Day 4 into the UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen, and my initial caption for my posting today was going to be “Living in the Age of Stupid”. But as I began to write, I remembered that this is the Weekend of Action for a Real Deal around the globe. Mothers, fathers, daughters, sons and grandparents around the world will be gathering en masse to send our leaders a message that the world needs real, binding, and ambitious agreement. While there are incredibly diverse ways of being human, we have this in common. We are all someone’s son or daughter. Many of us also have children of our own. My daughters are why I can’t give in to pessimism and hopelessness. They are worth fighting for.
Recently, I’ve heard skeptics argue that “fear mongering” regarding the dire planetary emergency we are in should set off warning bells. Fear = untruth seems to be their argument. As a parent, I know when fear is a healthy thing to employ. When my daughters were younger, if one of them went too near a hot stove, I didn’t stand back and point out to her that 1% of people who have touched a hot stove believe that it isn’t harmful. If one of them went near the edge of a precipitous cliff, I didn’t stand back and engage her in debate about the odds of surviving a fall.
California’s Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger explained it like this:
“If 98 doctors say my son is ill and needs medication and two say ‘No, he doesn’t, he is fine,’ I will go with the 98. It’s common sense—the same with climate change. We go with the majority, the large majority.”