Dear New Yorker:
Mr. Franzen makes an important point in his April 6 article “Carbon Capture.” We must steel ourselves from abandoning immediate conservation efforts for the sake of the global climate change tsunami rising ominously on the horizon. We live today, and we want to enjoy today the verdant richness of nature that still thrives, and that needs our help right now.
But his logic is flawed. We should save nature now not because all is lost, but because all is not lost. Mr. Franzen seems to have only black and white paint on his palette. Carelessly he paints a picture that polarizes people who are working near-term and long-term in support of one other. Our society has enough polarization without creating divides from within. This is an all-hands-on-deck time.
As a scientist I track climate science every day. Mr. Franzen’s climate Judgment Day is not a fait accompli. We have the technology to solve this problem, just not the social will. Not yet. 72% of American’s feel personally morally obligated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.1 Our deeds are lagging behind our words, but this pervasive sense of obligation is a good place to start. Glass 72% full.
Can we not work to save the world from climate Armageddon while also making the world worth saving? Yes we can. And we will.
Vaclav Havel once said “hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”
I’m all in.
John M. Hagan, Ph.D.
Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences
1 (Ipsos/Reuters 2015).