On climate change, there’s no easy way to say it: our situation is dire. Addressing it will take nothing less than warlike levels of money and mobilization. But every war first begins with a narrative about what threatens us and what we should do about it. So the focus of the site is to explain that narrative and what climate change means for ordinary people.
The ancient Greek symposium and the Parisian salons, which combined drinking with elevated discussion, were often held in private houses. In these times intellectuals knew they could best make their case at home, not in a public venue, and that debate would be helped along by food and drink. In an attempt to emulate these practices, we began recording interviews with friends and family about climate change (which you can find in the Video Archive). People are busy, it’s easy to ignore news and scientific studies, but it’s a lot harder to ignore loved ones when they bring these issues to the dinner table.
This approach appealed to us for two reasons. First, we selfishly want our friends and family to be as prepared as possible for climate change. Second, our hope is that this unvarnished, informal approach will resonate with people in ways that cold science cannot. This issue is going to be solved from the bottom up, by regular people demanding action. So it’s with regular people that we begin.
The question is: why should you give a shit about what we have say? we’re not scientists, and have little history of activism. The only credibility we can claim is that given by our friends and family, who know us and and what we’re about. Climate change is a big issue but it’s also an intensely personal one. When you tell people about dangers they and their loved ones are going to encounter, you tend to get strong reactions. But if this message is relayed casually over the dinner table, people tend to be more receptive and curious. It’s not some bigwig scientist or political hack throwing this stuff at them…it’s their trusted friend or relative with whom they’re sharing a meal. So maybe if we can convince them, we can convince you.
In this way we will try to drive home the realities of our situation and make people understand the grave threat we now face. But those realizations only take us so far, and can even be harmful if they lead to despair. Thus the secondary purpose of this site is to paint a vision for the future. There is little doubt we are heading in to strange and uncertain times but if we pick a common goal, a point on the horizon to aim for, we can maintain hope and better synchronize our efforts. So here we go. Think of the year 2050. Put a picture of it in your mind. Does it look more like…
Now that’s a fairly nerdy frame of reference, but hey, we’re nerds. We might as well just put that out there. And these are realistic end points for this century: a desolate wasteland populated by desperate people killing each other over basic resources; or a modern, peaceful sustainable world built on the values of knowledge and mutual respect (minus the cool starships). Both are science fiction, of course, but they draw from what’s within us…they show us possible futures based on the human condition. We are not idle passengers in life. Today’s individual has unprecedented means to communicate, organize, and consciously choose to influence humanity’s direction. So choose Star Trek, because the alternative is fleeing from gangs of feral children.
In the last few years I’ve become increasingly concerned about climate change, and now view it as the most important issue that any of us will face in our lives (and certainly our kids’ lives). I’ve been trained as an engineer, not an environmentalist…I didn’t come to this issue from a place of loving nature or wanting to preserve Earth’s beauty. I tolerate nature, but I’m usually more comfortable in front of a computer screen than a giant redwood. No, I came to this issue because I learned of irrefutable scientific evidence which points to impending worldwide ecological collapse. That scared me: I have twin 1 year old babies and several beautiful godchildren, and I worry about the ruined world they will inherit. Climate change is here, it’s real, and it’s gonna get messy…so this site is me getting off the sidelines.
It might sound strange, but I left a good job in digital media to pursue this project.. It’s been a pretty big leap of faith and no small number of people have given me the ol’ arched eyebrow when I tell them what I’m doing. I don’t blame them. It’s either the smartest thing or the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. I guess we’ll know soon enough.
Hello, my name is Jeff Davis and I am a struggling blogger. If that doesn’t scream AA introduction I don’t know what does. Actually blogging is my spare time, night time, hobby/job. Can I say job? I don’t get paid for it and I am passionate about what I write about, so let’s stick with hobby. Ok, let’s get serious here for a moment and as you get to know me you know that a moment of seriousness is about all I can muster. My name is in fact Jeff Davis. I am married to a beautiful wife and have 2 beautiful children who are both 5, and yes that means twins. Eric and I have been friends for over 22 years and I won’t bore you with all the details but let’s just say our relationship was forged on ice cream, cheese, video games and tormenting his two sisters, oh and beating on each other…that part has not changed…we still take joy in that.
About two and a half years ago Eric approached me and said he was going to start a blog about climate change and that it “was the single most important issue of our time.” I was skeptical at first and started throwing around “facts” and bullshit that he quickly and eloquently disproved. He sat me and my wife down for one of his talks and after that, I was convinced. We need to do something and NOW.
“But why are you Here?” you ask. Shortly after the talk the website was live and our talk was posted among others and all of the factual background content. The next conversation was shocking to say the least. Eric asked if I wanted to be a contributor/owner to the site. I was honored and confused that he approached me for this task. But as he explained to me this site was not “his” it was ours, ours as in yours and mine, and our input and contribution is vital to our survival. After all we are the “Hero with a Billion Faces.” Let’s take this journey together and we can all make this a better place to live!
We here at the site feel that this is an incredibly exciting time to be alive…the scale of technological, economic and cultural change we’re going to witness this century is truly staggering. If you’ve internalized the information on this site then you can see that the end of humanity’s current business-as-usual isn’t only desirable, it’s inevitable. That’s pretty exciting! It’s not always easy to identify moments of great historical importance when you’re in the living them. To quote Paul Gilding:
It’s going to be a wild and exhilarating ride, with winners and losers, crises and breakthroughs. There’ll be a fair amount of chaos and we’ll teeter on the edge for a while, wondering if we’ll get through. But we will, and we’ll then look back to this time and say, yes, I was there.
Earlier we stated our lack of credibility on this issue. Certainly we’re more more alarmist than climatologist. We didn’t say, however, that we were without skills. Between us we have engineering degrees, project management skills and a decade’s experience designing games. Where those fields converge we believe we’ll find the answers to climate change.
When we talk about this convergence, we’re basically talking about something called systems thinking. This is a way of approaching problems that views them as natural outputs from the larger systems in which they reside. Climate change isn’t desirable, no one is creating it deliberately. Humans want energy, and climate change is simply a byproduct of the system humanity has set up to get it. Everyone in the system is acting rationally…people drive cars because they need to get places, oil execs maximize profits because we live in a capitalist society, etc. In trying to solve any problem, you won’t get far telling people to act against against their own rational economic or cultural interests. The better solution is to restructure the system and realign those interests with the common good.
Obvious. Yet subversive.
On a personal note, it still seems strange to us to be talking about all of this…such dire circumstances and enormous changes that we’re going to see in our lifetimes. Our lives are modern, good, and happy, and it feels a little bit like hysteria or religious zealotry when we talk about things in such stark contrast to our everyday experience. But we can’t fight our own nature: we’re analytical people and the evidence of climate change is incontrovertible. Nothing would make us happier than for the forecasts to be wrong, and we’re going to work awfully hard to see that they are. But denial is a luxury we’ve afforded ourselves for too long already.
So now it’s time to get to work.