T Nation

Climate Change Anxiety Thread

That’s a lot of mights. I’d spend less time worrying about the mights. I might die in a car crash today, might become paralyzed from one, might lose an arm, might kill a kid in a car crash, etc.

But I still drove to work. It’s pretty hard to live if your terrorized by things that might happen.

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Cool, then let me swap out your fear of climate change with a more immediate problem of the moon wobble

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Scheiße… Shanghai is screwed… :sob:

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There are multiple things that contribute to the causes and degree of damage of such disasters.

The article I’ve posted above is just an example of poor government infrastructure leading to devastating results.

I’m NOT saying the floods in China were caused by this. HOWEVER, these things along with poor planning of roads, buildings etc, especially in certain areas more prone to flooding, all add to the resultant damage.

The CCP won’t even reveal the real death toll to avoid tarnishing their internal reputation. There’s no way you’re ever going to find out the real facts in this case.

15 years ago, the climate activists that I worked with/for were dead against China because of the pollution caused. Some even told me to boycott anything coming out of the country, which would have been bloody impossible lol. Then suddenly the narrative shifted to the West using this to prevent the progress of developing nations.

Nowadays I have no idea what they believe in given all the PC and “socialist” bullshit but one thing that I’m sure of is that China needs to get it’s shit together when it comes to reducing their carbon emissions.

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I’ll also add that the truth is, an inconvenient one I might add, like politicians, they engage 3rd party advertising/media firms to do their campaigns for them. These firms don’t know or don’t give a fuck about representing objective facts because they work with the material they’re given and have KPIs to fulfil. But some of them are REALLY GOOD.

Shit, I’ve long been talking about how good Trump’s campaign was despite my opinions about him. You engage the good, big ones with enough budget, you can claim Arnold is going to fight off the Devil and save the world and a significant proportion of people will buy it.

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Perhaps an apology to @anna_5588 is in order, since the topic is anxiety…I hope the following does not make it worse.

Why do you believe this? I understand that the doom and gloom you are referring to might be certain worst-case scenarios in the news, but in the scientific literature and community, those are not really given much currency.

Take the following source, for example. I think you’ll agree this is much more relevant than Jordan Peterson.

This is NASA. They are not mugs or dilettantes.

Here’s another:

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2019GL085378?fbclid=IwAR2A9LM566SbcE_iFN4m5CWSClqV4pDXizq5HYTliONziGnCOU9ZAvdaj_A

How is it possible that these two sources, a small sample of thousands of publications with so many pairs of expert eyeballs on them, are so catastrophically wrong? Why is this so?

My advice to the OP, and indeed everyone: don’t get your climate change information from sensationalist websites. The anxiety will probably be reduced, and your grasp of the situation (as much as a single hominid brain can grasp such a vast, uncertain, long-term thing) will be somewhat improved.

Are all scientists shady grant-hungry types, spinning doom and gloom for funding? Take @Aragorn, one scientist you know. Ask him how many of his colleagues, collaborators, acquaintances, grad students have made a career of getting funding with junk science. They don’t last very long in the natural sciences, with few famous examples.

We know that, very roughly speaking, science is a bunch of smart, curious people who are given money to just test/figure shit out. Under the current way of doing things, science is people asking for funding to study something that will very likely benefit humanity. How could one explain the fact that climate science has somehow attracted all the ones without scruples, or at least more than other disciplines?

I can imagine how crushing the weight of bad news and predictions can be, on children too. I can understand resenting the scientists, bearers of bad news. But consider for a moment the words of a despairing Brazilian epidemiologist, describing his futile efforts to get his government to make better choices when Covid struck.

“At some point in life everyone has that dream in which they can’t move, or can’t shout. This is exactly my feeling for these 16 months. I have been trained to understand what is happening in a pandemic and I say that and no one in the government is listening. As we are speaking today another 2,000 Brazilians will die.”

This is the problem. Keep your voice low, and no one hears. Raise it, and be called an attention-seeking merchant of doom. So maybe we give the scientists a break. Such a large number of people can’t all be bad.

