There’s a #ClimateBrawl in town and I’m not joining in
If you’ve followed the climate crisis for a long time, there is a lot going on everywhere on social media, but the number one place is Twitter, because that’s where the climate scientists are active. Then again, since Musk took over, things have changed dramatically, with many leaving — a huge heartbreak, because it’s such a loss of a powerful community. I’m still there though, so come and join me.
However, for those who remain, things have gotten testy. Under the hashtag #ClimateBrawl, the fight is on, and the deniers have become active. Very active. The climate scientists and those who’ve been working to raise attention to the biggest crisis facing humanity (who haven’t left Twitter), are active too and the brawl is immense.
Here’s an example of two people on each side of the #ClimateBrawl.
Every now and again, I find myself in the middle of a brawl. Recently, it was the simple suggestion that if you’re going to talk about Antarctica, you better look at the news from the last six months. This happened after the person shared a report from 2016, when Antarctica was an anomaly in global warming. Today, things are very different.
When sharing anything on the climate, with things moving so quickly now, it is very important to be up to date. I try not to share anything older than six months, and it’s rare to find anything worth sharing older than that. Sometimes great content shows up that’s old, but it’s definitely not common. Not now, when we’re seeing such a massive escalation.
Antarctica, the Arctic, Greenland, as well as the wider glacial melt happening, ocean health, the threat of sea level rise, etc… is one of the 18 big stories I follow on a daily/weekly basis. I’m always looking for the latest, the newly published research, new ideas, new data because technology is getting more powerful in interpreting the information scientists are collecting, etc… So the date of the content is important.
If you’re interested, the other big topics are:
- Biodiversity loss, extinction, and ecosystem collapse
- The fossil fuel industry and emissions with a big focus on methane release currently, including permafrost melt and what that impact looks like — see video below
- Extreme weather events, precipitation changes and impact, the Jet Stream
- Famine and global food shortages
- AMOC (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation)
- Covid and future pandemics
- Pollution, especially as Less Than 1% of Earth Has Safe Levels of Air Pollution
- Soil health degradation, forever chemicals, water health
- Climate refugees and migration
- The waste crisis
- Equality and diversity and why it’s so important right now
- Mental health and ecoanxiety
- Geopolitics, war, rising authoritarianism, the economy, society
- Misinformation, fake news, the media and conspiracy theories
- Social media dialogue — how we are speaking about issues, how we are speaking to each other
My comment on the Antarctica tweet opened up some nastiness. It was instant too, and not just one person, but a gang — abusing, mocking, condescending, and downright rude. At first, I was bewildered and then I just went nope, not playing your game. Not participating. Not speaking. Nope. I moved on.
Why wouldn’t I want to get involved?
There are people participating in the #ClimateBrawl who love it. They love the fight. They love the data sparring. They’re on Twitter for hours a day, looking for participants they disagree with, and they seem eager to join the melee. Some are just there to ensure correct data is shared, but it usually unravels quickly.
For those who love it, thank you, it’s important work, but I am not that person, because
- If I don’t know you and I don’t know what you know, why you know it, and what motivates you, then it is pointless. If I know you and we disagree, I’m totally fine. Complete strangers? No. I mean, are you even a human?
- I am not there to convince you of anything, I am just sharing knowledge and hoping to open eyes to a very big issue I’ve spent decades following and working hard to piece together. Anyone I don’t know that is trying to convince me otherwise, is wasting their time. I also share what I read and digest every week, so I am completely transparent and very clear on my stance and the investment in my knowledge
- I will not be troll-silenced. I’ve been dealing with trolls since social media first came into our lives. Their goal is clear and effective — to silence voices. I will not let them succeed and encourage everyone not to be afraid of the trolls. There are more of us than them, so don’t ever let someone silence your voice. If you do, they win
- If you’re caught up in conspiracy theories, I will not engage. I look into all of the conspiracy theories — where they come from, how they emerged, who’s making money from putting them out, the way it creates fissures in our society, etc… but I find people who go down that path can not be communicated with. So I don’t
- BUT the most important reason is, I don’t want to hate and I don’t want to be ugly or angry. I want to be kind. I am watching the wave of chaos coming towards us, and for me, it’s not a time for rage, it’s a time for love, and that is really why I will not get involved. We need more love and kindness in the world and we need it regardless of what is happening around us. Standing in a place of love and kindness is, for me, the most defiant thing I can do at this time, and I encourage you to join me. I know it’s not always easy, but it’s also why it’s powerful
We’ve got to stop fighting and screaming at each other. We’ve got to stop abusing each other. We’ve got to stop the divisions getting any wider. Whatever side of the aisle you’re standing on, if you are there for reasons you believe in, then we all must work harder to respect those who are investing in the issues they care about — even if we don’t agree with them.
