill beliefs that the human mind cannot grasp and deal with. Still, people hold on to many beliefs and ‘truths,’ sometimes following one, sometimes another; people generally want convenient ‘truths,’ what appears pragmatically easiest or ‘best,’ and they avoid thoughts about consequences of their actions.
Humans are inherently docile, readily follow leaders, and they are very tradition-bound. People usually reject what is novel except if introduced by a traditional authority figure or leader of peers (today that also applies to people being guided by advertisements and social media ‘recommendations’). Many people hold a belief that ‘business as usual’ and local culture are morally acceptable and they disregard clearly harmful consequences. People wanting to be good mainly apply morality to their inner circle and near future. Religions may discourage careful foresight by teaching that ‘God will provide.’.
Is it worth fighting for the present profit-driven economy? This should be a first question when considering our civilizations’ future and the threat of global warming. Are benefits of economic developments outweighing the problems: mainly much misleading advertizing, consequent consumerism, and unhealthy comforts and conveniences? Many people become severely indebted, stressed and depressed.
In cities, all energy use adds to the heat in the streets, making any out-door activities and work, utility system repairs, etc. harder and more dangerous during heat waves.
As the present agriculture is unsustainable, we must ask: do we need beef? Can people learn to appreciate dishes of soy, chickpeas, lentils, beans, etc.? Reestablishing forests where presently cattle grazes and where cattle feed is grown will absorb much CO2 and halt the significant methane releases from cattle.
Obviously, methane leaks from old and active oil wells must also be stopped.
Do people really enjoy commuting and traveling in two to seven ton steel vehicles? Who would not appreciate high-speed trains, light-rail trains, street cars, small narrow-track trains, and electric buses – being able to largely avoid dangerous, nerve-racking street travel? And we can build ultra-light, slow electric mini-cars.
Much of the past was bad, but some was better than today – we need to recapture ‘good simplicity’ that includes some modern technologies; and we must work to avoid the economy controlling us while destroying the world as we know it.
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Wednesday April 26  We must halt global warming and escalating fear may be the key to get needed, radical changes enacted

AT ISSUE: It is incredible how successful the “business-as-usual” lobbies have been and how groups that we expect to be at the forefront in addressing the climate crisis are going along, even sometimes pretending that there is no reason to be very scared. Statements by scientists and activists have been contradictory – is the situation hopeless or is there reason for some optimism?

  • Fear is motivating, not paralyzing. The world needs a critical number of alarmed people who understand an alternate development path of much more effectively addressing the climate crisis than what progressives plan today.
  • “Think global, act local” is not adequate: we must influence what is happening in the whole country and the world, and we must consider future generations.
  • We must dispel the myth that we need more energy.
  • There is far too much unfounded optimism by scientists and activists – looking simultaneously at all factors leads to a very bleak picture.
  • The human body is defenseless towards heat above a safe range. As heat waves become more severe, just a few degrees too high a temperature or a few percentage points above tolerable humidity is deadly.
  • Most scientists and activists not only overstate positive developments, they warn that “doomism,” “despair,” and “being alarmed” rather paralyze people than motivating them to action. Scientists talk of a need for energy, renewable sources of electricity and fuels, instead of emphasizing that good quality of life is achievable with much less energy use.
  • Looking at all the scientific data, there is hardly reason for hope, unless radical changes are enacted soon 1. There are compounding natural and directly human-induced vicious cycles that speed up global warming; and following present plans, climate disasters will worsen for decades. Preparing for disasters and adapting to changed climate conditions may at best be possible in a few wealthy areas. 2. The human body cannot adjust to heat; cooling by sweating and air movement has limitations, particularly if the humidity is high. Above a critical core temperature, a person suffers impaired functioning of brain and other vital organs, organ damage, and/or death. The worsening of heat waves will greatly increase the number of people who will suffer organ damage and death. Air conditioners heat the environment, making outdoor activities even more dangerous, and electricity grids will hardly be reliable in catastrophic weather conditions. Cooling white paint and shading are much more appropriate than building every minute hundreds of inefficient air conditioners with refrigerants that are extremely powerful greenhouse gases.

WE DO NOT NEED MORE ENERGY: Today there is incredible energy waste – transportation, food production, and the construction of buildings could be accomplished with much less energy, and people would rather benefit from minimizing heating and cooling; it is healthy to often engage the body’s temperature regulation systems.
Rather than being paralyzing, fear is a major motivator for major changes, and, obviously, we have reason to be very afraid. There may be a little progress in replacing fossil fuels, and well-meaning people want to stop oil and gas production; however, the real problem is the addiction to energy: planning with the assumption that everybody can drive a personal 1.5 to 7 ton steel vehicle, frequently eat meat, and having enough energy to maintain perfect temperature control in large homes, to produce clothing for each person that would be enough for a village, and being able to fly or go on cruises during holidays and vacations. This is a situation like the opioid epidemic: we cannot stop the supply (the import of heroin and fentanyl), if we don’t effectively address the demand.
We need even more people to have a rational fear. However, people with a rational fear must know that there are alternatives to today’s absurd pursuit of economic growth. Research by Anthony Leiserowitz and Edward Maibach indicates that in 2012 12%, in 2019 31%, and in 2022 26% of the U.S. population were “alarmed” about the climate crisis (did the percentage of “alarmed” recently decrease because of misguided optimists, for instance considering the Green New Deal proponents?); in 2022 another 27% were “concerned” (53% alarmed or concerned). The other groups were “cautious” 17%, “disengaged” 7%, “doubtful” 11%, “dismissive” 11%.
We believe our goal must be:

  • Increase the number of people who are “alarmed” about the climate crisis; we must spread rational fear. It is probably only a matter of time until most informed people will be alarmed – hopefully that will be sooner rather than later. Every year counts.
  • More importantly, we must spread knowledge about an alternate development path of much more effectively addressing the climate crisis than what progressives plan today.
  • The people, scientists, NGOs, etc. must demanding that governments create and fund public-private partnership nonprofit enterprises to restructure the economy and land management, plant hundreds of billions of trees (many for commercial use and for shading), etc.; and we must demand that governments severely limit bank lending to dampen consumerism and avert inflation, provide for people’s needs, tax all energy use and wealth, highly tax any greenhouse gas release, etc.
  • Promote worldwide a model of modified, democratic capitalism that can address the climate crisis with radical actions.

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