To deal with anxiety, one can simply do what one can. I kinda hate slogans and sundry clichés, but one I suggest following is “Think global, act local”. Climate change is big, but many environmental issues are small enough that one can affect their immediate surroundings. If your vote can help get a river cleaned up, or raise penalties for air pollution, I’d start there.

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OMG yes. This is how I feel about the whole thing (COVID, Climate Change, Obesity, Opiod epidimic)

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It doesn’t. Avoiding the problem doesn’t make the issue or anxiety any better

That’s what all the doom and gloom news seems to imply. But the bottom line is that’s probably not the case. In 1900 we used horse and drawn cart and Henry Ford was just beginning to put his automobile into production. We had just barely figured out how to leave the ground with the wright brothers. 44 years later we split the atom. 20 years after that we launched into space and then to the moon. Then global interconnection and the internet a mere 25 years later.

The next 70 years aren’t going to look anything like what we have all grown up with. I have faith in our ability to adapt and overcome seemingly impossible challenges. I’m not downplaying the importance of environmental care or saying that climate change is not a concern. What I am saying though is that throughout history people have always underestimated, drastically, the ability of humans to adapt and invent and overcome.

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I wish I could like your whole post more than once. Great from top to bottom.

The answer is none. You’d probably have to go 2-3 “degrees of Kevin Bacon” out to find one.

Absolutely. This is fantastic advice!

This is a good point. I don’t think it has. I think perhaps more famous ones with questionable scruples, but I am not blaming the field for a couple people (caveat: when talking about actual research scientists, not so much when talking about activists). We also have to bear in mind the close connection with politics, which is on a level that is different from most other scientific fields and also complicates matters of perception and reality. But again, I don’t refer to scientists working in the field.

I do feel they have an overr-reliance on computer models, but that’s a more specific issue. But as many people including Jordan Peterson have said, this is a fantastically complicated and large problem, and computers are highly useful for things like that.

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It’s even worse than that. These so-called “scientists” are the ones who keep calling me about extending my car warrantee. These are the same do-gooder’s who want to start beef with me about my tire fire out back. I’m sorry, but my burn pit is not going to warm the planet to any significant degree.

In all seriousness, it seems rather obvious that securing funding, not to mention plain-old politics, will have a significant influence on what sort of research takes place. Ask any scientist working in the oil industry.

I am a climate change denier. While climate probably indeed changes, i have my doubts humanity has significant role to play.

Second, I am pro ecological actions. Get rid of the plastic, use my tax money to clean up the garbage on the street and the ocean. Heck i go twice per year to pick up some trash around my neibourhood and have been in groups clearing beaches. Find reasonable solutions to deal with air polution in cities.

However, please stop alarming. I am against Germany turning their energy all green, the do Nordstream and monopol gas and oil rates in Europe, while I have to pay 30% more for gas and expecting it to turn to 100% increase for the next couple of years. Then alarm we need greener solutions. Fuck off.

Electriciry in Spain, where my parents live is up more than 100 % for 2 years since they started applying green energy policy and buying it.

There are parking taxes for zones, eco stickers and etc. I drive on gas, which is less poluting than electric cars, yet I am taxed as a gasoline car and denied access to zones in cities and parking lots. This is getting out of control.

There are freaking political, government, private sector and scientific incentivies to be alarming for climate change. All want to tax me more and get my money, while limiting my freedoms. Instead of dealing with problems. Dont call me out when I have my doubts climate changed inducted by humans exists.

Here is an easy fix solution locally for air polution. Governments wont think a second to apply it. But my town is located 50 km away from a bigger city. Approximately 5 000 people work in that bigger city from my town. Quite sure half of these people do jobs that can be done from home. But they travel daily because business owners have distrust in working from home. Pretty sure with a small financial insentive or policy from the governments they can talk the companies into letting people work from home.

Boom less polution. But nah it is easier to get money from taxes from gas and getting eco stiker taxes and parking taxes. And this is a very small example. Pretty sure bigger industrial hubs such as Dusseldorf-Cologne-Bonn with smaller cities around like Neuss, Troisdorf can make use of such policy. Or Milano-Torino line in Italy. While I am not familiar with the Geography in Spain, I have lived in Spain and I know a lot of people traveling for work in Burgos and Segovia area. So pretty sure this can be applied everywhere.

