Why we don’t give a crap about climate change.

I often wonder how in the face of images like these, we as humans have failed to take action on climate change. It’s led me down a rabbit hole of psychology, the persuasion, and how we make decisions. The threat of global warming has been around since the 70s. Since then we’ve been debating whether humans cause it, how much damage we’ve done, and who’s responsible. Why has policy moved at a snail’s pace? Why does the world refuse to rally? Why don’t we care enough to act?

One aspect of evolutionary biology forces us to deal with immediate threats. Like, “Ow! My hand is on fire” or “I need shelter away from the bears tonight” or the feeling of choking on a piece of plastic. Our ability to see the long view and foresee problems that could happen in 150 years just isn’t that strong.  It’s probably why so few Americans stress about this next month’s rent but fail to open retirement accounts. Or why my wife doesn’t like to put on sunscreen. The effects are only felt much much later.

Another reason is that we don’t enjoy thinking of our demise. Watching a doomsday scenario is much more fun on screen, preferably with Bill Pullman as our President saving the day at the end. This tendency works to our benefit. Just imagine stepping outside everyday consumed with the certainty that you’re going to be attacked by your neighbor’s pitbull or hit by a truck. That feels paralyzing to me. Positive thinking helps us lead positive lives. A plane may go down over there, but my 747 is totally bulletproof. Or missile proof, if you live near Russia.

Some people view climate change as a conspiracy.  This stance may be due to motivated reasoning. That happens when we twist or ignore information because it conflicts with an opposite held belief. That can be based on identity or affiliation – a political party or a sports team. For instance, you think a referee made a shitty call when it hurts your team, but the right one when it helps. You believe in small government and thus, any type of regulation,  even ones that protect our air and minimize pollution, are an infringement on our rights. Motivated reasoning is why science can be seen as trash or in the words of Michelle Bachman, “voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax.” In a way, the brain can’t resolve these two opposite ideas. Psychologists calls this cognitive dissonance. For some, it’s either A or B, but  not both. At that point, we’re not breaking down arguments. We’re breaking down bonds in the brain, which are made of really tough spider silk.

But perhaps the most common and defeating reason is that I’m just one person, and global warming is just too big for me to make any kind of dent. So we’re not all Ghandi or George Washington. But there are examples of big sweeping movements where humans rallied to solve a crisis.  A story: before anesthesia was invented, life really sucked for the wounded. Patients were intoxicated to dangerous levels, held down by big burly men, and limbs were sawed off. Then on November 18th, 1846 a report was published in Boston by Henry Bigelow on the discovery of “insensibility of inhalation.” Nitrous oxide was applied and spread like wildfire because it helped people. By mid-December, doctors adopted the idea in Paris and London. By June, most regions of the world were using it. These were the days before twitter and the Internet, and still the world rallied because it helped all of humanity. We did the same during the Japanese tsunami or earthquake in Haiti. During WWII the United States underwent a total rework of supplies and rationed everything – gas, rubber, food. All to help people. When are we going to do it again to protect our planet, and ourselves?

midnight monday manifesto

in no specific order:

  1. blog. swim. practice t’ai chi. stop looking at computer screens.
  2. expand garden. grow food.
  3. research whether it’s economically sound to buy a hybrid car at this juncture.
  4. finish Ishmael. buy more books.
  5. find, meet,propose, and marry norah jones. change name to Mr. Jones and holla at the counting crows guy, see if he wants to go get a drink in 1997.

See now, things have a way of working themselves out, if you just let them. My brain is fried full of ajax, API, php, perl and rubies on rails (thanks bluewaters) and has Rolodexed every social networking, web 2.0, video sharing site. Ha Rolodex. Remember those old Casio watches that had calculators on them? I saw this 17 year old kid wearing one and gave high fives, with both hands. Way to show your roots. Being a nerd is something to aspire to. You never know who you’re gonna learn from.

Speaking of 2.0 – Some cool links from my research dayz you may or may not want to check out. Of course, I really don’t give a shit either way, I’m just promoting them because they’re either funny, weird, or have hot chicks on the homepage.

http://funnyordie.com/videos/74

http://vimeo.com/

threadless.com

craftster.org

More random stuff? Bonnaroo rocked. Lesley feist kicked ass. Here’s a vid from the show I was at.

More randomness soon. Enjoy the poem.song below. I really, really don’t understand that whole opposite sex thing. Celibacy. Seriously. the only way. Someone put that on a t-shirt.

sleight of heart

never held out much for chivalry
not that i lack skills in romance but you didn’t awaken it in me
there she goes now, speeding things up
like a reckless train leaving us out in the rain
and i’m ticket less  growing sick of this
growing sick and tired of not knowing you 
 
but you’re older/ and that tends to impress me
whatever’s lacking in your department i’ll seek in your apartment 
you’ve got nothing that i can’t find
yeah you’ve got nothing that i can’t find
 
 heard it on the news they said that dreams just can’t be real
pulling rabbits out of your hat like david copperfield
learn together, seduction tricks
how to stay apart with sleight of heart
ah ha, ah ha. 

