We are the frog in the pot

You have probably heard that old story before where if you stick a frog in a boiling pot of water it will try to get out. If you stick a frog in a pleasantly cool pot of water and then turn on the heat the frog will let itself get cooked because it doesn’t realize what’s going on. While you might quibble with some of the details of the story the basic premise I feel rings true.

We, humans, are animals just like that frog and we are hardwired to pay attention to sudden shocking changes in our surroundings and not things that change slowly or gradually. But eventually, even things that move slowly will get our attention once they become impossible to ignore.

I think as a society we are finally reaching the point where we can no longer ignore the fact that the water is getting a bit toasty and it is time to get out of the pot. With the recent release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that reviewed much of the latest research in climate science, the summary is clear

Climate Change is Real and We Caused It.

Gone is the wishy-washy language of the previous reports with the new report saying things like,

“Observed increases in well-mixed greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations since around 1750 are unequivocally caused by human activities. Since 2011 (measurements reported in AR5), concentrations have continued to increase in the atmosphere, reaching annual averages of 410 ppm for carbon dioxide (CO2)”

“Human influence is very likely the main driver of the global retreat of glaciers since the 1990s and the decrease in Arctic sea ice area between 1979–1988 and 2010–2019 (about 40% in September and about 10% in March). There has been no significant trend in Antarctic sea ice area from 1979 to 2020 due to regionally opposing trends and large internal variability. Human influence very likely contributed to the decrease in Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover since 1950. It is very likely that human influence has contributed to the observed surface melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet”

“Changes in the land biosphere since 1970 are consistent with global warming: climate zones have shifted poleward in both hemispheres, and the growing season has on average lengthened by up to two days per decade since the 1950s in the Northern Hemisphere extratropics (high confidence)”

When you start seeing language like,

  • High confidence
  • Very Likely
  • Unequivocally

That’s science-speak, we are pretty sure that what we are saying is true. There is no such thing as 100% certain when you talk to a scientist because they know that you can never be 100% certain about things. But you can be sure they are pretty damn sure when they start using language as you see in the latest report. It’s nice to see such unambiguous language finally coming out from this panel that has been doing these reports for 30 years and they have essentially been screaming into the void that is the governments of the world. No government has given serious credence to these reports and really taken the forecast and outlook presented in the reports to heart. There are places like Germany that have been doing some good for decades in the solar industry by providing real support to both individuals and industries in installing and paying for solar but examples like that are few and far between.

For the most part, we as a species have twiddled our thumbs, had inane arguments about whether climate change was real or not, and have lost decades of time that could have really been useful. This report clearly shows that our time is up and we need to make changes now that reduce our impact on the planet. The changes to the climate are obvious to anyone who is willing to open their eyes and accept what they are seeing.

The problem is big and so are the solutions

We are now facing one of those history-making problems that will either create another Greatest Generation or end with us being scorned by our descendants assuming they have the time or knowledge to scorn us. The problems we face cannot be solved by just your or me putting solar panels on our roofs or by driving less. The time for that approach is gone….

We now need a whole systemic change from the bottom up, top-down and even side to side. We need to get our governments to pass laws that will push us and the companies of the world toward a sustainable future. This is a collective need and it will require collective action from all of us to do what we need to do to keep this great experiment we call civilization going on.

We need to do things like,

And the list could go on and on and on…..

The time is now so let’s get going, shall we?

Originally published at .




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Green Living Library

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The Green Living Library the everyday persons guide to living sustainably, living frugally and one persons take on how to get the most out of a green lifestyle.

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