New Video: At Town Halls – Citizens Confronting Climate Denial

May 10, 2017

If you’ve been watching the news lately, you know that all over America, Congressional and Senate representatives are being grilled on the unpopular components of the Donald Trump program.

Having observed organizing meetings for local “Resistance” movement groups, I’ve been struck by the emphasis that citizen’s are putting on climate change. It confirms my observation, and a considerable amount of polling data, that the climate issue has been pulsing just below the surface for a large number of citizens – but often does not show up in traditional polling, because of the way questions are usually framed.

The climate issue is not processed in the same frame as “Do I have a job?”, “Can I make my rent next month?”, and “Is my family protected by Health insurance?”. These are issues with a particular kind of urgency, that pop right to mind at pollsters prompting.

For most folks, the issue of climate and environment is an over-arching, back ground issue, that people like to feel is being handled at a level above the average person’s pay grade – it goes to core values related to how we feel about our children, our responsibility to the future, and what is the core, ground level, moral responsibility for a human being.

In the Trump era, there is no longer any assurance that people at the top have any care at all for what we previously assumed were just basic humanitarian values – such as preserving the fundamental life-support system of the planet.  People get it now, that if this job is going to get done, we have to get hands-on and do it ourselves.

Obviously events of the last day take things to a new level.

Below, a short, illuminating talk by pollster Ed Maibach, recorded in December, not long after the election, confirms what I’ve been thinking.

UPDATE: From Katharine Hayhoe’s twitter feed.



16 Responses to “New Video: At Town Halls – Citizens Confronting Climate Denial”

  1. Ron Voisin Says:

    At 2:50 into the video we see a disturbing view when the conditions are just right, of a ram poisoning the planet with CO2 exhalation – disgusting.

    • Torsten Says:

      Ron cannot make the connection between Peter’s text – both spoken and spelled out – and the accompanying image. Peter said to the twit on the stage:

      “You said that – correctly – that we all exhale carbon dioxide. However, remember, – that carbon is carbon that has been with us in historical time – in oceans, in forests, moving thru animals, and moving thru the biosphere. But, when we burn coal, oil and gas, we’re pulling ancient sequestered carbon that has been out of the system for hundreds of millions of years, and putting it up into the atmosphere in the blink of geological eye.”

      Ron, that was really quite a stupid thing you wrote.

      • Ron Voisin Says:

        The sequestered carbon we are emitting is the very carbon that is so greening the Earth.

        BTW, more than half of the naturally released carbon flux is of the “long time sequestered” variety.

        • The sequestered carbon we are emitting is the very carbon that is so greening the Earth.

          50+ million years ago when atmospheric CO2 levels were much higher than they are now, the Earth was much likely “greener” — but much of the Earth was also so hot and humid that a person caught outside would die of heat stroke in a matter of hours.

          BTW, more than half of the naturally released carbon flux is of the “long time sequestered” variety.

          Two questions:

          What is your definition of “long time sequestered”?

          What are the natural sources of this “long time sequestered” carbon?

        • Torsten Says:

          Cite some real research Ron. Until then, I’ll assume you made this up.

    • Lionel Smith Says:

      …of a ram poisoning the planet with CO2 exhalation – disgusting.

      There is no need for you to copy the poor beast now is there. Shame on you.

    • Mike Male Says:

      When you and your ilk speak we get the pollution double whammy.. CO2 and bullshit.

  2. lracine Says:

    Good job Peter! Nod of approval and admiration!

    The second video regarding the “Climate Change in the American Mind: November 2016” Survey raised my eyebrows a bit… (when ever a person uses a term like “American Exceptionalism” I start thinking Donald Trump….. and I am being sold a line of crap????).

    Here is a link to the PDF copy of the actual survey

    I draw your attention to the “Key findings” and suggest people read it and than listen to what Maibach has to say…..

    Draw your own conclusion…..

  3. mboli Says:

    I keep using control of water as an example. As a society we put quite a bit of effort into it. Municipalities and states engage in hydrological projects. Almost every street in the US (in the civilized world) has water pipes and sewer pipes. Most of the inhabited area has been graded or moved in some way, there are drains and water courses and water features. Big water treatment plants dot the landscape. Building codes dictate that every habitable structure has bathrooms, with sinks for hand washing. We train our young to use the bathrooms and to wash their hands. Many places of business are inspected to this end. State and local agencies sample water for composition and contaminants. Government publish flood maps. The control of water appears in a lot of different government budgets and tax bills and bond issues and what-have-you.

    A lot of us would die of waterborne disease or flooded out without it, it is a major governmental function addressed at all levels of government as well as individual action. We couldn’t possibly address these problems individually.

    If you put “control of water” on a survey of voter issues and concerns for governmental action I’d guess it won’t rank very high. But you know darn well they don’t want to get sick from cholera or get flooded out.

    My thinking is that climate change is like that. There has to be a way to frame addressing climate change just like addressing water or roads or a host of other issues where society organizes collectively at all levels, but we don’t think about it on a daily basis.

    Those water and sewer pipes in every street weren’t always there. They showed up about a hundred years ago in the US.

    The alarmists try to scare the population that addressing climate change will upend their lives, or destroy their standard of living, or take away their cars, or condemn the third world to poverty, or bring the Agenda 21 helicopters to control our lives. What a lot of the alarmist arguments have in common is trying to frame addressing climate change as the opposite of addressing water.

    I’d sort of like it if climate change *didn’t* have to rise to the top of the public’s list of concerns. We could probably do it better if it became something that just slowly integrated into our lives. Electrical generating stations convert over to using renewables, building codes start requiring better insulation and solar panels and geothermal heating (according to geography), stuff like that. Without making a huge deal about it.

    • Ron Voisin Says:

      Guess what…water falls from the renewable skies.

    • mboli Says:

      To be a bit more clear: a main point is that addressing climate change is a much smaller and easier job than addressing fecal matter in the water,
      We need to do it, our own waste is killing us. We need to make systematic changes to a lot of things large and small, you can’t address climate change at the individual level. We are going to install different and physically larger generating stations, just like we installed water treatment facilities. We are going somewhat change the way transportation works. Houses are going to look a little different because they will be energy efficient. We will be doing agriculture a little differently.
      But we are not going to rearrange the landscape to get the CO2 to flow correctly. We are not going to dig up every street in the civilized world to install carbon dioxide drainage pipes to every structure. We are not going to add a new GHG waste-removal room into every home and train our children how to use it.
      Those were huge changes that our 100-150 year ago ancestors did, in order to adapt to an environmental threat. But they did it, and we couldn’t have modern population densities and modern standard of living and modern life expectancy without it. And hardly anybody thinks about it today.
      Climate change is a similar type of enterprise, the threat is huge and needed adaptations are pervasive. But the changes in our lives will be a *smaller* than what they went through. A lot smaller.
      It *shouldn’t* be a big honking political conflict. Somehow the “cholera deniers” didn’t hold up the works. People mostly accepted that these were the changes that would improve life, it would be somewhat disruptive, and passed the bond issues and built the infrastructure and adapted to new building codes and did it.
      Addressing climate change should be like that, only less disruptive.

  4. You made my day Peter. We need to clone you and send you to all these public meetings. It’s good to see these Republican worms squirm a little!

  5. Brilliant work. For those of us watching Trump Universe unfold from other parts of the world, with more shock yet profound amusement than over a cat spewing in slow motion over a brides wedding dress, these town hall meetings are a relief to see.

    Good stuff. Great work.

  6. GREAT video, Peter! And your contribution to the town hall meeting was extremely impressive.

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