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Jordan Peterson is a smart guy who became famous for pronoun protest. I would value his uneducated opinion on climate change as much as I would value his opinion on weight lifting. I couldn’t even watch the whole video but his answer was nothing we do matters but then again, “I don’t know.”

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One day that well will run dry.

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This is an interesting perspective and I actually agree with a lot of this (not that I’m an expert by any means).

Government attempts to “be green” scream of virtue signaling and could not only be useless, but make things worse. For example, a lot of ppl ignore the human and environmental consequences of green tech or switching to green energy or reducing meat consumption

I honestly think the side effect of what you proposed might actually be MORE efficient and effective in addressing climate change

Thank you for understanding. Everyone but the regular peep profits from climate change. Governments in form of taxes we discussed. Companies in form of new products - electric and hybrid cars, eco friendly products and energy. I will give you an example. I am in the trade fair industry. Every major trade fair in Europe has some form of eco friendly segment, the new products are always eco friendly. Aqua Nor is a trade fair for fish farming, or at least used to be. Now its major shareholders are technology companies for green farming. Which may not be a bad thing. I am just introducing how business has incentives for green policies. Everyone wants to sell new products, which are “neccesary” to save the world.

I will get back to cars. I drive an old Audi. It is A6 C4 1996. It is a great car. I have put a manual LPG injector to be able to drive on Gas. It is economically sufficient and green. The car is amazing. Almost no technology, everything is good old mechanics. Maintenance is cheap and is about 100 Eur per month which covers also yearly paint and saloon care or replacements. The car is a forever car. Good old German engeneering.I can probably drive it for another 25 years. But nobody but me has financial incentives on me driving such a car. Governemnts slowly but surelly apply policies to limit me from using such a car. The new cars are produced with a technical life of 10-15 years. They are a big trash.

If you step aside and think for a second is it better for the environtment if I keep driving my old Audi for the next 25 years or purchase 2 tesla cars with a total life span of 25 years you may conclude that my Audi is probably the greener solution. But as I said nobody but me has the financial insentives of me doing so.

Media. Alarming media has more viewers and more adds. I dont think i have to explain how media profits from hot topics. Covid was a gold mine. You would think a never ending problem such as a climate change wouldnt be a gold mine? Heck even Trump was a gold mine. After Trump I believe a lot of media lost their viewrship.

And lastly regarding science. I think Covid has shown that scientists will go an extra mile for funding. Just think of the posibility that covid may be a lab leak and scientist did cover up that possibility from us. Just accept for a second thatbthis may be true and how nasty it would be. Would you think then that scientists alarming on climate change wouldnt do it on financial insentives?

What I mean it is a vicious cicle and a topic everyone benefits from financially, but the regular folk. So I have my doubts on the topic. And when I see the new policy and products I have even bigger doubts these are solution for greener life.

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You do not have to be an expert. JP is a philosopher rather than an expert. As far as I know his philosophy on the topic is that we are incompetent to deal with climate change and our best bet is to feed enough children, so one day there are smart enough children to deal with it. Which is a sound philosophy. I agree with him.

He then goes on to show example of how humans have failed to interact with nature and how disastrous we have been when trying to make massive and significant environmental changes. That is in order to prove his point of how incompetent we are. I do not remember the example, but it was about how in Russia they dried a sea or a big lake, which is an environment catastrophe.

And when we talk about Russia, lets mention Chernobyl. This is us dealing with energy. You think we are competent to deal with climate change? I do not think so.

He argues also that the projections for climate change are very variable and it is impossible to measure success in tackling climate change. You do not know what you today is the optimal 50 years in the future or if it is going to work at all.

Since we are in a fitness forum, lets give an example what he is arguing about. In fitness you know if you work out you will see health benefits. But we do not know even how to work our bodies optimally for topics such as strength, hypertrophy or athletic performance. We argue everyday what is optimal for volume, rep ranges exercise selection and etc. We cant even measure success for our own bodies. Because you know we are an injury away from a bad projections. Or a bad diet or a program … You get the point. So how are we competent enough to deal with a massive problem such as climate change? Since there are deniers like me, we cant even get on track if it exists or not. It is like being on the phase of arguing if fitness has health benefits.

