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Jared Diamond Speaks To The Young On Environmental Challenges

“Guns, Germs and Steel” author Jared Diamond on how a rising generation may handle a world of environmental challenge.

Author Jared Diamond in the WBUR Studios. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

Author Jared Diamond in the WBUR Studios. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

Starkest warnings yet this week from the UN panel charged with forecasting the coming impact of climate change.  It’s going to be bad, they said. Flooding, thirst, heat, food shortage.  And we are not prepared.  Jared Diamond is listening.  He’s famously written the stories of civilizations that have fallen before in environmental collapse.  Written “Guns, Germs and Steel,” and more.  Now he’s thinking about the young, and how they will grapple with the world this century’s environment will create.  This hour On Point:  Jared Diamond and the world our young will inherit.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Jared Diamond, professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. An adaptation of his 1991 book “The Third Chimpanzee” by Rebecca Stefoff is just out, titled, “The Third Chimpanzee For Young People: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal.” Also author of “Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies,” “Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail or Succeed” and “The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies?

From Tom’s Reading List

Grist: Jared Diamond’s Collapse traces the fates of societies to their treatment of the environment – “Although it’s the chapter on Greenland that has thus far won the most acclaim, Diamond’s treatment of contemporary Hispaniola might be more relevant to the complexities of today’s world. Two countries share the island — the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Their resources, climate, religion, and history as colonies are markedly similar. And yet, their current situations couldn’t be more divergent.”

MSNBC: Millennials: We care more about the environment — “Millennials say they are more focused on the environment than their parents’ generation, 76% to 24%, according to a new poll. The poll – commissioned by the Clinton Global Initiative and Microsoft, and provided exclusively to msnbc – found that 66% of millennials say there is ‘solid evidence’ the earth is getting warmer, and 75% of those respondents say human activity is responsible for it.”

The Lavin Blog: Sustainability vs Destruction: Jared Diamond’s Keynote On Climate Change –”This horse-race-as-climate-change metaphor, he explains, is not a normal race, either. The competing forces are moving at rapidly accelerating paces rather than moving together at a similar speed. While the forces of sustainability are getting stronger (with more big businesses, government agencies, and ordinary citizens taking climate change seriously), so too are the forces of destruction (population growth and the first signs of dramatic environmental change). ”

Read An Excerpt Of “The Third Chimpanzee For  Young People” by Jared Diamond

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  • wauch

    Jared Diamond delivers the necessary tough love that others in his position stay away from including population control. I attended a presentation he gave at the 2013 Ecological Society of America Conference in Minneapolis last year and it was mind bending. His version of extreme environmentalism is one I adhere to but one that requires honesty from our regulators, politicians, and corporations. It definetly demands that we not continue with an economy requiring “the US consumer” to prop up GDP to the tune of 72% and heading towards 80%. Germany has a model more appropriate for a resource limited world. Thinking that fracking will save us is just the latest canard.

    • brettearle

      Do you really believe that the necessary change in the ethos of the American Public–to move away from the quest for abundance and acquisition, so as to embrace austerity and discipline–is available to the general Mindset of our country’s citizens?

      While it may be our only chance, I’d like to know where I can go to be convinced that this is actually going to happen.

      I wish I could go somewhere to see this potential–but I do not think that it’s out there.

      • geraldfnord

        If we shift our acquisitiveness to software (and improved hardware for an immersive experience), I think we can pull it off—people love feeling equal or superior to others, it’s very satisfying, and in our society one does that by acquiring either many things or ‘the right things’…and there’s no reason why most of those goods can’t be software.

        The nice part of that would be that once ‘mere’ physical necessities are out of the status game, people will be less upset by making sure that the poor are physically o.k.—most of the arguments against it I’ve heard boil-down to ‘oh, we are giving money to The Unworthy!’, usually for melanin-rich values of Unworthy, but not entirely. (I heard one person argue that ‘Honey Boo-Boo’ is one long propaganda piece designed to help the wealthier of us spiritually cut the white poor loose, and though I don’t believe that this were an intent….)

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        I hear what you are saying. But the opposite of what we are doing is not austerity. We need to be smart about what we do – we can have much better lives by paying attention to everything we do – and eliminate *all* waste.

        Nothing in nature goes to waste, so we just need to follow the model of nature.

        • brettearle

          Neil–

          I wish I shared your viewpoint. I do.

          But I think you’re paying Lip Service to the inevitable, and the entrenched
          vices, of Human Nature.

          I realize that I can be categorized as a cynical alarmist–but many great civilizations, eventually fall apart.

          Just ask Jared Diamond.

          • Don_B1

            I also worry that your worries are realistic.

            What I can say though is that if the current set of Tea/Republicans gain control in Washington, the 99% will be given an austerity that will far exceed any austerity that moving to climate-friendly sources of energy would possibly inflict.

            Unless you consider the serfdom of the Middle Ages better than having your own home, free to move as you desire and speak as you desire. Many will simply not be able to support their families and will die of disease and neglect. Consider that “47%” without enough income to afford to eat and buy any kind of shelter except a jail cell, with the predatory action of poorly paid guards taking their life’s frustrations out on them.

          • brettearle

            Thanks for your reply, Don.

            But I think you’re makin’ my point.

            What’s more a forced Austerity, by political Tea-Party oppression, would, I think, result in garbled and mutant results.

            I think that, Change by Tyranny, rather than by Consciousness, will normally produce collision-course effects

      • sickofthechit

        Look within is where you start. Then do it, then enlist a friend or two, repeat. charles a. bowsher

        • brettearle

          I think the resolution and solution are MUCH more complex than that.

  • ensteph

    Through social media to an exponential
    power together with the creativity of Gaming and an array of positive
    reinforcer’s for pushing the rock up the mountain, ie. cleaning up
    the mess, the future belongs to our children. If governments continue
    to work the will of a few the future resembles more of dystopian
    landscape then one of slow regeneration. Like the credo of some of
    our own indigenous tribes all movement in political decision making
    must accommodate seven generations and begin Now! If not it reminds
    me of the old bumper sticker- The One Who Dies With the Most Toys
    Wins- but then of course we all lose.

  • andrewgarrett

    Here are some ideas: Let’s stop storing fossil fuel waste in the atmosphere and use more nuclear instead, which kills far fewer humans than fossil fuels, both absolutely and relative to energy produced (yes, I’ve heard of Chernobyl). Let’s use more GM crops to increase yields and thus preserve some wilderness areas on a planet that will soon have 10 billion people.

