Leaving Brexit aside.
Sir David Attenborough has lauded teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg, praising her “passion” and “insight”.
The veteran broadcaster is currently gearing up to unveil his new show Seven Worlds, One Planet, which explores the differences in the seven continents, and has also been very vocal about climate change, previously singing the praises of Greta’s efforts to raise awareness around the subject.
What does it mean to “raise awareness” about climate change? It would seem to mean drawing attention to it. And in particular it means drawing attention to one possible kind of climate change: global warming.
I’m also trying to “raise awareness” about climate change, but not in the way that Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg have been: I’ve been building my own simple climate simulation model, and I hope thereby to raise my own awareness and improve my own understanding of how the Earth’s climate works.
I’ve already done something like this with my orbital simulation model, which allows me to model the orbits of asteroids. So when I read something like this, I can if I want investigate the reports more deeply:
NASA’s asteroid tracking system has detected four space rocks that are currently hurtling toward Earth. According to the space agency, one of the approaching asteroids is almost as big as the Great Pyramid of Giza…
CNEOS noted that 2019 UT1 will approach Earth on Oct. 28 at 11:02 a.m. EDT. During this time, the asteroid will be about 0.01215 astronomical units or roughly 1.1 million miles away…
The agency predicted that 2019 UE1 will zip past the planet on Oct. 28 at 12:51 p.m. EDT from a distance of 0.02191 astronomical units or about 2 million miles away.
Since the Moon is about a quarter of a million miles away, they may as well have headlines which express alarm about that truly colossal body which is far, far closer to the Earth than either 2019 UT1 or 2019 UE1, and far closer all the time. I can occasionally even see the damn thing out of my window at night, without using a giant telescope.
But how many people know how far away the Moon is? I wouldn’t be surprised if hardly anybody does. It’s not something I was taught in school.
The media are scare-mongering about asteroids. And they’re also scare-mongering about climate change. And they’re scaremongering about Brexit. And, of course, they’re also scaremongering about tobacco smoke. And with people being scared by one thing after another, it’s really no surprise if many people believe the scare stories. And it’s equally no surprise if equally many people don’t.
And the result is a society which is polarised in multiple different ways. If X is some cause for alarm, then there will be a large body of X-believers and an equally large body of X-deniers. This is true of the global warming, of Brexit, of tobacco smoke, and of flu (I came across a report today that there’s a nasty flu virus in Australia), and of more or less everything else.
And X-believers and X-deniers usually can’t debate with each other, because neither side really knows any more about X than the other. Their convictions really boil down to either believing what experts tell them, or disbelieving what experts tell them. They either place their trust in experts, or they don’t (and since I’m building my own climate model, I’m clearly someone who doesn’t have much faith in experts).
In the case where X = tobacco smoke alarmism, we’re now at the point where not only can X-believers and X-deniers no longer debate the matter rationally, but also that they can’t be in the same room together, or even in the same building together. How long before climate change alarmists and climate change deniers can’t be in the same room together? How long before the two sides are fighting on the streets with each other? How long before there’s open civil war?
This constant scaremongering ( aka “raising awareness” ) is fracturing society more and more. It’s just like lighting a fire under a pot of water: at some point it will come to the boil.
Perhaps that’s what the scaremongers want? I occasionally wonder if it’s part of some fiendish political plot. But when an entire society has been brought to the boil, it’s not going to be anything that anyone will be able to control: it’ll be complete chaos. There will be no winners when the pot boils over, and the lid comes off.
So I think that there’ll soon come calls to Stop All The Scaremongering, as more and more people in positions of authority realise that the situation is becoming very dangerous. And then there will appear a new breed of experts who will talk down the dangers of everything, rather than talk them up. Asteroids, climate change, Brexit, Trump, tobacco smoke, flu: nothing to worry about.
No sign of any of them yet.