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Where Do We Go from Here?

By: Dr. Ricky Rood, 10:07 PM GMT on August 04, 2016

Where Do We Go from Here?

So as climate-change blogger, I am searching for a mission, perhaps a theme. Jeff and Bob and Chris do a magnificent job on what is going on in the world of climate and weather. I have always tried to bring a perspective, here, that is different from other blogs. My nature is to collect ideas together and to look for different paths into a subject. Of course, I have my moments of appealing contrariness and quaint idiosyncrasies. My literary moments. Obscure references to dinosaur rock.

A few blogs ago, I claimed that I was entering some sort of climate-change transition. I had been writing for years that “new normal,” did not make sense. Namely, we were not making a transition from an old normal to a new normal. There. We have arrived.

The new normal is change, relentless directional change. It was, however, the inevitability of several feet of sea level rise that made me think that it is time for a new message. Today, what came to mind was Judith Viorst’s book Necessary Losses. A theme of the book is that there are losses that we must face in order to grow, to move forward. Our ability to thrive will require us to embrace, realize, and, perhaps, mourn losses that are both individual and collective.

So where do we go from here? I am soliciting input. What is the role, a worthwhile vision for this blog and its blogger? A niche? Something interesting, something useful. Also, I am considering a project, which is anchored around a bound and printed (and electronic) collection of some of my more interesting blogs. Are there any that come to mind? Threads? Themes?

Enough. There is no doubt that the 2015 El Niño has stretched the fabric of climate change. There are a few tears in the fabric: the ice sheet melt in the Greenland and Antarctica, Arctic sea ice, the greening of the North, and sea-level rise. The last two years have also seen the growth of outstanding reporting and analysis. We seem to have passed some societal tipping point, past which, we don’t fumble around so much with whether or not climate change causes this or that event, whether or not climate change is real. Perhaps, it is the general loss of credibility of many Republican politicians, but incredulity of climate change by politicians seems, increasingly, a sign of an unserious politician. November might seal it all, be a time when we, in the U.S., no longer participate in the anxiety, the disruption, the stalling of climate-change denying. (Vote well, dear reader.)

Here are some of the excellent resources recently available:

1) The annual State of the Climate reports have evolved into an incredible resource. The enviro-art of the cover is excellent. The document includes hundreds of authors from many countries and many disciplines. There is high attention to data and data provenance. This document gives a synthesis view and review of the climate of the previous year. With the amplification of El Niño, 2015 was by many measures outside the bounds of history. The document is dispassionate, and it places the year in context. In this year’s summary, there is a special focus on ecological impacts. There is no need for me to look around and try to collect what is important; it is done. The abstracts, summaries, and figures are effective.

2) I have mentioned the end times a couple of times (From the Heartland, It Seemed a Little Apocalyptic, We Have No Choice, but to Carry On). Usually, when there is fire and flood. If you dig back into my archives, which I am, today, personally, not prepared to do, you find me talking about beliefs, and perhaps, the intractability of beliefs. That if your position on climate change is anchored in belief, well, science-based evidence is not likely to change that belief. Basically, such people have a disbelief in the scientific method. In Global Warming, God and the “End Times”, it is interesting to see those associated with, perhaps, denial, interpreting climate change through an apocalyptic lens. If this is where you are at, then the idea of taking ownership and responsibility for the future of our planet is an idea so alien to be incomprehensible.

3) There are many guides and websites on how to talk to climate-change deniers. Here is an article specifically on managing trolls. It is an article that seems to attract trolls. There is a strategy for using moderation for managing trolls. There is even a clever acronym, TROLL: Teamwork, Rules, Oversight, Light Touch, Log. Read the article to learn more. There is also information on practices for sites without moderators. (Thank you WU moderators!) There is an hour and 22 minute seminar as well. (That’s a youtube link. Please don’t break the blog.)

Indeed, looking around, the resources that are available are at times overwhelming. Some of them are excellent. Seriously, where should this blog go in the future?

Figure 1: Cover of 2015 State of the Climate

Climate Change

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.