    Opps, my suggestions run counter to the “progressive” canon. Progressives in Germany, Japan, and New England have turned off nuclear plants to use more coal, thus killing more humans than they would have had they continued using nuclear, and hastening human-cause climate change. And so-called progressives pretend there is a scientific debate about the safety of GM crops – where as with evolution, there is absolutely no scientific debate. So my fellow progressives say, “GM crops are an abomination! Humanity doesn’t need drought-resistant wheat or salt-tolerant rice! All our problems will be solved if we eat more kale!”

    So basically, business as usual: by 2050 we will be using about 80 percent of the earth’s surface for food production and still using a lot of fossil fuels. And my fellow progressives will say it’s all conservatives’ fault.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      What do we do with the nuclear waste we already have?

      Renewable energy is capable of providing far more energy than we need, and it is the only energy source that will last as long as the sun and the earth.

      • nj_v2

        “Renewable energy is capable of providing far more energy than we need,”

        You keep posting this as if it were established fact.

        In some theoretical sense, yes the amount of sunlight falling on the planet is enough, but, in practical terms, the issues with capturing, storing, and utilizing it are significant. And any technology, even the so-called “sustainable” ones, have unintended, negative ones.

        I don’t think it’s possible to maintain our current infrastructure by substituting “sustainable” energy sources.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          Wind power alone could provide ~7X as much energy as we need over the entire earth.

          The sunlight’s energy that strikes the earth in one day could power ALL of human needs for ~27 YEARS.

          • nj_v2

            Again, you post these statements based on theory, but you seem oblivious to the real-world issues of implementation.

            There aren’t enough ideal sites for the infrastructure for the devices to capture this energy, and there are the issues of moving the energy from production point to end use, the issues of materials and water use use to build and maintain these things, and the raft of unanticipated, unintended negative effects (windmill bird kills being just one example).

            Techno-fix magic bulletism is not a tenable solution.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            No, they are based on what we know we can do with existing technology.

            http://thesolutionsproject.org/

            A mix of renewable energy sources is robust and totally capable of paying for itself in very short order.

          • nj_v2

            I’ll look at that, but i’m still skeptical.

        • Don_B1

          Another less than 10% improvement in photovoltaics will make them competitive with all but fracked natural gas, and the environmental costs of that, if applied to its cost at the well-head would make even that near the cost of today’s PV. But to install PV today about half the cost is in getting the permits and actually installing it, not the expense of making the PV sheets. Streamlining the permit and roof construction design process can reduce that cost substantially.

          Similar statements can be made for wind.

          Many coal plants today are mixing in renewables to meet renewable requirements but also to reduce the CO2 and other pollution reduction requirements without impacting the costs of the power supplied.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Wind power based on land is already less expensive that any other energy source.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Then why does it need a subsidy?

          • Don_B1

            For one thing, ALL the fossil fuel sources are subsidized, so being competitive with something subsidized requires similar treatment.

            But the most important thing is that for many cases, people are going to have to change the home heating system or car or appliance, and the cost advantage has to be enough to incentivize them to make the change. And everyone making the necessary changes will benefit everyone more than the subsidies will cost.

          • nj_v2

            Cost per energy unit generated isn’t the only, or, perhaps, main issue.

            I don’t see how it’s possible for current or projected “renewable” technologies can be scaled up to the point where they can provide all the current and projected energy needs. Which is what most people advocating these technologies seem to be assuming.

            Too many issues and problems.

            It’s far too common to take the current, wasteful, societal infrastructure of developed countries as a given, and simply imagine powering it with new, magic, “sustainable” sources.

            What no one wants to deal with is how to re-design and re-build our existing mess of a system to make it genuinely efficient and less wasteful.

            That’s what we should be spending our energy resources—intellectual and otherwise—to solve.

          • Don_B1

            The is no question that half of the cut in CO2 emissions can be achieved with efficiency improvements, and those should be begun immediately (yesterday!)

            But for many reasons, from geography of needs to the necessary replacement of older plants now, before efficiency can get up much steam, the new energy sources do need to come from sustainable sources to the maximum possible.

    • nj_v2

      SImple-minded, intellectually bereft post.

      Fails to account for the entire range of issues presented by nuclear power (short-term: expense, safety; long-term: expense, safety, lack of demonstrably affordable/effective alternative to current desgns).

      Also misrepresents potential and real GMO consequences, some of which have already been documented.

      Come back when you want to have a serious discussion.

    • creaker

      GM is like everything else – it can be used for good – or for profit. Golden rice, designed to improve people’s health, licensed so that everyone except the factory farms can use their crops for future seed, has kind of floundered over the past 10 years – no profit. GM which has introduced possible health concerns has been embraced for big profits – and Monsanto pushed their own bill into law so they can’t be held liable for the consequences (why would they need this for “safe” technology?)

  • hellokitty0580

    The hard truth is that Americans need to radically change the way we live. We need to conserve more in every aspect of our lives, change our consume-with-no-limits-mindset, start getting serious about alternative sources of energy, change the way we produce food, and be more cognizant of other life forms we are decimating such as the bee. But so many people are just unaware and that ignorance is, frankly, what makes our economy work. Our economic growth is based on exponential consumption, but resources are finite. Therefore, our growth is finite. We can’t go on living as if resources are not. What we need is a revolution, a complete cultural change. But we’re ostriches with our head stuck in the sand, quite greedy and wanting to maintain the status quo.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    It is bad enough what we are doing to the earth, if we are ignorant of it. But we are *willfully ignoring* what we are doing – which makes it far worse.

    Our children will curse us!

  • gretchen123

    Global warming, as understood by our 8 and 6 year old Montessori daughters:
    Conversation between Mia and Olivia while they were taking a shower:
    “Olivia? What is global global warming?”
    Then Olivia explained it to her.
    Mia said “you mean the ice caps are going to melt and the earth is going to be under water?!
    Olivia “don’t worry Mia , it will be a long long time before that happens”
    Mia “that sounds interesting . I think I will look it up in the library so I can learn more about it”

    • gretchen123

      This was in response to them taking a short shower instead of a long bath…. in order to not waste as much water

  • brettearle

    Who on the RIGHT, in this Forum, have the GUTS to call up the show and challenge Jared Diamond?

    Who?

    • nj_v2

      They could post something from the Wall Street Journal op ed page.

      • brettearle

        Let them call up and be cut down to shreds.

        They’re cowards.

        Have you noticed that not ONE of them has answered me YET?

        • Don_B1

          We will probably read here about their “attempts” to call in and their arguments not being “acceptable” to the discussion, and thus “screened out,” whether they actually call or not.

          • brettearle

            Thank you MUCH for your anticipatory pre-emptives..

