Global Warming Notes

29: From a biological perspective, success of an individual is measured in terms of fitness. Stoknes brings up how, from an evolutionary perspective, self interest in terms of producing offspring leads to making short-term choices that affect family. I think you could also flip that around and try to have people think about long-term effects, since it would maximize an individual’s fitness if future generations were taken care of.

The way I understood one of the major problems with addressing climate change was that it seems to be connected to procrastination on a large scale; we tend to focus on alleviating more tangible and immediate worries and completing tasks that give us instant gratification before shifting our focus to seemingly far away problems.

35: Here is where to find more NOAA annual climate facts and some interesting environmental news.

67: I never really considered whether our behaviors shape our attitudes or our attitudes shape our behaviors until reading this section. I could connect with this section by considering how I haven’t eaten meat since reading Eating Animals; my past behavior determined my eating choices and attitudes until the motives of my past behavior were questioned, and deciding to fully commit to a lifestyle change like that requires recognizing perceived flaws in past behavior, which are hard to confront.

77-79: Stoknes makes a good point that “We cannot be conscious about every aspect of our lives” (79), which relates to the Ted Talk “How Healthy Living Nearly Killed Me“.

Is denial and self-deception part of what differentiates animals and humans?

91: Do we have a duty to be social citizens? Sometimes those pushes in change in personal behavior that Stoken talks about aren’t necessarily seen as “main solutions” but rather as morals. At that point, it might become overwhelming to live by one’s morals and still have energy left over to be vocal about social change. This goes back to the idea that we cannot be conscious about every aspect of our lives; it is a lot to take on to be conscious about every aspect of others’ lives at the same time.

99-103: I think Stoknes does a good job in this sections of giving readers realistic ways of how to enter the climate conversation and engage the public. Stoknes uses a simple application of ethos (find a credible spokesperson), pathos (spread your personal story, develop a sense of power through community) and logos (make people aware about the consensus that global warming is real) to form an effective climate message. He also gives fun examples of public engagement that can be used to reach people who don’t really respond to facts presented by laboratory scientists.

131: Stoknes gives some interesting examples of green nudges. What are some examples used on our campus?

142: I appreciated how Stoknes addresses stewardship associated with Christianity rather than focusing on the dominion viewpoint like many of the previous readings have!

161: Here is an interesting article that explains how to actually estimate an index of biodiversity and talks about the implementation of the Nature Index in Norway.

185-189: The whole third part of this book was unexpected, for me. I didn’t realize how common despair over environmental change is, and I liked that Stoknes pointed out that it’s important to acknowledge the grief rather than make it something that should not be discussed publicly.

204-215: The more spiritual/ philosophical elements of part three were also unexpected, but refreshing since modern views have caused a shift from valuing emotions to valuing scientific knowledge. I think it’s easier to be passionate about issues that I feel personally connected with, and viewing the air as this “…sacred, intelligently creative being” (210) that is in a continuum with humans is an interesting way to foster that sense of connection. I also like how Stoknes offers the perspective that creation wasn’t just a onetime event. The world is being continuously created: “We’re co-creating the world in any now” (214). Stoknes thinks humans will lose “…something central and powerful – a sense of the sacred that can be critical for motivating us in the highly needed transformation, that makes climate into something very near, no longer distant, abstract, technical, chemical.” (215) In the Interfaith house we often discuss how spirituality, for some of our house members, is very much a sense of feeling connected to Earth. Since many people aren’t responding to strict scientific facts, it might be interesting to see if this idea of connection changes their viewpoints.

219: Are you an optimist, pessimist, realist or something in between, and how does this affect your attitude toward climate change? I found it hard to relate to passive and active skepticism because to me, the passive skepticism he described is in itself optimistic since you are believing that a challenge will be overcome no matter what, and the active skeptic who goes after something even when there seems to be no hope seems like it requires optimism. I view myself as an optimist, but not really in the sense that Stoknes defined optimists as people believing that by putting effort in good will come out or that good will just happen. I don’t think optimism is something you “cling” to; for me, it’s more about trust and faith (which are grounded things) and finding the good that comes from bad situations, even if the only good thing is that you made it through a challenge.


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