Tuesday, I scored big. Another manifestation success story for this little girl. Last minute, I got access to tickets for New York Times writer + Dot Earth blogger, Andrew Revkin‘s talk at Portland State University. It was a two hour long eco-geekout for me—complete with tweet coverage for the GoGreen Conference (through whom I got the tickets due to the great generosity of Eleek). You can read those tweets on Twitter by searching for #revkinPSU.
The meat of my eco-geeking was looking at climate change from a “big picture” perspective that was very serious and incredibly thoughtful, but not hyper-dramatic. Instead, Revkin held a compelling dicussion on what’s happening with climate change, the controversies in the science behind it, ways governments are handling (or running from) the situation, and how news outlets have covered what he calls a “slow drip” phenomenon over the last century.
He spoke on this slow drip phenomenon quite a bit. It was a new analogy for me, one that resonated in its apt description of our dilemma. A slow drip process is one that occurs so gradually, you don’t notice the issue at first. Usually, things don’t seem so bad, so you just put up with it. Except at some point, you know it’s going to be unbearable. Human nature lets us keep hoping that we can push off dealing with catastrophe just a little bit more before we absolutely must do something about it. A practical person would take care of the issue before it becomes a full on crisis, but we’re human beings — we’re inherently irrational — so we wait until everything goes bananas and have to work a helluva lot harder to get back on course. Sound familiar?
Revkin also brought up another challenge associated with slow drip issues: Just as it took us hundreds of years to cause this devastation, getting things back to how they were (or better) will take time too. At some level, he asserts, we must accept this will be our reality for the foreseeable future and figure out how to work within our new paradigm. We have to get used to living on a planet, “in the state of extreme flux.” The Katrina-level storms, the melting of glaciers and the polar ice caps, and the extreme medical side-effects of chemical pollutants aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
It’s a grim assessment of the situation, but that’s where we’re at.
It leaves Margaret Mead’s concerned citizens wondering what they can do to enact real change.
So glad you asked, because I’ve got you covered (you know I always go big!). Revkin was kind enough to answer that very question for us on camera.
Enjoy. I sure did.