            Please notice the cowering reaction to my confrontation, above, to one of them–who was TOO defensive to think of your shrewd strategies.

  • hellokitty0580

    As a millennial with lots of millennial friends, I would like change. I would like a more ecologically respectful society. I’d like to make those changes, recycle more, conserve more, and plant my own food. Unfortunately, I don’t feel enabled by my society or culture to do these things. For instance, at my home, my town won’t collect our building’s recycling because of the size of our building. And my building won’t pay the extra money required to recycle. I don’t think towns should be able to single out certain buildings this way. Another change is that when I turn off a light in my apartment, it could turn off all the power to that room. That’s a simple technological change that we don’t implement in building in our country. Or toilets that conserve water through flushing. Additionally, as I mentioned above, I would LOVE to have my own food to grow or go to local butchers. But there aren’t community gardens nearby nor many local butchers anymore where I can get local meat that is healthier and more sustainable. I work full time an hour away from my home for not a lot of money. I have loans I need to pay back, so I can’t afford to take a pay cut in order to work within the community more regularly. Its frustrating because I do see the trajectory we are on and it hurts me. But I don’t feel empowered by my community or government. I went to school for international relations and learned a lot about environmental justice, sustainability, and climate change. I would love more than anything to put those ideals and philosophies into action, but I don’t feel I have the resources (time or money) to do it.

    • hellokitty0580

      My point is with that whole long thing, is that I think millennials are aware of what awaits them. Those of us lucky enough to get good educations are made aware on college campuses, etc. We’re full of ideas and vim and vigor. But you get out into the real world and you find lots of people aren’t aware and don’t really care to be made aware. And then you have a federal government that’s a mess. Can you really go to your representatives to make a change? Not really. Then we’re saddled with loans and an incredibly competitive job market. That environmental idealism gets quashed, at least I feel that it has for me.

      • Don_B1

        Going individually is too often demoralizing and frustrating. That is why getting together either via the old-fashioned public posting or undoubtedly via social networking on the Internet.

        With some friends, create a hashtag or Facebook page and recruit a larger group to descend on your elected representatives. So often they think that young people will not vote, but gather your voting statistics and show them differently! This is not something that you can achieve overnight, so the sooner it is started, the less damage will have been done.

    • Don_B1

      Maybe when you go to your grocery store you can post a letter asking others to support messages to the grocery management to offer more local produce (Stop&Shop does offer such produce and is increasing it), and also post messages encouraging local politicians to support the environmentally protecting steps you have listed here.

      Can you drop off your (separated) trash at a town recycling station? Post a letter asking others to sign it with you.

      This will require some time, but it hopefully is less than other ways and may, by letting others who think like you, encourage the growth of a movement which can change how your town faces its responsibilities.

    • sickofthechit

      Write letters to the editor, volunteer somewhere just a few hours a month, make connections. You are only powerless if you believe it or powerful if you believe it, and act accordingly. charles a. bowsher Love your kitty/bunny

  • Gourdbanjo

    Your last show, about campaign finance, and this one are directly related. Fossil fuel companies have the money to keep the government from passing effective environmental regulation. I also see parallels in recent news stories. Logging and homebuilding in a well-known landslide area. Ten years of denial about a faulty ignition switch. In this country we don’t prevent problems. We let them happen and deal with the consequences.

  • Bigtruck

    Elites, Jared says your gates are not high enough. You cant say you were not warned. Don’t believe it read a history book.

    • hennorama

      Bigtruck — adding a moat would increase the effective height of the gates and walls. Just requires a bit more engineering and expense.

  • Coastghost

    Dear Kids: isn’t it just darling that you’re being invited back to the comforts of the nineteenth century! How can this not become the Steampunk Century now? (I can smell the horses again already: dig up the parking lots and put out the pastures.)

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      Who is saying anything like this?

      • Coastghost

        I’m not taking grave liberties with my extrapolation.

        • Don_B1

          Just huge and unjustified “liberties”!

          • Coastghost

            I do hope you are encountering no difficulty in keeping your spectacles supplied with batteries. Energy blackouts could be normal within five years.

    • brettearle

      Do you have the GUTS to call up and challenge Jared Diamond?

      • Coastghost

        I prefer relying on an earnest producer to convey my comments or queries from this forum, thank you.

        • brettearle

          It’s an utter DODGE.

          You don’t have the GUTS.

          • Coastghost

            Piff poof puff poff and peff. And pft.

          • brettearle

            Which PROVES my point.

            Cowardice, among the RIGHT,

            P…R…E…V….A….I….L…S

          • Coastghost

            Elaborate reliance on self-evidences.
            I don’t speak for or on behalf of “the Right”, and I certainly have no aggregate capability of voice to speak for or on behalf of “the Right”.
            That said, I entertain no compulsive love and affection for the enviromaniac community or its progressive apologists.
            I live discomfortably and uncomfortably in a Zwischenwelt all my own: I exhibit the courage necessary to take no side.
            Thank you.

          • brettearle

            The DODGE continues,

            Ladies and Gentleman.

            NO GUTS, no gain.

          • Coastghost

            What DO you have against steampunk, anyway? I detect a severe aesthetic reaction . . . .

          • brettearle

            Pseudo-intellectual Gobbledygook NEVER trumps,

            Cowardice.

          • Coastghost

            I see you are a partisan of the intellectual courage attending ad hominem argumentation, greetings and salutations.

          • brettearle

            Case Closed.

            I think that’s clear….

          • Coastghost

            I think your sense of timing differs a bit, too. Your premature claim unfairly precludes the continued and requisite indictment of Progress itself, insofar as earlier iterations of Progress have given us this global problem.
            Progress itself would seem to merit global indictment for its distinct contributions, I don’t think its prosecution has begun properly. (And you can tell Jared Diamond I said so, if you can catch up with him your courageous self.)

          • brettearle

            Coastghost’s need to have the last word trumps his lack of essential Smarts.

          • Coastghost

            A magisterial pronouncement altogether, brettearle, commendations.

          • Coastghost

            By the way, now that you raise it:
            what specific valor attends the bleating of “Progress” in this age of anthropogenic climate change?
            “Progress” itself acquires all the coloration of a culprit, someone could begin to argue: Progress itself dropped anthropogenic climate change flat and heavy on our laps. (Antique conceptions of Progress, mind you, but minds fully captivated and inspired by Progress indeed gave us a planet with an impaired or imperiled atmosphere.
            Progress, Progress! However can we thank you enough?)

          • brettearle

            Civilizations die because they don’t anticipate problems–regardless of whether the road to the Future was paved with good intentions.