68

i have a deep, somewhat fading obsession with world war 2. technology, warfare, movement, empires, philosophies, catastrophes, the movies, flappers, zoot suits, computer games, big band music…it’s almost pathetic.  almost.

sometimes i connect better with my grandparents and even great grandparents more than the ones who were actually involved in my seeding. yes, mom and dad are so real, so tangible, that my own dementia brings upon daydreams of baghdad, iraq, uzghorod, the czech republic, hungary. when i lived in italy i was prone to scramble and hunt for nazis among the alleyways of antiquity, peering from the tops of cobblestone arches making sure that those deadly kraut mg42s that killed broxman the week before was nowehere in sight, the coast clear for me to jump across and continue to my objective. or i’m playing the tarbouka with my grandfather ezra on a patio in the jewish quarter of baghdad, circa 1936, the sun elongating silhouettes across the cityscape, domes and mud buildings ignited with gold.  there’s food cooking, there’s always food cooking in this arabic house, and i get a nod from my grandfather. he smiles at me, blows out smoke and shisha, because life is good.

my grandparents fled iraq in 1952 after al-Huseini went the way of hitler. i think he was beat up, his wife also arrested for zionist activities. put in jail for 2 weeks for believing in a state for jewish people.  in the european theatre, matters were much worse, my grandparent’s families simply – what’s the word – destroyed. people, fathers, mothers, children, were put to death because of faith, a farce, a deranged criminal in a deranged time.  

my inquiry? my holocaust? i remember. i’m16. my gravitation towards all things nostalgic draws me towards our bar, where my family keeps the pricey alcohol it never drinks, an pictures pictures pictures, weding photos, trips to hawaii, bar mitzvah shots, my dad’s bar mitzvah invitation, report cards from when i was 7.

and i see this list. it’s my father’s family tree, compiled in 1987.  and it starts way way back, to the late 1700s, retelling the story of the neuman family, where they came from, names i can’t prounce. and some names are roots of families, branches of children extending, location and professions of distant relatives whose names I’ve once heard. but then are the gaps. names that dead end, a premature death, their existence and their being shattered early, histories and lives collapsing into a dark place of nothingness. 

erased.  

people were erased.  68 out of 72 people in my grandmother’s family were erased. 

today on yom hashoah, holocaust rememberance day, i try and remember those 68.

how do you say codeine in hebrew?

body“and when ya can’t find an opiate, ya use an analgesic!” so the saying goes around here.

but seriously. my neck is starting to feel better. and the diahrea has subsided to untraceable levels. and that, my friends, has made my hosts feel better.

about the laptop, i didn’t even have enough time to get to know the thing. we only went for a few months, hooked up a few times, i always ended up paying, and she never said thank you. then she runs off with another guy, like the whore that everyone looks for when the club closes with that not-so-discreet eye. come on. you know what im talking about. you’re single, dry for three weeks…even the russian bouncer starts to look attractive.

this state of semi paralysis has led me to a number of things though, that I’ll share:

-practicing brazilian jujistu holds on my 14 year old cousin

-looking for environmental design and sales jobs in someplace outside of Los Angeles

-couting the number of buttons on the keyboard (58 on this one)

-playing company on heroes on my cousins computer (amazing wwII strategy game), getting in touch with my inner [and outer] nerd.

praying

-sailing

-creating sarcastic, often counterfeit ‘things i’ve been up to lately’ lists and posting them on the internet

-drafting business plans, reading rich dad poor dad, not responding to emails, planning for world apocalpse. pretty usual stuff. and making amazing bagel sandwiches. nobody fucks with my bagels.  not even mister diahrea!

back the attack!

i’m not into conspiracy theories (well…actually..the smalls have been known to believe in aliens) but here’s the text of a new bill passed by NY-D charles rangle…

110th CONGRESS 1st Session H. R. 393

To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the favorable treatment afforded combat pay under the earned income tax credit, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES – January 10, 2007

Read the summary. It lists exemptions. If you’re in the 11th grade, you won’t need to wear a uniform. Rad! Tell me…Why oh why is this topic of reinstatement getting tossed around both floors lately? Is it coincidence or is there a genuine political push for more US soldiers? You can say “Bullshit! The eskimo is paranoid!” But I’ll bet you don’t even remember turning 42. Do ya?

And check out the date. The piece of legislation was introduced the same day Bush requested another 21000 troops. We’ll need more than that if he plans to invade Iran. He’s got 2 years to do it!

Far right Evangelical Christian Godspeed!