To Get More People to Think Differently About Climate Change, They Need to Understand How Earth’s Ecology Works

This is article was written in response to some of the issues raised in another article published in The Conversation: “Another attack on the Bureau, but top politicians have stopped listening to climate change denial”


What Australians and those around the globe need to know and understand is that climate change is only a small part of a larger picture of environmental and ecological degradation that is happening all over the planet.

Recent research carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology which was published in the science journal Nature on the 31.07.2017 states “the future warming [the] planet is already committed by past emissions . . . is 1.1 degrees Celsius (0.7-1.8) at the end of the century . . . and [we] find that the window of opportunity on the 1.5 degrees target is closing.”

A recent report by the WWF and ZSL concluded there has been a loss of about 60% of individual animals over the last 40 years. That would mean about two-thirds of species will be wiped out by 2020 (not the individual species but the population sizes will reduce by this much).

Outline in an article in the journal Conservation Biology, roughly 25%-30% of plants and animals are expected to be extinct by 2050.

According to experts, the background rate of species extinction is at least 100 times faster than it should be. This is due to human activity.

Even if these types of problems don’t affect humans—which they can and do already—there is no reasonable argument that makes this okay. We have no right to do as we please with the biosphere.

Ecologists think that climate change is going to be one of the biggest drivers of species extinction by 2050.

Once ecosystem services start to break down—which they have already started to—due to loss of biodiversity and changes to the climate, etc. then humans are impacted.

Impacts of Climate Change including Ecological Impacts

The impacts are being felt already and the consequences of continued burning of fossil fuels according to scientists and sustainability experts include:

  • Extreme weather is worsened (higher water levels, flooding, extreme precipitation, etc.) and more frequent due to climate change.
  • Hurricanes and cyclones will be intensified.
  • The die-off of coral reefs.
  • More heatwaves and droughts.
  • The Arctic will become completely ice-free.
  • The spreading of tropical diseases further north.
  • Species extinctions due to changes in temperature forcing species into new habitats that they are not adapted to survive in.
  • Increased air pollution.
  • The most concerning (but unlikely): the breakdown of the natural regulation of the earth’s temperature due to the ocean’s current circulation (the Thermohaline
    Circulation
    ).
  • Agricultural yields will be negatively affected.
  • Rising oceans putting islands under water where humans live such what is happening now in Micronesia and Bangladesh.
  • Health issues: the WHO claims that “Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year”. Many of these deaths are going to be in the third world so do you think that the first world really has much of an incentive to act due to this?
Why There Is Difficulty Gaining Traction In Combating Climate Change

We are going to run out of fossil fuels anyway so why continue to burn them and run this giant science experiment on the earth? We don’t understand exactly what the long-term impacts could be for human civilization and other species. It’s probably not an existential threat (which would mean it would put an end to the human race—although some scientists claim it is an existential threat and some also claim that biodiversity loss is also such as the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, who maintain the “doomsday clock”) but there could be massive impacts on humans the higher the temperature gets above pre-industrial levels.

The problem is that many are not listening to what scientists are saying, and most of the public listen and consume corporate media to stay informed. Corporate media and mainstream media are failing their responsibility to the public.

Some exceptions are The Guardian and the BBC (Neither the BBC or The Guardian panders to climate change denialism). Many people, however, read and rely on corporate media such as the Murdoch press (The Australian, Fox News, etc.) to stay informed.

The Politicisation of Environmental Issues

Climate change shouldn’t be an issue that is politicised but it is. Once an issue such as this becomes politicised, then the only way to resolve it is by also finding a solution that has a political element. That means non-scientists have to take the reigns from the scientists but scientists also have to think of more ways of making their research and data publically available in a way that the general public can understand. That is if the climate is changing in alarming ways. The facts are the facts. Scientists are the ones to determine the facts with regards to this issue. Nobody else. Not writers, journalists, public intellectuals, politicians, private think tanks, oil companies, your neighbor, your dog—whoever!

Only scientists who do the actual research into climate change, environmental science, ecology, conservation biology, etc. That’s it. They are the experts.

If public perception is to shift, then you have to shift what those who disseminate information to the public think en masse. If more people also saw the many linkages between all ecosystems on earth and human society then perhaps there would be less climate change denialism occurring in the current political climate.

This is shifting but it is slow.

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2 Responses to “To Get More People to Think Differently About Climate Change, They Need to Understand How Earth’s Ecology Works

  • Good discussion. I liked your comment about politicizing climate change.

    • informationandtheuniverse
      4 months ago

      Thanks for the comment Garry.

      Yes, I think that we should all stick to the facts surrounding climate change. It is boundlessly frustrating to hear climate change debated as if we are discussing the benefits of preferring spaghetti to pumpkin soup.

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