            Is the Point.

          • Coastghost

            Quite obviously, my not calling the studio was no matter of courage or cowardice, simply a matter of timing: Jared Diamond was in far too much of a hurry for me to get up with, he had a plane to catch, after all.

  • Nate

    Congress is one of the main bottlenecks in getting legitimate environmental legislation passed that could have a true impact on the environment positively.

  • Blue_To_Shoe

    I wonder what happened to so many Americans…just WANTING to NOT HEAR what one doesn’t want to hear, anymore?!!!!!

    We used to be the Country/People that relished challenges like this – not hiding from them!!!

    Look at all those phonies that many Americans have empowered to tell them what they want to here, and not necessarily the truth!

    I remember seeing a 60 minutes report on Global Climate Change in which a climatologist, whom had more expertise in that field than literally anyone else walking the planet, was interviewed on the subject.

    This guy was well beyond the PHD stage. Not enough letters in the alphabet to give him.

    Then…I see opposing viewpoints from some so-called Conservative columnists – whom have NO EXPEREIENCE whatsoever in the subject – like a Rich Lowry, (whom was probably just discussing another issue entirely), being given the same weight of opinion as the aforementioned expert whom has devoted his entire life to climate and climate trends!!!

    I mean…what happened…?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • hellokitty0580

      We got bloated with stuff and celebrity. We’re self-medicating ourselves on stuff. Corporations like it that way. It’s what makes them money. And they pay the government to maintain the status quo.

    • sickofthechit

      Money, greed, selfishness, and self-delusion are what happened. charles a. bowsher

  • creaker

    The next big collapse will be from major governments finding out they can’t come to blows without collapsing the global economy.

    Assured mutual destruction is now not only atomic, it’s economic.

  • Scott B

    We’re lucky that we have many Millennials that see the earth as a much smaller, and more connected, place.

    The lack of action lays mostly on the Republican party, and people like the Koch bros, that deny global warming
    to further their own ends (read “profit”). The jury’s been in on this
    for years, but we have a whole party not only disseminating disinformation, but truly believing their own bull$hit.

  • David White

    I’m interested in the intersection between the concentration of wealth and the willingness of the public to take on climate change. We seemed a lot more willing to support cap and trade before the Great Recession. NOw more of us are worried about economic matters and don’t have the room in our lives or the security to address these global issues. Alternatively, an economy that supports the “burgeoning middle class” would have more willingness to take on climate change.

    • hellokitty0580

      The irony is that caring for our environment IS an economic problem. Without a healthy environment, we don’t have an economy that can be sustained. Everything we have comes from the earth. If we ruin it, our economy will come tumbling down as well.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Right, the economy is a subset of the environment.

    • Nate

      Some of the global climate change issues will require new infrastructures to multiple areas. Energy Star House building, New energy creators like Wind-farming, Building fortified sand bars in areas of increased sea-level rise, etc. to name a few. These changes will require workers to complete these projects and therefore is a win-win for the economy and environment.

  • Coastghost

    The world becomes qualitatively bigger once you are obliged to confront it on horseback or once you’re compelled to traverse it as a pedestrian. (Every flight Jared Diamond takes impairs the atmosphere, until or unless we restore zeppelins and commercial balloon traffic to the status they once rose to.)

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      Why do you insist on saying something that no one has proposed? Electric trains or electric cars can easily provide rapid long distance transport.

      • Coastghost

        They require odious amounts of power generation. Unless controlled nuclear fusion comes to pass, the very generation of electricity will remain at least as problematic as nuclear power generation itself. Hydro-electric looks tenable, but all fuel-powered turbine power generations looks extremely suspicious. I anticipate lower rates of power generation over the long term.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          No they do not require very much energy at all. A train is about 4X more efficient than a truck, and nothing is more efficient than an electric motor. They are about 94-95% efficient.

          Electric cars are about 4X more efficient than typical ICE cars.

          • Coastghost

            We can wonder in that case why Jared Diamond doesn’t fly by train.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            We need to improve our train system.

          • nj_v2

            By itself, “efficiency” is not a very useful metric to get us very far in evaluating transport modes.

            And, obviously, evaluations of environmental effects would depend a whole lot on how the energy is produced.

            Some useful research here:

            http://www.templetons.com/brad/transit-myth.html

            Is green U.S. mass transit a big myth?

          • sickofthechit

            Green us mass transit is just not profitable to the right people nor would it generate the money quickly enough for them to support it.

        • sickofthechit

          I oppose coal as an energy source as it is currently mined and burned. But don’t you ever compare nuclear to any other energy source. It creates poisons that will have to be stored safely(?) for thousands of years. Nuclear energy as it is currently generated should be off the table. period.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    As Mr. Diamond said, we are causing climate change at this time – so we can *stop* causing it. And we already know how to do virtually everything we are doing with fossil fuels, with renewable energy instead.

    That’s the easy part of our response to climate change.

    The hard part will be dealing with the changes required for water and food and clothing. We know how to do this, too – but we have to start, and learn and do it as quickly as possible.

  • J__o__h__n

    Not having four kids helps the environment too.

  • Scott B

    The hypocrisy of some, like Rupert Murdock and the Koch bros, is appalling. They deny and rail against the fact of climate change publicly, and fight any attempt that might cut into their profit through media, financing of “think tanks” (and I use “think” loosely), as well as PACs and organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Yet they have businesses that they KNOW are directly effected by even the current amount climate change, and will be further effected by more warming, and have had to readjust those businesses to compensate for it.

    • sickofthechit

      They don’t have to readjust their businesses, just their prices.

      • Scott B

        Untrue. They can’t just raise prices and fix the problem, because the problem isn’t a cost issue.

        If they can’t get, or grow, the materials, or crops, because the climate had made the products they need harder to access, or grow, they have to adjust the whole way they get, or grow, them and prices will rise because of increased costs involved to get, or grow, and ship them. All due to having to go further to access the materials/crops, or find, or develop, a replacement crop, and build infrastructure such as irrigation and access roads.

        Just upping the cost of, say, maple syrup doesn’t solve the problem that the warmer winters effecting the timing of when the sap runs (which requires trees to be dormant, which doesn’t happen with constant warmer temps), and when the trees bloom, and that the pollinators (bees, birds,bugs) aren’t all in sync anymore, and threaten the trees, the pollinators, and the syrup industry.

  • Scott B

    Listening to the caller that said climate change is a con to wring taxes from the public makes me wish that news media would do it’s job and explain to the public that “weather” is not “climate”, and stop treating climate change as if it’s up for valid scientific debate by giving those denying it a soapbox.

