With some qualifications, I totally agree with Elizabeth May’s opening statement at the Munk Debate back in December 2009 (see Climate Ref’s) along the lines of “we should be debating not WHETHER climate change is a critical issue, but HOW to tackle it”. I’d add, we should NOT be “debating” at all, but looking to (learn how best to) establish and maintain ubiquitous eco-consonance.

Debating As (an Instantiation of) Solution Heuristics, Practice AND Mindset sidetracks~depletes~wastes – big time – by dichotomizing, rather than helping to find common ground for policy making/strategizing and all-out action. If neuroscientists are right about repetition creating neural paths (of habit) in the brain, then the confrontation of views that debating perpetuates sustains rather than heals old and creates new conflicts, notably, to the detriment of knowledge creation, exchange, application.

More specifically, there is no guarantee that the winning rhetorics coincide with scientifically or otherwise valid epistemological claims. This in large part is what gave sophists (note 1), the skilled rhetoricians/verbal swordsmen of antiquity, both Western (Greece) and Eastern (China,) the reputation of peddlars of “untruths”, “empty words”, executed with verbal mastery. In short, what we’ve come to term “sophistry”.

Moreover, if Dr Masaru Emoto’s consistent findings that the shapes of water chrystals “memorize” human emotions expressed in their pre-freeze vicinity, negative emotions (ditto aggressive music)producing “ugly” configurations and positive emotions (ditto classical music) “beautiful” ones, through the emotions it generates, verbal duelling may be affecting its participants and audiences in much more pulpable ways than hitherto imagined. (note 3)

And what about the opposing “positions” themselves? Numerous motivations for shades of “denialism”, “skepticism” – from across the board political apathy, to I’ve-had-it-with-“scientists-this-or-that”, to staunch defence of industrial interests, to political incentives, to – allegedly – Socratic doubt and healthy scientific skepticism… (in)accessibility of knowledge, its wilful distortion, peer pressure, misunderstood financial interest…

To err on the side of “objectivity”, CC action supporters and detractors can equally act in view of sincere beliefs/loyalty toward X,Y,Z, as they might for profit making, complying with peer pressure, even randomizing their choice (as some are prone to do in official elections). For “seeing is believing” is a modus operandi for only a few initiates in climate science, not counting, e.g., the Inuit, who are already witnessing a quite perceptible waning of their winter season.

In all evidence, attempts at generalizing, to support operational solutions, would likely boil down to essentializing, undesirable even to a mind untrained in “critical-thinking”, and possessed of far from remarkable discernment capacity.

What about the persistent appeal by scientists-supporters of CC mitigation (“alarmists” in the vocab of the categories above) to the media not to “dismiss” the by now “alternative” view (note 4), but to avoid representing it on a par with the mainstream scientific view, thereby creating the impression of equal credibility.

Only a climate scientist, whose everyday business it is to deal with the relevant data, logical operations and epistemic practices could have the first-hand kind of experience that would give them the authority to “speak for the science”. Anyone else’s conviction would be a matter of trust.

Thus, we’re staring right at the convolutions of quite a Gordian Knot, in more ways than we’d like to imagine. It will grow even more tightly entangled, should we

  • go for determining “blame” to justify matching it up with strict prohibitive measures, and (financial) obligations and sanctions
  • choose to rely on convincing the general population and policy makers – e.g., based on the report of an authoritative body like the IPCC – of the grave dangers that continuing the polluting business-as-usual threatens.

Incidentally, guilt and fear are precisely what makes up the scourge that Nietzsche has argued (Judeo-)Christianity (the Church) has used to achieve power over the minds and bodies of people in the Western world. (see his Genealogy of Morals)

This author, therefore, offers to dissolve the Knot to the eco-consonant sound of Conscious.Effort.At.All.Levels.Of.Society, from education to politics, from NGOs to science, from law to art …, as predicated of national, international, and transnational bodies of any size.

Here’s an invitation to scale down from the glocality (< global + local) of Climate Change to "the little things" around everyday joys and chores. It is promptly followed by an intuitive caregiver’s/teacher's (if I say so myself) blueprint for action of the envisioned comprehensive scope.

Industrial pollution is no different quality-wise than dumping your waste in a neighbour’s backyard, or dropping a candy wrapping on the sidewalk. If growing up our young ones learn to bathe, brush and floss their teeth, it would be a question of identity social construction to also gain the awareness that they responsible for the planet’s as much as their personal hygiene.

It would be a healthy exercise for human specimens of all ages and from all walks of life to gain fluency in full-blown ecosonic zooming in and out, just as they WE do on a tiny abiotic particle within the global ecosystem – the personal computer.

Probability-wise, Why worry? – those who can will think-be-do eco-consonantly, to the best of our ability AND understanding.

As long as there is even a theoretical glimmer of a chance that a critical mass of individuals will achieve a putative series of ecosonic tipping points, to my humanitarian mind, it would be unscientific to exclude the ecosonic scenario’s manifestation as a practical possibility.

NOTE 1. A good illustration is given in passing in Chris Fraser’s SEP article, “…a sophist can assert of any normal two-eared person, such as John Doe, that he “has ear(s),” and also that he has a left ear and a right ear. Therefore he has “three ears”…” [shouldn’t this be “3, 4 or more”?; 🙂 and while we’re at it, who says any/all of them are attached to X, X=(non)human, or attached at all – sorry – yet again, pushing an idea to its logical extreme, in this case the situatedness (if I can apply the term to a body part) of “ear” and the signification of “have”]
== School of Names, SEP (2005, revised 2009)

NOTE 2. E.g., Dr. Emoto’s The Hidden Messages in Water, one in a series of books he has been writing on the subject. General References

NOTE 3. If findings of psychic/psychometric and other yet-to-earn-their-place in “mainstream” (a.k.a., “normal”, in Thomas Kuhn’s terms) science sources of observation and experimentation, were to receive epistemological validation, their data would count as additional proof of the physical effects of human thoughts. (see Michael Talbot, 1991 – see General Refs)

NOTE 4. The climate change “cause” WAS the “alternative” view for quite a while, as J. Hansen (2009) and S. Schneider (2009) detail in their respective accounts. Both had to “convince” colleagues, science administrators, government bodies…, and the world is still a long-long way from “convinced”.