Self-titled “real ecologist,” Kveldulf Gunnar Larsson, gives himself a lofty task in The Alternative of Real Ecology1)Kveldulf Gunnar Larsson, The Alternative of Real Ecology (Germany: Solitude Books, 2016). when he attempts to critique ecology as it is presented today, environmentalism is it is practiced around the globe, and humanistic thought…all in a book that is self-styled as “a collection of thoughts […] not written to be taken seriously.”2)Larson, The Alternative of Real Ecology, 95, 266. Indeed, The Alternative of Real Ecology is a unique book insofar as it is, either intentionally or unintentionally, written in a quasi-Delezuoguttarian way by trying to do away with subjectivity both in the traditional, humanistic sense, and in the sense of being a book about something. Indeed, Larsson notes his book has no value in the traditional sense. “It has no scientific, academic or literary value. It was not written to entertain or make money. It has no educational value; it was not written to educate. It doesn’t even have any environmental value as it’s not an environmental book.”3)Ibid., 2. Unfortunately, the subsequent questions that arise from Larsson’s bold statements and radical project (e.g. ‘What am I reading?’ ‘Why am I reading this?’ ‘How ought I understand the human-‘nature’ relationship?’) receive little treatment apart from the repetition of slogans within the 260+ pages of the book. Furthermore, numerous editorial and stylistic errors hinder the reading of The Alternative of Real Ecology to the point that, not only does one become angry with the text itself, but the project as a whole is jeopardized. The subsequent review will be divided into three parts: substance, critique, and style; however, as we shall see, the nature of the project necessarily intertwines the three together.
About a month ago I attended the 2016 International Žižek Studies Conference and had the privileged of meeting some fantastic people. Additionally, and of more relevance to any readers of this post, I was awash in new ideas and new things to think about; some of which I am still processing to this day. This post, however, attempts to deal with an issue that was brought up in passing during a Q and A session during a panel. For context: I was in a panel where Dr. Gregor Campbell of the University of Guelph was presenting a paper and we finished before the allotted time ended (due largely to the other participant’s absence) allowing for an extensive Q and A session and discussion. During our conversation, Campbell said, in passing, something that caught my attention and which I am indebted to him for thinking of. Campbell mentioned how people who deny climate change (climate deniers) serve to motivate climate scientists to work harder to prove their theories. While this comment lasted all of maybe 30 seconds, I would like to briefly unpack it and see what implications it has, if true.
A photo of me at the conference. My phone’s camera flipped the image, but the card I’m holding says “Zizek.”
It always makes me sad when I have to write these posts again because it means that more and more public stupidity is on display, and this time it’s people in real power. Post November 4th midterm elections, the United States now has a slew of non-scientists in positions where scientific decisions are made. For example, the Chairman of the Environmental Committee is a fine individual who blatantly ignores all the evidence to the contrary.
In this short post, I just want to provide a brief update to the article I wrote a couple months ago called “Climate Denial and the Death of Rationality” because some new and very interesting data have come out that brings the hammer down even harder. So join me after the jump! Until then, enjoy some Colbert.
A little over a week ago Bill Nye (the Science Guy) was on CNN’s “Crossfire” segment where he “debated”, and I hesitate to use this word when describing the following people, pundit S. E. Cupp and the Heritage Foundation‘s Nicolas Loris on the impact that climate change has on our lives. Amidst Bill’s clearly superior understanding of climate science and Loris’ “>muh federalism” cries, Cupp stepped up and did make one interesting point when she said
[Y]ou can look at entitlement reform which will bankrupt this country long before climate change destroys us, heart disease kills 7 million a year worldwide, 870 million suffer from hunger; I want you to look me in the eye and tell me in good conscience that climate change is our most urgent, number one priority right now.
While I loved Bill’s response and her reaction, I feel like he could have run with it more. Specifically, climate change directly affects the root cause of each of those issues and solving climate change is a prerequisite to solving any of the issues Cupp brought up. You see, climate change really is our most urgent, number one priority because it will not only be a huge blow to the economies of the world due to flooding and relocation issues, but it will disrupt global food supplies due to crop failures and ocean acidification, and the increased temperatures will create higher outbreak rates for diseases. All these, which will be fleshed out below, are reasons why climate change is a prior question and answers the impacts of Cupp’s claims.
My aim in writing this is not to provide a comprehensive list of the impacts of climate change, rather to point out that climate change comes before every issues that Cupp claims is more important.
Unfortunately, despite all our scientific advances and supposed advances in rationality, there is still one lingering and debated issue…whether climate change is anthropogenic or not. If you’re a person who enjoys the Kochs or believes everything the CATO Institute tells you, this is directed towards you. In 2013 a study was completed by and authored by nine different scientists ranging from climate scientists at the University of Queensland to geological scientists at Memorial University of Newfoundland. The article, titled, “Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientiﬁc literature”, apart from being one of the best articles on climate science I have ever seen, without a doubt proves the human influence on the environment. Specifically, the authors, Cook et al., took over 10,000 peer-reviewed scientific articles published in journals examining climate science over the past 20 years and found that “papers rejecting the consensus on AGW…[make up]…a vanishingly small proportion of the published research” (Cook et al.). Specifically, the study found that literally less than 1% of all the papers published and studied rejected the anthropogenic thesis. When one churns the math (.007 * 11,944 papers = 83.6, rounded to 84), 84 out of the over 10,000 papers rejected the thesis that climate change is anthropogenic and, as per the study, that already amazingly small percentage is shrinking (Cook et al.).