    I’d just about give a body part to hear a major news outlet say they weren’t going to waste any more time to climate change deniers. (I’ll also add “truthers” and “birthers” to my wish list)

  • hellokitty0580

    Interestingly, Germany and Japan have some of the best environmentally policies in the world today.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Actually no. Germany shut down their nuclear plants and had to replace it with coal.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        This is incorrect. They are producing more electricity from renewable energy, even than they had originally planned.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          What is incorrect?
          They didn’t shut down nuclear plants?
          And as a result they didn’t increase reliance on coal?

          Both of those statements are facts — not theory.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Germany is increasing their use of renewable energy, and they are reducing their use of nuclear and fossil fuels.

            Their plan to be 100% renewable electricity by 2050 is right on track, if not sooner.

          • Air_Handler

            Actually, Germany now imports a lot of nuclear energy from France and Czech Republic, but it looks like they’ll be using more hydro-power from Austria soon.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    Whether or not one “believes” in anthropogenic climate change – it is still a fact.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Fact? Maybe a theory. There is no proof. A computer model does not constitute ‘proof’.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        The data is proof. Reality is proof.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Data? Well the data (RSS) shows 17 years 5 months with no warming despite a 15% increase in CO2 emissions. That is data. It is an ‘inconvenient’ truth.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            This is bunk. The climate has continued to warm – all the data show this. The deep oceans has continued to warm, and the long term trend is still warming.

          • sickofthechit

            Well then, I guess we should increase our CO2 emissions.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I’m holding my breath right now and doing my part.

      • Nate

        Willful ignorance @WorriedfortheCountry:disqus.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          No. I actually look at the science and the data. Much of the alarmism is propaganda. We can only speculate on the motivation.

          • Nate

            Looking at the data is one thing, interpreting it is another. I am heart-pressed to find that you still do not accept the trends of the data and how strongly the science community supports these trends.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I look very carefully at the data AND what the scientific community has to say. I also look at who is saying it and how they say it.

            The data says we are in a long term warming trend — since the end of the little ice age. The rate of warming has not increased with the increasing CO2 emissions after 1950. The data doesn’t prove or disprove the AGW hypothesis. My position is science is immature and there is much they don’t understand.

          • dweebus

            No, Worried, the data shows that the warming trend is occurring at a rate 10x faster than other previous warming events in the paleo-climatic record. And who exactly are the deniers? Why the likes of Anthony Watts. And where do they get their money? Why the Koch brothers, oil magnates. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

            As well, most of the warming in the last decade has gone into the oceans, leading to the cockamamie theories of a “pause” or a “cooling” trend by the deniers. Incidentally, this is probably why the trigger on the hydrate gun was pulled.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Gee, you are a sucker for misinformation about Watts. So sad. And btw – Watts doesn’t censor alarmists on his site like SKS and realclimate censor skeptics who show up to debate the science.

            Watts is completely transparent on his blog. Did you know Watts has solar panels on his home and drives an electric car?

            http://wattsupwiththat.com/about-wuwt/faqs/

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            The mad rush to find the “missing heat” landed in the deep, deep ocean is thin gruel. Funny how the heat sinks and the ARGO sensors didn’t detect it on the way by.

            “Pause” is a warmist term. It implies that the warming will continue. A more accurate description is a ‘plateau’. After the ‘plateau’ the temperature will either increase or decrease. If it increases, then we can look back and call it a pause.

          • nj_v2

            [[ The rate of warming has not increased with the increasing CO2 emissions after 1950. ]]

            This is pure bullcrap. Desperation now relies on outright lies.

            http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2011-temps.html

            (Note second illustration, Global Temperature Difference)

            http://www.timeline2012.net/prepare/possible-earth-events/extreme-storms

            Note charts (fourth and fifth illustrations): “Global Temperatures” and “Hemispheric Temperature Changes”

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Sorry but the data is the data. Compare 1910-1940. And ’75-’98. Virtually identical.
            I thought hadcrut4 was the ‘gold’ standard.

            http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut4/data/current/web_figures/hadcrut4_annual_global.png

            And you can see the inflection point of CO2 increases occurs AFTER 1950 here:

            http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/global.html

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            If that isn’t clear enough for you this graph of hadcrut4 breaks out two 45 year periods side by side to make it even more clear:

            http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1905/to:1950/offset:0.4/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1969/to:2014/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1905/to:1950/trend/offset:0.4/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1969/to:2014/trend

          • nj_v2

            Oh, look, Mr. Science posted a graph!

            And this is supposed to prove, what?

            Here, i’ll preempt your anticipated nonsense reply…

            http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-early-20th-century-advanced.htm

            What caused early 20th Century warming?

            [[ The "skeptic" logic behind this argument is usually that if the early 20th Century warming was as large as the late century warming, and was natural, then the current warmingcould be natural as well (note that we've discussed the mid-century cooling elsewhere).

            Ultimately while natural forcings can account for much of the early 20th Century warming, humans played a role as well. Additionally, the early century warming wasn't as large or rapid as the late century warming, to which these natural factors did not contribute in any significant amount.

            But more importantly, we don't assume that the current warming is caused by humans because it's "unprecedented" or faster and larger than previous natural warming events. We know the current warming is anthropogenic because that's what the physical evidence. ]]

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I really give you credit for trying but there is a major problem with the link.

            “We know the current warming is anthropogenic because that’s what the physical evidence.”

            Well, they actually don’t point to physical evidence because there is none, instead they point to the model. Therein lies the problem — incomplete modeling.

            Furthermore:

            “Additionally, the early century warming wasn’t as large or rapid as the late century warming”

            False!!! According to hadcrut4 the warming IS almost identical for the early 45 year period and the later 45 year period.

            This doesn’t falsify the CO2 hypothesis nor does it prove it. We just don’t know.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Is Dr. Diamond wrong?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            About what?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            About anthropogenic climate change.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            If he is an alarmist — then I don’t agree with alarmism. But I’m hesitant to give a blanket disagreement.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            You are an ostrich, then.

          • Don_B1

            You only look at the real science, if you do, in order to deny it with bunkum from the science denying sites.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I agree one should be skeptical of the skeptics. But where we differ I also believe we should be skeptical of the warmists. I use honesty of the uncertainty in the science as one gauge on how to weight the results.

            That is why I give low marks to propaganda sites like thinkprogress and to some extent sks.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Don,

            I highly recommend Dr. Judith Curry’s blog. She spends a lot of time on communicating the positives and negatives in the current state of climate science. She also open her blog up to polite debate. It is a great place to learn things unless you just want to cheerlead for a certain outcome.

            http://judithcurry.com/2014/03/18/aaas-what-we-know/

          • nj_v2

            You wouldn’t know “science” if you stepped in it.

