Since I just put up a post about climate change, I also wanted to share a link to this Instagram page. One of the hardest things about climate change, because it is so complex, is making it register in a visceral way. This page features shots from photographers all over the world that have been documenting the results of climate change. I think seeing the variety of the photographs connects in a way that no one single image can.
President Obama recently stated that the news media overstates the threat of terrorism compared to climate change. Despite some initial waffling by his press secretary, who also eventually answered the question in agreement, this statement seems like a no brainer. Here is an article on islands that are threatened because of sea level rise related to climate change:
Or check out the the predicted future for one of our country’s biggest cities:
My point is not to scare you about climate change, though I wish more people would get motivated to make the smart changes that we absolutely need to make, only to give some examples of arising problems related to climate change, as it is a serious issue. Overall, the threats we face from terrorism pale in comparison.
However, this is just another example of a mainstream media that entertains more than it informs and a human brain that is good at identifying localized or regional threats, but not large systematic ones.
The first article is about the gap between the opinions of the general public and the second is about how the President had to remind people that it was safe to get vaccines. One of my last blogs (I will link it at the end.) was about how our society relies too heavily on experts, especially the kind on TV that are used to shape public opinion on moral and political issues. However, where experts are really valuable is on technical issues, which Howard Zinn, in the excerpt I published, eludes to, although perhaps not strongly enough. Scientists can’t teach you morality, but scientists can give you the technical facts on which to base morality on. Scientists are not experts at complex ethical questions regarding manmade climate change, but they can in fact tell you that man is contributing to climate change. Scientists should not be the ones laying out the reason why it is ethical to vaccinate your children, but they should be the ones that tell you if vaccines are safe or not. Yet on climate change, vaccinations, and other topics of the day, we have a large percentage of the population that ignores the cold hard evidence on such issues. What does it mean when a President has to waste his time telling people that it is safe to get vaccinations when the overwhelming scientific evidence is that it is indeed safe?
Again the only way a democracy can work is if the general population actively tries to stay informed. We have too many people that believe in nonsensical unsupported gibberish. There is a great deal of senselessness on the internet, but at the same time it is actually pretty easy to get the correct information if you diligently search for it. A democracy is supposed to put leadership in the hands of people, but people, in order to deserve that leadership, must also assume the burdens of that leadership. That means spending at least part of your life trying to stay informed as to what is actually going on.
Why are we spending so much of our time arguing over things that are settled science? I think it is because of the corrupting influence that the god of money has on our society. There scores of think-tanks that have been created, often by corporate money, to try to influence public debate and public policy. There are a great deal of political “leaders” that are often shills for different industries. Many of the so-called “experts” on TV have been bought and paid for by different industries. People like the Koch brothers are purposely trying to dismantle education, particularly science education, but really education that gets people to think critically. In an age when we are bombarded with information, it is more important that people can think critically than ever before. People need the ability to actually tell the difference between respected technical experts of certain fields and bought and paid for talking heads, which I admit can be hard to do if you don’t actually have the time to read up on stuff. The media, especially the mainstream corporate media, does not do its duty in telling its audiences who is receiving checks from where.
There is so much to discuss on this topic, but for the time being I will leave it to you to explore on your own. Try to teach yourself about the role of think-tanks in our society. Also, google Barry McCaffrey, who was a military expert often brought on TV shows in the lead up to the Iraq War. Then spend some time googling where he gets his various paychecks from. He is a great example to understand how money corrodes public debate.
My previous post on experts here:
Hat tip to my friend Peter for the second article.
The above article is a Huffington Post about how political advocacy groups connected to the Koch brothers are projected to spend nearly a billion dollars on the 2016 election. If you wonder how we can have a Senate where almost 50% of Senators believe that human behavior does not contribute to climate change, among other senseless beliefs, look no further. It is fucking troubling…
Is Keystone Backfiring on GOP Leaders?
We can only hope so! On the road this weekend, so posting will be sporadic.
Read two interesting articles this morning over at Rolling Stone Magazine
Above is an article over at Rolling Stone that is about why it makes environmental and economic sense to divest in companies that contributing to climate change.
Here below is an article that is an interview with E Street band keyboardist Roy Bittan. For all of the years that I have listened to the E Street Band, I don’t think I have read more than thee or four Roy Bittan interviews. I’ve always loved the way he played piano. Interview:
Fourteen of the fifteen hottest years on record have occurred since the year 2000, yet we now have a Senate in which 49 of its members are unwilling to tie climate change to human behavior, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. If this were a movie no one would believe it, unless it was a comedy. We are a laughing stock to most of the intelligent world, yet so many of our citizens bury their heads in the sand. (This bunch was just elected and reelected.) Anyone that has young children or is thinking of having them should be weeping openly in public. If we don’t act soon, we are willingly bequeathing future generations a world that will resemble a flaming ball of shit. If I sound angry, I am. This idiocracy is the result of greed and laziness and people that can’t be bothered with anything that isn’t in their narrow little field of view. We let the 1% buy so many of our elections. We sit idly by as the rich destroy education and turn our people into a nation of retarded couch potatoes. These powerful few are making monkeys out of us and no one cares. If no one was going to procreate again, I could say we had it coming. However, people that are babies now, or those that have not been born, are innocent of these ridiculous crimes. And yes, what we are doing is a crime. We are harming other people and future generations just so we can drive big cars around town while fueling destruction and our own egos. In a democracy the many have power over the few, but in order for that to be so the many need to pay attention and actually try to figure out what is really going on. If they don’t soon it is game over…