The last word

(Canscene) — The following is by Colin Isaacs, publisher and editor of the Gallon Environmental Letter

In a recent column in the Los Angeles Times, Harvard psychology professor Daniel Gilbert analyzed why so many governments are so much more worried about terrorism than climate change.

Gilbert analyses why our attention to the threat of climate change is so much less than our attention to the threat of terror from a very small number of antisocial individuals. He theorizes that we worry much more about the activities of other people, where we can demonize a human face, than about the activities of natural systems, that we are concerned much more with breaches of morals than about the impacts of our activities on global systems, that a clear and present danger is much more real to us than threats from a more distant future, and, perhaps most importantly, we suffer from the boiling frog syndrome, where we jump out of the way of a pot of boiling water but luxuriate in a pot that is slowly being brought to a boil.

Humanizing the situation vital
If Gilbert is right, and we are inclined to agree with much of his theory, then those of us who are concerned about rising global mean temperatures need to explain the situation in more human terms. We need to give climate change a human face. We need to follow the advice of Queen’s University Religious Studies Professor James Miller in recognizing that climate change is as much a religious and ethical problem as it is an economic and environmental problem. We need to continue to highlight the devastation already being wrought, most obviously today upon the lives of many northern peoples by increasingly mild winters and the melting of traditional land and ocean-based food gathering areas.

The slow rise to boiling of this frog pond we call Earth is more threatening to the future of all peoples than the issues of gay marriage, day care funding, and international terrorism combined. Those who refuse to address the issues of climate change should be condemned by religious and moral leaders. Those who actively oppose action on climate change should be seen for what they are: terrorists against future generations.

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