From a place of respect, we create dialogue. From a place of abuse, we close doors.
So no, I will not join an ugly fight. It’s just not in me. I don’t have the energy for it, and I don’t think it’s benefitting anyone. Civil conversation is always welcome. I love it when people disagree with me, because it helps me think through my ideas and it also helps me challenge them too. I am constantly challenging myself. It’s exhausting, let me tell you.
Is there an elegant option?
With that said, there is an interesting movement happening on social media and I encourage you to pay attention. Deep subject matter experts are speaking up, often working together and participating in conversations, debunking information that is not in our interest.
I’ll give you an example. A few years ago, hydrogen was being billed as the solution to all of our challenges, and I was confused. If it’s the answer and we already had it, why is it now the only answer? Where was it before? And why is the coverage and support of it so complete?
Then on the peripheries of our information channels, other voices were starting to call out greenwashing around hydrogen, and I started listening to what they were saying. It was at this point I discovered that the fossil fuel industry was the voice behind the hydrogen agenda, which means its vast sums of money were behind its marketing and that ensured we were all soaked in this message.
Now if it IS the answer, great, but if it’s not, we don’t have any time to waste, so I kept an eye out for anything on this discussion, especially it being challenged.
One of the people who got my attention at this point was Paul Martin on LinkedIn. Based in Toronto, Paul is a chemical process development expert and as you can see in his profile, he’s providing the “Antidote to marketing #hopium” and a “Tireless advocate for a fossil fuel-free future.” I’ve never met Paul, but he is great.
Anytime anyone posts on hydrogen, and he agrees or disagrees, he comments or shares the content and tells us why. He’s also part of a group called Hydrogen Science Coalition and while I don’t know exactly how it all works, the collaboration is definitely having an impact.
Here’s a couple of blogs that encompass his bigger message:
Are you a subject matter expert?
If you are and you care about the future of humanity and all life on earth, please get involved in the conversation. Respectfully debunk narratives that are incorrect and help people understand why they need to pay attention.
You don’t have to be nasty. You can be respectful. The vast majority of people do not want to share false information, they really don’t, but the money behind the information that is overwhelming and confusing all of us, is very powerful. No question it can be hard to see straight, however, if WE know better, the best thing we can do is step into the conversation.
The problem is, some of the best and brightest I know are stepping out of the global conversation. Like me, they see all of the ugliness and mockery, and they don’t want any part of it. I completely understand, but we have to overcome this, otherwise who is in control of the conversation? And do we want to keep allowing that? Isn’t it our moral duty to our fellow humans to get involved? Especially if they don’t have your expertise?
Please, step up, speak up, have a voice and if you’re an expert, we want to hear from you. Everyone is trying to make sense of this time. Can you help them do it? Can you help them understand the urgency?
It’s time to get involved. This is something YOU can do. This is a contribution YOU can make. This is YOUR opportunity to leave a legacy. PLEASE take this chance. We need all of the great and informed people speaking up right now, especially the subject matter experts. If that’s you, get going.
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Four environment resources to help you navigate this challenging territory.
- Knowledge, constantly updating
- Individual action and awareness, so we do our part
- Resources for those struggling with eco-anxiety. Please share with your community.
- Finally, more than 100 mini-videos on many topics regarding the multiple crisis’ we face. Feel free to download and use as your own. No credit necessary.
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Uncommon Courage is an invitation to be your courageous best self every day. It’s also an antidote to the overwhelm, fear, and rage rolling around the world. But it’s more than a book; it’s an invitation to join an inclusive community that wants to better understand humanities challenges — both global and personal — in order to take courageous action and create a better world for everyone. If Covid19 has given us the time and space to reflect, Uncommon Courage gives us the nudge we need to create lasting change.
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