The challenge of climate change to humanism
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The challenge of climate change to humanism



Can humanism and humanity deal with climate change?

Can humanism and humanity deal with climate change?



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The challenge of climate change to humanism Presentation Transcript

  • 1. The challenge of climate change to Humanism Presented by Rick Heller
  • 2. The Fake Debate
    • 49 percent of U.S. public think the Earth is getting warming due to human activity
    • 84 percent of U.S. scientists think the Earth is getting warming due to human activity
    • Source:
    • (
  • 3. Consensus
    • 97 percent of climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the view that human activity is causing climate change. (sample = 1,372)
    • Source:
  • 4. The Real Debate: How Bad?
    • NASA's James Hansen sees tipping points leading to climate catastrophe.
    • Other scientists see little evidence of tipping points, forsee linear degradation
  • 5. The Data
    • 1.4 degree F warming over last century
    • Sea level rose about 1/2 foot in 20th century
    • Changes are less than the natural variability or "noise" so not obvious to naked eye.
    • Source: DiMento and Doughman, Climate Change, MIT Press 2007
  • 6. Greenhouse Gases
    • CO2 280 ppm before industrial era
    • 380 ppm now and rising
    • CO2 will retain solar radiation until planet reaches equilibrium at higher temperature
  • 7. What’s a Humanist to do?
    • For poor nations, pollute now, pay consequences later may be rational.
    • For rich nations, lack of action, even denial appears unreasonable.
    • Humanists are familiar with unreason as a common human cognitive-behavioral pattern.
  • 8. Actions
    • Pass carbon cap or tax – DOA in DC
    • Green R & D - outside scope of Humanism
    • Voluntary changes to consumer behavior
  • 9. Personal Responsibility
    • Humanism is about how we act
    • Recycling & Conservation
    • Simplicity
    • But how can we make this appealing?
  • 10.
    • The “consumer treadmill” is like an addiction
    • Through mindfulness, show how to e xperience a sense of wonder and richness in everyday life
    • With so much, feel less need to acquire more
    • “ Greenest” product is the one that isn’t made.
  • 11. Rachel Carson The Sense of Wonder
    • ...becoming receptive to what lies all around you. It is learning again to use your eyes, ears, nostrils, and finger tips, opening up the disused channels of sensory impression…One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, “What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?”
  • 12. Seeking volunteers
    • Q/A and usability testing
    • Web or Video skills
    • Staffing May 21 Climate ActionFest
  • 13. Questions
    • Is new technology all we need?
    • Can humanism inspire secular people to rise above material self-interest?
    • Are people rational enough to deal with an “invisible” problem like climate change?
    • Does humanism have a misplaced faith in humanity?
    • What behavioral changes can we reasonably encourage?