Enlightening Climate Change Reading Pt. 2

The previous posts line of thinking is inspired by Naomi Klein’s interview with Leanne Simpson. She doesn’t speak scientific facts. She speaks from the heart and from a natural perspective undisturbed by mass media or scientific jargon. Indigenous people often approach climate change in the same light because they are far more in tune with the earth than we, who are more concerned with man-made instruments such as smartphones and laptops. The Samsung Note 7 faulty battery debacle has instigated deep emotional responses from those that previously owned the phone. However, when attempting to initiate a conversation on climate change, some of you may be guilty of yawning. Science does not stir feelings. Poignant writing, on the other hand, has the power to do so. 


Pala Molisa is specifically blunt as he states “… right now, we’re about 1.5 degrees above baseline. Most scientists would agree that if we go to 2 degrees above baseline, most complex life on the planet will die. We’re gone. Humanity – as a species – we’re gone.”

Leanne Simpson speaks compellingly of alternative modes of combatting climate change and refers to colonialism as a cause of the environmental issue, “Colonial thought brought us climate change. We need a new approach because the environmental movement has been fighting climate change for more than two decades and we’re not seeing the change we need. I think groups like Defenders of the Land and the Indigenous Environmental Network hold a lot of answers for the mainstream environmental movement because they are talking about large-scale transformation. If we are not, as peoples of the earth, willing to counter colonialism, we have no hope of surviving climate change. Individual choices aren’t going to get us out of this mess. We need a systemic change. Manulani Aluli Meyer was just in Peterborough—she’s a Hawaiian scholar and activist—and she was talking about punctuated transformation. A punctuated transformation [means] we don’t have time to do the whole steps and time shift, it’s got to be much quicker than that.”

A very real understanding of climate change is developed not from scientific facts but from genuine human expression. Drawing attention to these kinds of writings and opinions will hopefully incite change, whether changes in behaviour or change in perspective , it inspires change within a person. This is what the earth needs of us, to alter our physical ways by altering our mindsets. In doing so, the denialist cause will lessen as global acceptance takes its place. 



Enlightening Climate Change Reading Pt. 1

Emotive language is undoubtedly an insightful lens through which to view climate change. Impactful filmmaking on the changing climate and its effects are significant. Visuals and moving images are a powerful form of affective response. However, writing can be not only illuminating but an awakening force. We are shifting from an in-depth focus on the science in this post as well as the last couple of posts. This does not mean to detract from actual scientific evidence and facts. But, for a society permeated by social media, science is simply no longer enough as a convincing tool. The way in which the severity of the issue is communicated is now perhaps of greater importance.

Scientists and politicians have spent countless years trying to scientifically explain and discuss the disastrous effects of climate change, along with what it is, what it’s doing, and what it will do to the earth if we do not act. It has grown phenomenally as an issue that ought to be at the forefront of our consciousness thanks to well-known figures such as Al Gore and renowned climate scientist Michael E. Mann. Just recently, Al Gore joined Hilary Clinton on her campaign trail in Florida and smoothly dissected the current climate issues facing the globe. However, is this enough?


Simply lecturing on climate change and global warming as detrimental threats do not spur instantaneous action or change. It is easy to shelve such lectures as apocalyptic narratives, as Tony Birch puts it. He implicitly highlights the characteristics in tune with a society of the 21st century. We will choose to give our very limited span of attention to a site, speaker, or channel that will ultimately hand us a dramatic and/or entertaining tale that does not reveal its ending, but will encourage us to think creatively and in a curious manner. But, an abundance of hope is a bore. Overwhelming negativity and despair drive a feeling of helplessness and the question “what’s the point?”. So, a balance ought to be achieved. More importantly, communication ought to be looked at as a strategy carefully formulated to spur strong feelings and strong reactions. Otherwise, we are engaged for the time being, but we are not impacted to our core in the long term. 

More in part 2 of this post.