            The National Climate Assessment will be open for public comment soon. Go tell them where they’re wrong. I’m sure you can inform them of the “science” so they’ll see the light.

            http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/01/11/1438421/climate-silence-draft-climate-assessment-9-15f-warming-over-most-of-us/

            [[ The Assessment, put together by dozens of the country’s top climate experts, makes clear that if we stay anywhere near our current emissions path, we are headed towards a devastating 9°F to 15°F warming over most of the United States (this century), with ever-worsening extreme weather, heat waves, deluges and droughts. As the report notes “generally, wet [areas] get wetter and dry get drier.” Future generations will be wishing for the boring “moist” and “cool” days of 2012 (when they aren’t cursing our names). ]]

            (excerpt)

      • nj_v2

        Yeah, like the theory of gravity.

        Go jump off a tall building and test the model.

        Let us know how it goes.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Silly.

          • nj_v2

            No more or less silly than most of the prattle you generate here.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            We have no proof that gravity exists. We see *something* at work, but we cannot prove it, and we don’t really know how it works.

            And yet we accept that it exists.

            Climate change is a fact, as well. And we understand how it works, and we can prove it by testing it.

            There is no question that we are experiencing anthropogenic climate change.

            No question.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Hey Neil, we can agree on something. Climate change exists. It has always existed. We are in a slow warming trend since the end of the little ice age. I think we can agree on that.

            Here is where we differ. There is nothing to be alarmed about. It was warmer in the MWP, the Roman warm period and the Holocene mid warming period. Hey, they even grew wine grapes in what is now Great Britain. They can’t do that now.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            That’s great. You are missing the main point, however.

            Humans. Are. Causing. Climate. Change. This. Time.

            That is as certain as it can be. All the data show it.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I understand that is the theory. However, you are missing one point — there is NO data that shows CO2 has caused the recent warming. None. Zip. Nada. It is the models that show CO2 caused the warming. Yes, those same models that have failed to predict future warming.

            Here is hint: look for the disclosure of uncertainty.

          • nj_v2

            This just gets more bizarre. Life is interesting, if somewhat stressful, here on Planet Earth. Stop by sometime.

            We’ve empirically understood for a long time (Since Tyndall over 150 years ago) the mechanism by which certain atmospheric create a “greenhouse” effect.

            We know the role of specific gasses in this mechanism.

            We know that the planet would not be habitable without a finely tuned biosphere which includes the thermodynamic function of the atmosphere.

            We know that carbon dioxide has increased by nearly 50% in the last 150 or so years.

            We know that this increase exactly corresponds with measured temperature increases.

            We know that most of the energy being trapped in the atmosphere exactly corresponds to the wavelength captured by carbon dioxide.

            We know that there are no other forcings which can account for the measured temperature anomalies.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I think most folks agree with the first half your post. However, the conclusions in the second half are not proven. The climate system is very complex and there are too many uncertainties and unknowns to draw those conclusions with certainty.

          • nj_v2

            A vague and typically disingenuous dodge. Or maybe you really believe what you post. Either way, the garbage you post isn’t worth bothering with any more.

            The science—the real science, not the politi-crap sludge you constantly refer to—always, always is expressed with nuance, with qualification, with uncertainty, with likelihood.

            That you don’t know and understand that makes you even more ignorant than you have been appearing.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            OK, if you agree about the uncertainty then I maybe we aren’t really that far apart.

            But I find that position at odds with the thinkprogress piece you posted. It is that kind of alarmism that I rail against.

            Another example is the IPCC policy statement claimed they now have 95% certainty but the actual science report that they released a month later told a completely different story.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            You have no blessed idea what ‘theory’ means, do you?

            We have direct evidence of it. The isotope of the additional carbon dioxide is carbon 12, and the proportion shows that it comes from old plants – from fossil fuels. Also, the level of oxygen in the atmosphere confirms this.

            That is direct physical evidence that humans burning fossil fuels is causing climate change.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Neil, yes the CO2 is increasing. Yes, there has been a long term trend of temp increase. There is some mild correlation between these data. That is not proof of causation.

  • nj_v2

    Mr. Diamond is correct that there needs to be a political component as part of any kind of environmental activism, but voting by itself is not nearly sufficient.

    The current structure of the corporate/political machine will rarely offer any candidate worth voting for. Work needs to be done on the system, and this is going to take a lot more effort than simpl showing up to vote.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    From Gaia:
    “Influential scientist, inventor, and environmentalist James Lovelock is having some second thoughts about the whole climate change thing. In the context of a doom-and-gloom United Nations climate science report, Lovelock, 94, described the environmental movement as becoming “a religion, and religions don’t worry too much about facts.” He added that “It’s just as silly to be a denier as it is to be a believer. You can’t be certain.””

    http://www.inquisitr.com/1198495/climate-change-believers-and-deniers-equally-silly-says-environmental-guru/

    • nj_v2

      Again, this handle continues on the path of profound intellectual disingenuousness.

      In any other context, right-wing climate denialists of this ilk would ridicule the very concept of Gaia, now, they cherry pick a bit of what Lovelock says, using Gaia hypothesis as adding credibility to their cherry-picking.

      Pathetic

      http://www.truthalyzer.com/?p=3373

      No, James Lovelock did NOT ‘bail out’ on climate change.

      In an April, 2012, interview with msnbc.com, Sir James Lovelock, who in years past had warned that climate change is “irreversible” and that “before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the arctic where the climate remains tolerable,” startled his interviewer by admitting he had been “alarmist” in making such statements. Reportedly, “he still thought that climate change was happening, but that its effects would be felt farther in the future than he previously thought.” The interviewer pointedly asked Lovelock if he was now a global warming skeptic. He responded, “I’m not a denier…. We will have global warming, but it’s been deferred a bit.”

      …Neither Lovelock nor the thousands of other climate scientists are bailing. They are simply recalibrating, based on the latest data. That’s what science is all about. At this point, the only real controversy among the great majority of scientists regarding climate change is, as Katherine Bagley puts it, “a matter of how bad and by when — not whether.”

      (excerpts)

      http://www.theguardian.com/science/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock-climate-change

      James Lovelock: Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        So you refute Lovelock’s recent comments by quoting him from 2012 or 2010? I’m surprised you didn’t play the senility card.

