While the pandemic is different in form and origin from climate change, many of its social, economic, political and international consequences — and the fact of significant science denial –are similar to those projected for climate change:
— global impact.
— vast unemployment and social need.
— disruption of food supply chains in both the developed and underdeveloped world, and possibility of huge refugee migrations, including across national borders.
— interruption and rearrangement of global supply chains for millions of non-food products.
— exacerbation of income inequality, sectarian persecution, nationalistic fervor.
— challenges to national and international interests… everywhere.
And, perhaps most importantly, an American population half of which denies the existence of both the coronavirus and climate change, or at least of humankind’s impact on climate change. Can that half of the population be brought to accept scientific consensus and support climate action?
A sampling of topics for possible discussion:
What is the net difference in impact between a world awash in oil too cheap to cover production costs and transportation, and a world that must cease using oil in order to save humanity?
Closer to home, what is the net difference in impact between a lobster industry with no lobsters to catch and a lobster industry with plenty of lobsters but with no customers? What is the net difference in impact between a Grand Lake Stream village with water too warm for trout and a Grand Lake Stream with plenty of fish but no visiting “sports” for local businesses to serve?
As discussed in the attached article, and in light of the Administration’s overturn of nearly 100 environmental protections, will the pandemic generate a new recognition of the climate threat and a call to action, or reduce it to a remote, seemingly far-in-the-future possibility?
One exemplar of these implications is the refugee situation, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, broadly writ. The global community and teetering regional governments are already stressed by sustaining a few million refugees including a million refugees on the volatile Syria-Jordan border. Add to that a deadly pandemic. How then will we handle the recently forecast multiple Billions of refugees resulting from climate change? (Note: A single billion refugees equals a million new refugees … each week … for 20 years….)
This colloquy is a follow-on to a successful winter 2020 colloquy hosted by Hans Carlson, and ongoing weekly discussions among several participants via Zoom.
As this is a dynamic, current and rapidly developing topic, fast outpacing publishers’ calendars, and with a new Administration, we will rely primarily on contemporaneous materials, primarily articles, and look to our traditionally well read colloquy participants to bring to the discussion, both in advance of the colloquy and between sessions, materials from their wide range of readings.
In addition, we will use as base resources two succinct works on social, political and environmental action: The Future We Choose, by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, both key players in the Paris Climate Accord; and Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century.
From The New York Times:
The battle over how to spend recovery funds — to quickly restore the old economy or invest in a greener one — will define the post-pandemic world.
Sign me up!