The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Bob Stepno § The structure of journalism today / 2014-03-10 18:42:32

Climate Is a Mental Construct

Clive Thompson asks the question of whether the U.S. is geographically unable to perceive global warming. Of course, I’m in Minnesota in January and my lake is still liquid, which suggests the answer is “No.”

Liquid!! There are still ducks on it!!


Not to mention: NYC was 70 degrees over the weekend; Detroit hasn’t seen any snow (except one day in October, and once a week or two ago); and Seattle has seen a (Seattle version of a) snow storm, as well as a windstorm that knocked out power for a few days in redmond and over a week for some of my friends farther out.


note to self: read linked article before posting comments.

Oh wait, it turns out that’s exactly the point of the article. There is so much anomalous weather going on in the US that you can’t call it all global warming. (i.e. people might think – “how is ‘warming’ the cause of snow and wind storms in seattle, plus huge amounts of snow dumping on colorado?)

So maybe the NYT article is right, global warming is breaking our weather too, but in ways that don’t lead people to think it’s global warming.

Didn’t anyone see The Day After Tomorrow?! 🙂

It’s in the twenties here in the Bay Area. And it’s in the 50s in New York. This is so whacked.

I switched to saying Climate Change a while ago.

The trouble with “climate change,” or at least its reception, is that it appears to be value-neutral, lacking a sense of urgency. The strength of “global warming,” even if it doesn’t accurately describe what’s happening everywhere, is the imagery: clouds of greenhouse gases surrounding the earth, preventing heat from escaping, slowly cooking and choking the planet like a hot oven.

Also, at least as I understand it, the truly calamitous effects of the current climatic changes are those associated with warming. It certainly doesn’t matter to the polar bears in Alaska that there have been snow storms in Seattle.

What needs to happen now, if the emphasis is on climate change rather than universally on global warming, is that we need to find the appropriate apocalyptic imagery. With Hurricane Katrina, An Inconvenient Truthand to a lesser extent with movies like The Day After Tomorrow, you have the roots of that.

The flat-earth deniers of man-made global warming make it seem like it’s a matter of the thermometer ticking a few degrees, like it does every hundred years regardless of what we do. It needs to be clear. In the absence of a change in our behavior, we and every living thing we have ever known are going to die.

Indeed, the warming of the cold spots (see: Greenland; Antarctica) is the real threat. The other stuff is window dressing.

I learned that from Al Gore’s documentary, and I like his phrase best: climate crisis.

The salient image for me was of one of those massive glaciers melting, dumping its freshwater bounty into the Gulf Stream — and grinding it to a halt. (I leave the details of this process to your Googling.) Maybe we should say our ecosystem’s heart is in danger of stopping?

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