Peer Pressure – Ruining Lives and the Planet at the Same Time

Part 1

First off, throughout the Summer of 2018, I travelled throughout Montana talking to different specialists in their fields. The main focus was climate change and we spent the time studying the Montana Climate Assessment in order to gain a better perspective on how to deal with climate change. While meeting with several public officials we discussed the importance of colstrip. We talked about how when other energy sources fail, or can not operate at full speed colstrip easily fulfills the states energy needs. So, I think it is important to note (such as Malm did) that even if we did adopt the Anthropocene epoch to the geological time scale, what will it do? If we were to try to remove the use of fossil fuels and coal from our daily lives, we’re screwed! It would simply be another pretty title that we could throw money towards in the hopes of finding new ways to fulfill our energy needs (that are ultimately insignificant when compared to their non-renewable counterparts). If I was on the ICS I would be very conflicted on how to vote. Ultimately however, I would look at it from an economic aspect and likely vote no until renewable energy was more effective and it would not hurt the country to ban coal energy.

Part 2:

I think this affects our ability to develop solutions to climate change because the uninformed tend to be the loudest. It is easier to deny the existence of something (such as God) then to blindly believe in it. So, those who are uninformed will (loudly) deny the existence of climate change which will influence those around them (the weak minded who constantly need to conform). Which will ultimately make the majority of the country against an active solution, therefore making policy implementation nearly impossible.

Dr. Whitlock tried to deal with the issue by bringing together the discussion by inviting experts from the field, and relating it specifically to Montana. Because of this, they were able to create the Montana Climate Assessment which revolutionized the availability of climate information. This is because it is accessible to all (from farmers to bankers) and focuses purely on Montana which offers a unique perspective and truly brings it home.

Personally, I would follow a path similar to Dr. Whitlock. I would bring together several groups that specialize in different industries in order to get an intelligent discussion going. I would invite several students from different political parties to the discussion, then I would encourage them to continue the discussion with their peers. Furthermore, I would encourage the specialists and students to write op-ed’s in order to publish them for outside parties to see. Hopefully, between the specialists and the students, the discussion will quickly spread throughout the state and country and we can begin to include the general public in monthly seminars held throughout the state.

Thank you for reading!

1 thought on “Peer Pressure – Ruining Lives and the Planet at the Same Time”

  1. Kayleen – first off, it’s super cool that you have first hand experience with topic, and it sounds like you took a very similar route to Dr. Whitlock’s, so it’s definitely cool to hear. I could not agree that the adoption of the Anthropocene as a new section of the time scale would have little impact beyond a few online news articles and having to update geology textbooks. I think the focus should be less on what words we can throw around and more on taking action to develop clean energy or environmental health solutions. I also really like your point that the least educated people tend to fall on the most extreme ends of the spectrum, and also tend to be the most vocal, unfortunately. I believe people are very invested in their homelands, us Montanans especially, so the most effective way to bring people together is to show equal representation of the population in terms of politics on a topic (like climate) that is relatable to all.

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