443: Nobody understands what’s so bad with climate change
Here are my notes I read from for this episode
It hit me recently that nearly nobody knows what’s so bad about climate change. I’ve started asking people and nobody knows. Actually, of the dozens I’ve asked, one knew, though it took prompting for her to say it.
Everyone gets sea level rise, biodiversity, loss of coral reefs.
I’ll grant we have to move cities. But I’ll respond that after some loss, we’d rebuild, which could create meaning.
I’ll grant more and bigger hurricanes, but I’ll respond that we’ll learn to build hurricane-proof buildings. Katrina’s losses in lives and property, while tragic, are nothing compared to the material gains. Most people see fossil fuels brought billions out of poverty, longevity, prosperity. That trade seems worth it.
You’ve maybe read books like The Uninhabitable Earth or ones describing the hellscape we may turn the Earth into, but most people see science and technology able to fix those problems. We’ll live underground or undersea.
To describe the problem I have to retell a story regular listeners have heard before. My friend Kevin and the elk.
Climate change means looking back doesn’t work and the collapse increases. I’ll describe the problem in simple terms. It may sound moralistic or ethical, but I’ll just state it like if I drop something it will fall. The sun rose this morning in the east and set this evening in the west. Dogs growl. Cats purr. And climate change would result in billions of people dying.
This result is why I devote myself to changing course. My podcast is practice leading people. I plan to use my book to help lead more people and to launch big-time to reach the most influential people in society.
Business people should get this most. They know how markets can drop in recessions and that companies can have to downsize. They know the pain. The problem with them is that they think, “well, we recover from recessions.” They don’t distinguish between people losing jobs and people losing lives.
So I don’t agree with the trade with Katrina, because we don’t only lose thousands of lives. But as long as people see that as the loss, climate change doesn’t look so bad to them.
It looks bad to me.