    • Don_B1

      Lovelock’s comment, as I pointed out in response to your post of basically this comment two or so days ago, Mr. Lovelock was talking about environmentalists, not specifically climate scientists, and I hate to inform you, they are NOT synonymous. Mr. Lovelock could easily be unhappy with some of the recent pushback on his Gaia hypothesis.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        OK. Alarmists, environmentalists, climate scientists — all part of the 97% consensus.

        “You can’t be certain”

        My desire is for the alarmists to be honest about the uncertainty. Because if they were honest they wouldn’t be alarmists.

        • Don_B1

          Yah, just keep distorting the issue, confusing the 97% of climate scientists with other activists of environmental or on other political issues.

          The real climate scientists are justifiably alarmed because they see the disruption of human civilization that will be the result of not making the correct decisions today to mitigate the consequences of continuing to add to the CO2 burden by burning fossil fuels.

          You have not shown an iota of interest in the real science other that to find some crackpot who has written some ignorant response that got focus-group tested as believable by a low-information innumerate observer here.

          Why is this? The typical climate science denier is totally wedded to the minimum government with the lowest taxes for the rich (don’t care about anyone else) regardless of the costs to the whole of society. No “my brother’s keeper” here. No Catholic doctrine of help for the poor as Jesus advised. So deniers just ignore the real facts for themselves and work to confuse all others so they don’t have to acknowledge those damning facts to their ideology.

          After all, remember Upton Sinclair’s famous observation: “It’s difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it” when you want to see why WftC and the other denier trolls here can never deal with climate science in any rational discussion but have to keep citing long-ago multiply-debunked attempts at providing rationales for ignoring the issue. Thus the fossil fuel industry can continue on a business-as-usual course that will let the ultimate costs of the climate disaster expand exponentially beyond the tipping point.

  • nj_v2

    [ Oh and just when will the deniers believe? ]

    They don’t need to believe. They can be run over.

    Things can be accomplished with relatively few people. Stuff gets done by the people who show up.

    The “religious right” in the 80s, and later the Teabaggers gained influence in the Recon party far beyond their actual numbers because they were smart about how they organized.

    They got involved locally, then regionally, taking control of local boards and commissions, local political precincts, etc. and built from there.

    Except for their inherent disorganization and attachment to single issues, there’s nothing to keep the progressive movement from doing the same thing.

  • sickofthechit

    Could someone please convince Bill McKibben of the error of his reasoning where he is calling on University students to pressure their Universities to divest themselves from their investments in fossil fuel and other companies. This is as wrongheaded a strategy as I have ever heard. As shareholders the students via their universities would at least have access to offer shareholder proposals to change things. Whose side is he on? charles a. bowsher

  • Coastghost

    Anthropogenic climate change can legitimately be seen as one of the enduring bequests of Progress to the humanity that authored its conception centuries ago — our brave humanity that authored both its sense of progress and the mechanisms for invoking or accelerating climatic change.
    Brilliant displays of reason and applied technology in all their articulate glory. (Wherever could philosophy have been parking itself all these years, decades, centuries?)
    We simply do not celebrate the many virtues attending mathematical thought often enough, so hoorah and hooray and cough, cough.

  • sickofthechit

    Dear Scribd or DISQUS,
    I just noticed the rating next to our names. My question is, when it says I have say 3,000 votes, is that a “net” figure or an overall figure? In other words does a negative vote cancel a positive or does it simply get rolled into the total? Anybody know? charles a. bowsher

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      I have no idea but congratulations on your 3000.

      I thought they eliminated down votes?

      I’ll give you another up vote right now.

  • John_Hamilton

    Ultimately the deciding factor in the debate about climate change will be what actually happens in the world. At this point real world events haven’t been enough to convince skeptics that the climate is changing, and changing in ways detrimental to life on the planet.

    What I have been saying to deaf ears since 1974 is that the exponential growth imperative of the mass industrial era is unsustainable, global climate change or no global climate change. The effects of continuous growth of economic output include changes in the climate, but also include depletion of aquatic life in the oceans and inland, poisoning of air and water, contamination of the food supply, a massive amount of soil erosion, a proliferation of cancer-causing consumer (and producer) products, and a breakdown in the social contract among members of society.

    An unsustainable system eventually reaches its limit. Ours is near that limit. For the ruling overstructure to maintain its protected stature it has to become more corrupt as the system approaches its limit of sustainability. Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision is a perfect example. The Chief Justice was a political operative in the effort to prevent a full recount of votes in Florida in the 2000 presidential election. He was rewarded for his efforts with the appointment as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and has consistently acted to ensure the primacy of the existing power structure.

    The irony of securing the stature of the ruling elite is that it hastens the day of its downfall. By doing nothing to change our economic system from its current imperative of exponential growth, the dominant ruling elite speeds up the process of system breakdown. Corruption may have short-term benefits for the few, but its long-term costs for the many can be catastrophic.

    As Professor Diamond has so eloquently observed, it is the young and future generations who will pay the price for today’s folly, and it is they who will bring about the changes that need to be made. The critical question is whether they will make the needed changes in time to prevent a drastic breakdown in the planet’s life support system – the ecosphere.

    We can hope for the best, but can do much to support the young right now. It is no accident that “Republicans” are doing whatever they can to destroy our public education system. Stopping them in their tracks is a good place to start.

    It should be noted that “Democrats” aren’t of much use either. Obama’s “Race to the Top” scheme is really just a corporate-friendly rehash of the “No Child Left Behind” silliness that it is supposed to replace. Indeed, the “Democrats” are a window-dressed version of the “Republicans,” as bought by corporate and Wall Street interests as are the “Republicans.” Their differences are like the feuds between organized crime “families.” Neither party cares a whit about the good of the country. What they care about most is the good of themselves. The good of the country matters to the degree that it serves them first. Such is the nature of the psychopath, and psychopaths make great politicians.

  • Coastghost

    The conditioning of children to the limitations and dangers posed by anthropogenic climate change should by all rights produce the least amount of stress, since the youngsters are so adaptable and all.
    For the 2014-2015 school year, in which case, let’s go ahead and cut all air conditioning and heating funding for all pre-K, kindergarten, and primary grade schools, public and private alike. The kids can begin to acclimate to prevailing conditions sooner rather than later, and why not?
    Garment technology can overcome all challenges posed by failed and discredited attempts at thermal regulation itself.
    Right?

    • nj_v2

      ^ The sophistic troll, a new category of trolling.

      • jefe68

        It’s astonishing, that’s one word for it.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      If the only thing we had to worry about from climate change was being too hot and taking off our clothes – then why would Dr. Diamond or anybody be concerned about it?

