Sunday, March 18, 2007

Examining our fears around global warming

In today's Age Thornton McCamish takes a nostalgic walk through his anxieties wrought from the then threatened nuclear annihilation promised by the policy of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) of the '80s, and compares them to fears of ecological collapse resulting from human-induced global warming that characterise our current angst. :::[The Age: A Climate of Fear]

Proliferation is scary. For the first time the world is at the mercy of leaders with pre-modern beliefs armed with postmodern weapons. But nonproliferation is susceptible to diplomacy and mass opinion in a way that MAD's geopolitical suicide pact never was.

And so is climate change. Nuclear weapons just got more meaningless the closer you looked at them. But the risks of climate change related to human activity will only become clearer, despite attempts to muddy the science.

The ambient fear those dangers produce is real, but it's not mind-emptying. It's actually a humane and energising anxiety. The risk of disastrous climate change makes us worry not just for ourselves, but for others; for animals and plants, too. What's really cheering about climate change anxiety is that it's about the deep future, a place the Bomb managed to obliterate without a single missile leaving its silo. This time, our fear means something because we can act on it.

It is a thought-provoking article, and I agree with his conclusions. We are acting on the threat. Witness the recent drafting of Climate Change Bill in the UK.

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