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Cool it?

October 21, 2010

Food for thought.
I’ve been thinking about whether we really need this right now at this crucial time when we really need to find climate change solutions. Do we really need two camps in the environmental arena?

I don’t think that the current system, which includes perhaps too in-your-face campaigns and emphasizes grassroots action, is broken. Not inherently, at least. It may be true that people switch off after hearing about the importance in combating climate change repeatedly but does this entail switching to a whole new alternative and forgoing all the progress that has been made all these years? Or should we just package our message in a more palatable manner?

In fact, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth was one of the sparks that got me passionate about the environment and if it spurred many other people into translating their awareness into action, then it did good. Just because it did not leave an impact on others, does not mean that it was wholly ineffective. I think two approaches can coexist to target different categories of people.

On the misinterpretion and exaggeration of facts, I’m all “Wait…haven’t we been there at COP15 already?” Maybe the facts are exaggerated. But everyone does cherrypicking all the time, to prove a point and the point here is TRUE, scientifically proven, and internationally agreed upon. We should be on the same side because both camps rest on the same fundamental basis, send the same message that climate change IS occuring and something needs be done about it. So let’s squabbling over minor issues like facts when it has already been established that global warming is not a myth and is true. (In fact, if it were true that facts were exaggerated, I personally would be happy in the knowledge that we have more time to save our planet.)

In searching for a legally-binding agreement, we need that unity. I don’t see any problem in their less pessimistic alternative,  but I don’t think environmentalists should be going around debunking approaches by other environmentalists. We have enough cynics at present already. We don’t need a divide that counteracts the efforts of each other. The video hints that grassroots efforts do not go a long way. This reverses all the efforts in the past to encourage people to live environmentally-friendly lifestyles, and most importantly the  domestic pressure which holds our governments accountable to a legally binding agreement, or to do more within their potential at least even if it necessitates compromises. This criticism towards the current method feels like the environmental movement has taken one step forward, and now two steps backward to me.

If we agree climate change is an important issue and that the planet needs saving, then let us capitalize on those different approaches to ignite changes in different people, and let us not permit human politics entrance in an arena which has seen far too much.

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