    • Don_B1

      Those children are not “being conditioned,” just apprised of what lies in store for the world they will have to live in if the fossil fuel industry continues on a business-as-usual trajectory.

      What would be despicable is the current attempt to place the inevitability of that business-as-usual trajectory. And the belittling of what the consequences of that trajectory are.

  • John_Hamilton

    Some older people are able to recognize the need for change, though existing within change might be problematic. I have been advocating a different perspective on human presence on this planet for decades. Now that I am retired, staying alive is a daily activity, no matter what the future brings.

    It is true that the most stubborn climate change deniers are people over fifty, and predominantly males. In the era in which we live the preeminence of males in social systems is consistent across the globe. Patriarchy, in which males predominate in social systems, is referred to as a condition of excessive yang energy in ancient Chinese terms. When out of balance this energy generates its opposite, yin.

    This is a good framework for looking at the current stalemate. Hate media such as Fox News are becoming less powerful every day due to the gradual dieoff of their audience. This is a problem for both “Democrats” and “Republicans,” because their corrupt approach to governance is also patriarchal in character. Younger voters are not so patient with the corruption and near-uselessness of our current assemblage of politicians.

    So stick around. Patriarchy will fight kicking and screaming, but it gets weaker every day. The process can be ugly, as we are seeing in Syria, Egypt, Ukraine and other places, but you can be sure that change is coming and can’t be stopped. Knowing this, you will be better able to find your place in helping the change along. Good luck. The world needs you, and there is so much that needs to be done. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yin_and_yang

  • crandle

    I don’t seem to recall any discussion of global climate change in the 1950s when car fuel mileage was sub double digit. What has changed? What has changed is the number of users. Would this even be an issue if we were at 1950s level of consumption? If the number of consumers were brought down by 1/2 through attrition, would that be better or worse for the planet? answer the question logically, (hint it’s yes or no). But we didn’t hear that argument at all today. Sad.

  • Young one

    To speak about the global collapse:
    What about the Cold War, Mutually assured destruction.
    We avoided the end of the world then.
    What is the human influence on global temp.
    What makes us so sure that we as humans have enough influence on nature to destroy the earth. The planet goes through thermal cycles, and this is the first apex of the curve the humans have had science and numbers to justify our influence.

    • sickofthechit

      We destroyed the water supplies in West Virginia with chemicals for cleaning coal. That is just the tipppy tip tip of the iceberg that is environmental destruction that we as humans are responsible for. charles a. bowsher

  • Jesus

    A lot of you, and Mr. Diamond as well, are saying things which sound correct and are almost the thing which needs to be said, but it seems people are afraid to say it, so I will say it simply.
    There are too many people on the planet. We need to reduce the population from 7 billion to about 4 billion and keep it there.
    Many, if not all, of the major global problems, such as climate change, poverty, overproduction and consumption, diseases, hunger, etc., can be solved or dramatically improved if we focus on that one superissue. I know it’s terrible, but it’s the truth. It has to happen, it has to happen very soon, or else when it happens on its own, it’s going to be apocalyptic.
    Listen to the crazy guy; it simple logic. If there is one child on earth who dies from hunger, something is not right.
    Watch WatsonElementary on YouTube.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Death Panels? Soylent Green? A modest proposal?

      The solutions are endless.

      • Jesus

        It’s more like a lottery which each country rolls out within its own nation. 43% randomly get the sleeping agent, the rest will again wake up in the morning. Could be you, could be me.

        • jefe68

          Don’t worry, God’s back from an extended business trip. I’m sure he’ll be in touch.
          Meanwhile there are plenty of earthly things to keep population in control, such as wars, typhoons, floods, tornados, earth quakes, droughts, disease and the like.

    • jscia2

      Whew, Jesus. It’s a good thing you’re on the “part of the [vague] solution” side. If you were a member of “part of the problem” side, you know, existing as 1 of 7 billion, you would have to contemplate martyrdom.

      • Jesus

        Martyrdom, yes. Of course it’s a terrible thing to contemplate, but when thousands upon thousands of children are dying constantly from simple things such as not having clean water, how is that acceptable as opposed to controlling the overall population and getting it to a level which is manageable? It’s not manageable now. And, yes, it’s vague, but no concrete idea is going to be very popular, but I do have one ‘sensible’ plan of action.

  • Michael Difani

    A new term for those who accept global warming and climate change are “Warmists” and I wish those out there who deny the reality of it form an international meeting and present proof that contradicts the many respected scientists at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the site at the U. of Oregon and at Woods Hole in Mass. Prof. Diamond is one of my favorite geographers and yes, I don’t agree with some of his points, but he sure struck the big time with his “Guns, Germs and Steel”! In 1968 a best seller at UCSD and at San Diego State Univ. was Prof. Paul Ehrlich and his “The Population Bomb” in which the world pop. was far less than now with almost 7.2 billion souls. “Nations” such as Haiti and many others have never accepted pop. control let alone even reading his book. The “MREs”–the Morally Repugnant Elites–who run these pathetic, disease ridden outposts don’t give a rats’ patootie for positive change.

  • Mason Austin Green

    Jared Diamond’s primary recommendation is to vote for change. It’s too bad the US Supreme Court has declared campaign finance reform null and void. The Court has all but guaranteed that money will rule politics for the foreseeable future; your vote will be worthless as a vehicle for prime change thanks to rulings made in Citizens United and McCutcheon v. FEC.

  • Peg Kennedy

    Young people, although they cannot vote yet, can call their senators, congresspeople, state and local representatives. Politicians represent ALL Americans – not only voters. Put your politicians on your family speed dial list – the whole family can participate.

    • ExcellentNews

      You must be writing from some alternate reality. Politicians in this universe represent the Koch brothers and their ilk.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 2, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks with Mark Wilson, event political speaker chairperson, with his wife Elain Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 4, 2012. (AP)

Nine weeks counting now to the midterm elections. We’ll look at the key races and the stakes.

Sep 2, 2014
Confederate spymaster Rose O'Neal Greenhow, pictured with her daughter "Little" Rose in Washington, D.C.'s Old Capitol Prison in 1862. (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

True stories of daring women during the Civil War. Best-selling author Karen Abbott shares their exploits in a new book: “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.”

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 1, 2014
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

One outspoken fan’s reluctant manifesto against football, and the big push to reform the game.

 
Sep 1, 2014
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Five Midterm 2014 Races To Watch
Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014

The five most interesting races of the 2014 midterm election cycle, per our panel of expert national political correspondents.

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Our Week In The Web: August 29, 2014
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

On hypothetical questions, Beyoncé and the unending flow of social media.

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Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

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