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Climate consciousness, Climate Change science and my head space.

by Dave Riley

I'm no dullard -- although I'm sure I have my many dumb moments. I have studied physics , chemistry and biology up to a standard of everyday chit chat without being a specialist in any shape or form whatsoever. My maths are terrible but I've done my share of those little courses where one learns about lies, damned lies and statistics.

I can read a pie chart, a graph and a table. But climate science gives me a headache.

You surely know what I mean if you aren't a registered climateer. Getting your head around climate science is a real challenge so that knowing the detail of what's wrong with the planet and what we have to do to fix it can take many painful hours at the coal face (huh!). You gotta read up. Hit the books. Look up the big words .

But I think I've got there. I finally attained a level of comprehension in regard to detail and dynamic that I now feel that I'm at one with the planet's ailment and could , if pushed, waffle on with some coherency on the topic of diagnosis and treatment.

So I'm aware. Very aware. I have climate consciousness.

Since I'm rather proud of my attainment -- and surely expect a certificate in the mail -- it worries me that my quest was so damned hard. And if I found it so hard -- and given how engaged I am -- what about the rest of humanity? How do they, all of us, become climate conscious with enough sense of the detail -- all those pie charts, graphs and such -- that we don't fall victim to all the banana oil on offer from any local bourgeois charlatan promoting a green washed version of capitalism with the same ole same ole fossil foolishness?

It's a tall order because you do need a sense of the physics and the chemistry and the biology to get it right. So in many ways this is one of the most complex intellectual exercises that humanity has had to deal with.

That the world is round; that the earth rotates around the sun; that we evolved rather than arrived as fully formed homo sapiens .. that there never were weapons of mass destruction in downtown Baghdad , all seem pretty simple fair compared to the challenge of getting a handle on the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide as a proportion by volume(parts per million) in the Earth's atmosphere.

As for all those competing target statistics on carbon emissions....!
Thinks:I guess if you can understand a mortgage then the way the planet's carbon dioxide burden goes up may be self evident.
Nonetheless once you become carbon anxious and climate conscious the real bummer is deciding what to do. O me miserum!

From where I'm sitting in downtown Northgate in cooee of the swamp and in the shadow of the Golden Circle Pineapple Cannery, all I can say is: thank God Gaia (or Marx) for Green Left Weekly

Without the GLW option -- how are we gonna know? Of course it's a dead give away when it is marketed as Green Left Weekly -- but with this planet to save, the paper has really come into its own. Any sample of environment articles makes that abundantly clear. Green Left Weekly is Climate Consciousness 101.

You won't find a better aggregated resource on all the issues that make up the problem/ emergency/ crisis pitched in everyday lingo. And if you want to skill up you sure should start in its pages.

But there's more!

Not only do you get up to the moment analysis of what's wrong-- you also get -- at no extra cost ! -- an ongoing discussion and debate about what to do about it. All for the same low price.

Now here's another thought. If you are climate conscious and are suitably anxious as a consequence what better way is there to do something about it than to donate or help distribute Green Left Weekly

All those green-wash-me types will be flogging you their carbon trade malarkey and argue that if you spend your hard earned cash with them you'll do your bit to save the planet. Your new car or insurance policy is supposedly green because because its backed by a few daggy eucalypt seedlings in a nursery in Koo Wee Rup.

Go check with your investment adviser: you get more for your invested dollar with projects like GLW which build momentum, reach out, organize and advocate rather than on some scheme that reckons it will sequest carbon in the path of next Summer's bushfires. If you want to save the planet -- and don't we all -- we have to spread Climate Consciousness in a way that people get active and do stuff. And for many that's going to start by reading the pages of Green Left Weekly.

I kid you not.


1 Com:

Ben Courtice | May 13, 2008

I know how it feels. With similar scientific educational qualifications to Dave (except I did some maths and stats at undergrad level and wasn't entirely useless at it) I can only really say, I know enough to be worried... very worried! Change-your-jocks worried, even.

What we could do with, perhaps, is a "global warming for dummies" type book with lots of pictures and not too many scatter graphs or long scientific words. Unlike the people who put out the " ...for dummies" series we could perhaps put our non-mainstream solutions into it as well, and perhaps debunk that carbon trading smoke-and-mirrors stuff.

Who wants to collaborate? I'll volunteer to write some of it!

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