There is no question that people are very interested in and concerned about species such as pandas, polar bears, penguins and similar species under threat from anthropogenic climate change.
Watching various social networking sites you can see articles about these species quickly become ‘popular’ as they are variously noted, dugg, hugged, buzzed, stumbled, etc (ie voted for by other members). At the same time articles about climate science, educating about climate change, and climate policy generally languish with little attention paid to them.
See the disconnect?
OK, to be fair posts promising “10 easy things you can do about global warming” also tend to do moderately well, so clearly people are sincere and want to do something. But if I may quote the US President elect ” ‘Well, the truth is, Brian, we can’t solve global warming because I f—ing changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective’.“ It’s Not About the “F***ing” Light Bulbs!
And there’s the rub. We cannot hope to save these species, or ourselves, merely through the personal action of those who accept the reality of the threat. We need everyone to take those actions, and collectively we need to be implementing infrastructural changes to permit even more radical action. There is no other hope.
“Strength without compassion is violence. Compassion without justice is mere sentiment. Justice without love is Marxism. And love without justice is baloney!” – Jaime Lachica Cardinal Sin
It is not enough to care. It is not enough to signal that you care by approving articles that mourn the imminent demise of these species and millions of others. If we truly care then it is necessary to take action. As the Nature Conservancy reported at this time “only 18 percent of survey respondents [US] strongly believe that climate change is real, human-caused and harmful.”
That’s not nearly enough, not even close. Not enough personal action, and not enough for political change. If we hope to make any sort of difference we need to change those numbers, and that means education.
This is not an admonition about what anyone should do, but rather an observation about what we must do if we hope to see these species survive.
One of the vehicles for education is social networks. You already knew that, but are you doing your part to see that the education gets out there? That you personally are know the issue? If you are a social networker on sites like Care2, Digg, etc there are things you can do to promote education and action on climate change.
I realize that quite a few people already do these (below) things, but the differences I noted above means that far too many people don’t, and all of us need to be taking action. A question for those already doing these things, what can we do to support/encourage more people to be doing them? (seriously – if you have some good suggestions please share them in the comments).
* When you see posts on climate science, education about climate change, climate policy, or dispelling myths about climate change, make a point to check them out. Not all of them will appeal to you, but some will, so read them and ‘vote them up’.
* If you liked an article or thought it was useful, post it to other networks that you belong to, twitter it, share it on Facebook or MySpace. Make the facts of climate science as visible as the threat to the species you care about.
* Check out the site that the post came from. If it seems to suit you bookmark it or subscribe to the RSS feed. Regularly check for interesting posts and then share them on your networks.
* Find a site that offers good, basic, science based information on what climate change is and how it is happening. Bookmark the site and consistently post the link when you see disinformation being spread. There are quite a few good sites and I am trying to put together a reasonable list of them as a future post.
* Link good sites and pages as often as you reasonably can; on forums, in comments, on your own blog/profile/site – anywhere that it is relevant and appropriate (don’t spam). This i) makes you more credible as you provide sources, ii) directs more people to good information, and iii) helps the site by increasing it’s rank in search engines meaning more people will find it more easily.
* When you see posts denying the reality of climate change check those out too. Comment on them, share the knowledge you have, vote down the comments and posts that are spreading false and misleading information.
We are not going to make much progress until education about climate change and what to do about it is getting as much visibility as it’s impact on species that we care about. To accomplish that we are all going to have to do our part.
“Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.” Edward Abbey
Let’s turn that 18% into 81%.
“Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.” Abraham Lincoln
Denier “Challenge” aka Deathwatch Update: Day 40 … still no evidence.