Week 13 – Stoknes’ WWTAWWTNTAGW + Environmental News Item

Thoughts on What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming:

“We know that climate science facts are getting more solidly documented and disturbing year by year. We also know that most people either don’t believe in or do not act upon those facts. It forces the simple question: Why?

I think that people are so despondent to climate change for the same reasons we have discussed other times in this class: it doesn’t seem to be directly affecting anyone as of now, so what is the point of caring? We don’t go about our daily lives feeling impending doom of climate change. We hear the facts, we’re told that we should be worried, but it doesn’t have a direct impact on my life as of now, so who cares? I think this viewpoint is the common thought process of most people, and frankly, it’s a little disquieting. I’ve heard time and time again that the effects of climate change won’t be that detrimental until a hundred years from now, at which point the current generation will be dead so it won’t matter. But what about your kids’ lives? Grandchildren? Do they not matter? It’s disturbing, to say the least, that most people only care about themselves and not the future generations of humans to come.

This book generously answers this question in multiple ways. For starters, it’s difficult to convey information to people without sounding over-dramatic. Is it better to distill fear in the public and tell them that climate change is serious, or is it better to talk about climate change like it’s a casual topic? We have talked many times in this class about how climate change seems to pose as a problem for someone else to fix. If we treated climate change as a hazard, then perhaps more people would be willing to go to preventative measures to decrease the effects of climate change.

Overall I really liked this book. Stoknes brings up many valid points about climate change and how people handle this topic. I also think it’s interesting that he’s both a psychologist and an economist so we hear his perspective from two different fields as opposed to just one or the other. There is generally a bias that can result from being exclusively one profession over another so it seems interesting and beneficial to the reader that he’s both. I also think that his book provides simple, positive strategies for climate-friendly behavior, which is really beneficial to anyone from any background reading this book.

 

Environmental news item:

Should parents be allowed to use gene editing to determine the sexual orientation of their children?

New research from a genome-wide association study is providing insight into the biological substrate of sexual orientation. This could lead to the control of deciding sexual preferences of future children. While this may seem futuristic, many countries are already edging towards embracing gene editing as a tool for altering the human blueprint. Japan, for instance, is set to provide a legal basis for gene editing in embryos as early as 2019. With no law prohibiting selection against or for specific sexual preferences yet in place, it remains possible that prospective parents may one day be able to choose or alter a future child’s sexual preferences. Pretty messed up, huh?

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