Bridging the Divide

From the reading, I have gathered that there are a few different ideas at play when considering weather or not to vote to include or not to include the Anthropocene in our geological calendar. The first argument is based strictly on science: What does the scientific data tell us about the significance of our planet’s geological change over the past century compared to the change we have seen over the last millennia and what might we see in the very near future?  The other approach to making this difficult decision has slightly more social implications: Should we go forth and add the Anthropocene to the geological calendar as a means of limiting the damage we are currently doing to our planet? The argument here is that perhaps having a specific name for the period we are in now as a result of out environmental destruction will act as a wake up call for us as an international community and hopefully change our ways of living. ““What I hope,” he says, “is that the term ‘Anthropocene’ will be a warning to the world.””(Paul Crutzen via Elizabeth Kolbert pp. 4) Personally, the former example doesn’t serve to benefit humanity in any way and seems far too pessimistic. I know that if it were up to me, I would pick the latter. I would vote to usher in the new era of the Anthropocene in hopes that it will motivate people to accept the reality of global climate change due to the more hopeful nature of this option.

Reading the piece by Kahan gave me a lot to think about. I agree with him in that much of what goes into the belief in climate change is that of personal community and the beliefs of those who surround you. When a portion of the population, and in some cases it seems the majority of the population, doesn’t believe the climate is changing, it can be very difficult to accomplish anything in terms of legislation. When Dr. Whitlock approaches these issues in her research, she comes from an angle of compassion. She speaks to farmers in a way that makes them feel heard and respected. She accomplishes this by asking them how she can best help them by offering to research information that is directly relevant to their personal situation as farmers. This illustrates what I believe to be the best way to bridge this gap. It has to come from a place of genuine care for the well being of others. If not, all that will follow is hatred and contempt for the other side which will lead to even more division in environmental consciousness.