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The Battle

marian.bechtel's picture

In doing these readings, the battle I'm seeing between Klein and Oreskes is one that I am very familiar with in myself - the battle between optimism and hopelessness when it comes to climate change. Klein is pretty optimistic for the most part, saying that these wealthy countries realistically can reduce their carbon emissions by the roughly 80 percent that's needed, that climate change is like a catalyst for chaning all sorts of other social justice issues as well, etc. Oreskes, on the other hand, seems to be viewing climate change as inevitable, by writing a book that looks back on "what happened" during the collapse of 2093 caused by human inaction against climate change - she sees it as something that's going to happen, that the world isn't going to come to consensus in time to work together to make real change. She even acknowledges at the end of the article that she finds this kind of mentality depressing, yet she portrays it in her book's message. I am all too familiar with this battle, because I fight it within myself, and I've had about a million conversations like this with my parents. My parents, as aging geologists, seem to have reached the point where they see the detrimental effects of climate change as inevitable. They talk casually over dinner, laughing about how "we're pretty much doomed," and they've spent their lives fighting to make change and to take action, but still nothing's happened to make positive change and they've resorted to hopelessness. I sometimes feel that way too, but I am still trying to fight the battle and find optimism. Is it really possible for us to cut back on carbon emissions by 80 percent? I feel like scientists and other climate change "believers" keep saying that we have to do little things to cut back on carbon emissions, but little things aren't big enough. I think most people (certainly including me) don't realize just HOW big the change we need to make to our individual lives needs to be. And that's really scary - becasue if those of us who do want to make change aren't making a big enough change, how are those who don't believe in climate change going to possibly be willing to make big change? It seems I've landed back at hopelessness...ahhh the battle continues!