end of the world

Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world

We must take a sensible approach to climate change. Adopting one that does not cause thoughts of the end of the world. In this post I argue that if we don’t want to instill hopeless we need to take care in the narrative that we use.

The end of the world; in just over a decade

The world could end in 12 years. This apocalyptic scenario will result in the death of billions. The collapse of civilisation has begun. These are only a few of the dire warnings made lately by climate activists. But while we need to address climate change, I’m not so sure:

Doomsday scenarios may generate clicks and sell advertisements, but they always fail to convey that science is nuanced. Arbitrary “time left to apocalypse” predictions are not evidence based and the story of climate change doesn’t fit neatly into brief bullet points competing for your attention in today’s saturated media environment. Stoking panic and fear offers a false narrative that can overwhelm readers, leading to inaction and hopelessness.

Would climate change cause an immediate collapse of civilisation? Or trigger the extinction of the human race? If there is one sure way to alienate people its to state the impact of climate change in an exaggerated, hyperbolic way. It not only alienates people but leads to a divide into two sharply contrasting groups or sets of opinions or beliefs. It is therefore self-defeating.

Using technology and adopting the middle ground

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts a 2 – 3 feet rise in sea levels by 2100. no doubt a major problem, but would it really result in the immediate end of all human civilisation? Take the Netherlands for example:

About one third of the Netherlands lies below sea level, with the lowest point being 22 feet (6.7 meters) below sea level. Meanwhile, the highest point is about a thousand feet above sea level. So why isn’t the country underwater right now? Well, there is an extensive system in place that keeps the country safe. Through a complex system of dikes, pumps and sand dunes along the coast, the Netherlands stays above water. In fact, it has one of the most sophisticated anti-flood systems in place anywhere in the world.

The point it, the country adapted to living below sea level centuries ago. Not only that, but flood defencce technology continues to progress. Yes, of course, climate change has many worrying effects. It could reduce crop yields. Plus it may threaten many endangered species. And of course we must take urgent action to address it. But please let’s put it into perspective. We must be able to find a sweet spot in the middle ground between the complete final destruction of the world and complete denial.

What do you think? Why not leave a comment below?

Photo by Jason Wong on Unsplash

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