VIDEO: The Intergenerational Evil Of Climate Change

Cross-posted from Huffington Post

The following video is a compact and emotionally moving overview of the problem and solutions to climate change. It’s designed to be a quick and compelling way to get up to speed on the issue and help others do the same.

In 2012 the dangers of human-caused climate disturbance became undeniable, making this the fundamental moral issue of our time. The following features clips from the world’s most respected climate scientist, NASA’s James Hansen, and two key advocates for systemic change: Bill McKibben and David Roberts.

This 49-minute video teaches the basic science and explains key climate dynamics of lag time and tipping points in ways that all age groups can grasp. Richly illustrated with images of this year’s unprecedented retreat of Arctic sea ice and the near-total surface layer melt of the Greenland ice cap, this video also includes footage of the Colorado Springs wildfire, the midwestern drought, the mile-high Arizona dust-storm, Hurricane Sandy, and other climate turning points frighteningly evident in 2012.

The call-to-action excerpts by Hansen and McKibben are overlaid with compelling images of civil resistance (including Hansen’s three arrests) and enthusiastic public participation in events. The latter included worldwide rallies to voice support for reducing CO2 in the atmosphere back down to 350 parts per million, and McKibben’s autumn 2012 “Do the Math Tour,” which spread the news that there’s five times more carbon in already discovered fossil fuel reserves than could be burned without exceeding the 2 degree Celsius threshold of additional warming that’s widely regarded as the maximum “safe” limit.

My wife, science writer Connie Barlow, and I introduce each of the clips and share our experience of “waking up” in December 2012 to the terrifying prospect of climate catastrophe, which is happening faster than scientists had projected only a few years ago. (I refer to it as my “climate change come-to-Jesus moment”.)

Our extemporaneous storytelling of which aspects of the 2012 climate-change news and statistics rocked us out of complacency is an invitation for viewers to likewise make a shift in outlook and priorities.

Among the most emotionally moving footage is the the portion of James Hansen’s 2012 TED Talk, “Why I Must Speak Out about Climate Change,” where he explains that his love for his grandchildren, coupled with his formidable knowledge of the science, compelled him to speak out against, what he perceives as, “intergenerational injustice.”

We produced this video mix for precisely the same reason. As members of the generational cohort now in power, we exhort fellow “boomers” to awaken to the “generational evil” that will become our sad legacy if we continue with business as usual, focusing irresponsibly on our own comfort and security while expecting future generations to deal with the horrendous conditions that our own complacency will produce.

— Rev. Michael Dowd is a religious naturalist, evidential mystic, big history evangelist, and author of ‘Thank God for Evolution.’

7 Responses to VIDEO: The Intergenerational Evil Of Climate Change

  1. Superman1 says:

    We need some real numbers in this debate. Kevin Anderson uses 2 C as a target for computing emissions constraints, using climate models that do not contain positive feedback mechanisms. Even under those unrealistically optimistic conditions, he finds we need on the order of ten percent global CO2 emissions reductions starting essentially now. If one uses a more realistic temperature target (Anderson suggests 1 C, as he believes 2 C is way out of bounds), the required global emissions reductions ramp up rapidly, and for what he called the Annex 1 nations (developed countries), the reductions required are even higher. Globally, we should be reducing CO2 emmissions at least 20-30% today, not forty years from now. If these numbers are in the ballpark, and in fact they may be optimistic, how do we get out of this in one piece?

  2. Gingerbaker says:

    how do we get out of this in one piece?

    All we have to do is build enough renewable energy infrastructure – wind and solar electricity generation – to fulfill our needs for energy as a nation.

    If we want these huge investments in our nation’s future to cost the least amount possible and to be finished as soon as possible, the government should build them, and it should build them using a coordinated plan.

    Large-scale installations will cost much less then doing it piece-meal, as we are currently doing.

    Installations should be sited optimally – wind projects should be erected where it is most windy, and solar projects should be located where it it is most sunny. That means the American southwest for solar.

    This isn’t rocket science. We have the technology – right now – to make this work and save our children’s future. All we need is the vision to see what needs to be done, and the will to make it happen.

  3. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Correct and for those that like distributed as in PV, they can use the large installations as backup. Then we can start concentrating on cleaning up the mess we have made, ME

  4. Solar Jim says:

    RE: “without exceeding the 2 degree Celsius threshold of additional warming that’s widely regarded as the maximum “safe” limit.”

    Correction: 1.2 degrees C additional warming above today’s 0.8C global average increase brings us to the politically agreed limit of 2C. “Widely regarded” in the science community is questionable.

  5. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I agree entirely, and I’d love to spend my dotage planting trees, making biochar, repairing ecological destruction etc. However, there is a big obstacle in the way of doing the necessary, and it is called capitalism, and its adherents, 1% fanatics and direct beneficiaries, 99% brainwashed to love their exploiters, aren’t about to go away. I know that the decent, informed, compassionate types are ready to rumble, but what, oh what, do you recommend as a means to reach the ‘know-nothings’?

  6. Superman1 says:

    It’s pretty clear we have been misled about what constitutes ‘safe’. If we were designing a pressure vessel for ‘safe’ operation, the temperature equivalent of a safe operating pressure would be, as I have posted elsewhere, about 0.2 or 0.1 C. Right now, not 2020 or 2040, we are in an extremely dangerous climate mode. As I stated above, how do we get out in one piece?

  7. Gingerbaker says:

    what, oh what, do you recommend as a means to reach the ‘know-nothings’?

    How about offering to pick up the cost of their (electric) gasoline, the cost of heating and cooling their homes and businesses, the cost of all their electric bills for the rest of time?

    Do you think people might want to vote for a plan that does all that, and at the same time saves the planet?

    But the first thing to do is to get the national conversation to include discussion of Federal projects, not market forces, as the best means to get our new renewable energy infrastructure constructed.