In other hiatus news, David Roberts is taking a year off being a climate pundit, which is mixed news. We’ll miss his voice, but he seems to need the break.
The good news 1) Who knows but he might come up with some creative new approach while he’s away. 2) I have a year in which I can have an objective loftier than being the second most cogent commentator on the climate policy situation.
His farewell article is well worth a read. Right here, I’m just going to steal his conclusion, which as David so often manages, says something I believe to be true better than I could say it.
Will unexpected, rapid changes in coming decades be good or bad, positive or negative? That depends on millions of individual choices made in the interim. Some of those choices, if they happen at just the right moment, could be just the perturbations that spark cascading changes in social, economic, or technological systems. Some of those choices, in other words, will be incredibly significant.
Which ones? That we cannot know. It could be any of them, any time. Precisely because we cannot know — because any one of our choices might be the proverbial butterfly’s wings — we must act. We must take advantage of every affordance, grasp every opportunity. We don’t know when history might unlock the door, so we have no choice but to keep pushing on it.
And really, what else are we going to do?
Remember, there is no “too late” here, no “game over” — it will be a tragedy to shoot past 2 degrees to 3, but 4 is worse than 3, and 5 is worse than 4. Being unprepared for any of those will be much worse than being prepared. The future always forks; there are always better and worse paths ahead. There’s always a difference to be made.
When we ask for hope, then, I think we’re just asking for fellowship. The weight of climate change, like any weight, is easier to bear with others. And if there’s anything I’ve learned in these last 10 years, it’s that there are many, many others. They are out there, men and women of extraordinary imagination, courage, and perseverance, pouring themselves into this fight for a better future.
You are not alone. And as long as you are not alone, there is always hope.