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This is true, of course. It’s why there are more articles dealing with Alzheimer’s, catalysis or perovskites than on dips versus CGBPs. Scientists have to put forward their proposals, and then a company, a government, a charity provides the funds, based on what they consider important or beneficial. But all science is funded this way. If you are throwing out climate science for this reason, you’ll have to throw out a lot of other things. A lot.

I think this is an understandable coping mechanism, of course; if you declare it all bullshit, then there’s nothing to worry about. Me, anxious? But I think @anna_5588 made an important point: ignoring it doesn’t help, not really.

It is quite possible to disagree with how carbon emissions are curbed without deciding that the curbs are unnecessary. People have different ideas about how to deal with intoxicated drivers and speeding, without resorting to “there’s no problem, those car crashes were gonna happen anyway.”

There is a rather interesting point with climate change, one which I hope I can make without distorting the actual ideas and studies involved, because a forum post has only so much bandwidth:

There was “the dress that broke the internet”, and people in each of the two camps (blue-black and white-gold) couldn’t quite grasp how the other group couldn’t just see the dress as it truly was. The thing is, as studies in vision and cognition have shown, seeing the dress a certain way is not exactly a choice. One sees one thing or the other, based ultimately on the life and experiences of the viewer up to that point. What our brains do nonstop is “disambiguate”. We rarely have complete information, and sensory input can be interpreted a lot of ways, so we rely on things like prior experience, trusted individuals, and groupthink to disambiguate. So in the case of the dress, people who are early risers and/or spent less time with artificial lighting (larks) tended to see it one way, while owls tended to see it differently. What they saw was what they saw. Their brains disambiguated instantly, because that’s how vision works. With training and practice, such as that acquired by photographers who deal with white balance all the time, the disambiguation can get more sophisticated, flexible, or accurate, but still, one sees what one sees.

When it comes to things like climate change, the issue is big, long-term, multi-faceted, and technically complex. Unlike vision, which is immediate and personal, the only way people without domain-specific expertise can disambiguate is through trusted sources and aligning with our group.

When it comes to the trusted sources, the knowledgeable people we go to when we need something simplified and boiled down to true or false, we need to make this choice very carefully. Credentialism has its flaws, but there is a place for it, and climate change is most definitely a case of picking your sources based on their actual expertise.

As for groups, be it for climate change or whatever, things are harder, because maintaining group cohesion is an evolutionary imperative. Disagreeing with your group meant expulsion and possibly death in early human collectives. The good news is we are not so constrained any more. We are unlikely to face such drastic consequences when our opinions deviate from the group’s. We can also learn to bypass the groupthink shortcut (picking the opinion that agrees with your group, then going online and racking up reason after reason why we think what we think, and with time we come to see these opinions as part of who we are). I recommend facing this head-on, internalizing the fact that we can update our opinions based on new information without losing our very self, and that one can be a conservative/American/Steelers fan without having to embrace every single belief that the group in question projects as canon.

Bringing all this back to the dress: no matter what each person saw, everybody knew in their heart that there is a certain objective reality, that anyone who could travel to the shop where it was photographed and look at in the flesh would agree on whether it was blue-black or white-gold. Just as we know that there either is a significant human contribution to climate change, or there isn’t. Just as there is an objective reality in which stopping carbon emissions either makes the warming bearable or it doesn’t. Whether I believe in the existence of Kiribati or not, it is there or it isn’t.

The life expectancy of the average American has not fallen by as much as it did in the last year since World War II. Early on in the pandemic, many, many, many people tried to out-macho each other by strenuously dismissing it as just the flu. I call this “choosing your own facts”. It still puzzles me that public figures do this. What is the harm in saying (in thinking!) “I don’t know what this is, and I will deal with it as appropriate when I know more”? Why choose your own facts? Of course we will nearly always choose those which mean we don’t have to lift a finger.

Perhaps because it’s just easier to live day to day if we deny it all.

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