IPCC: Talk Me Down or Wind Me Up

I’m on a very limited time budget this week, so I’m going to try and keep this short if possible – I wish I could say sweet as well, but I think I might be lying if I did.

As it were, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just put out the 2nd part of their newest findings, and to say they were a bit unsettling would be putting it mildly.

According to the chairman of the panel, Rajendra K. Pachauri, “Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.”

For those who don’t know what the IPCC is and does, they are an international body of scientists tasked with assessing and reporting out on the current science research regarding climate change. These assessments are authored by hundreds of scientists from around the globe and include info on impacts, future risks, and best possible options of adaptation and mitigation.

They do this work without pay to inform policy makers world wide.

This most recent publication was particularly timely for me because over the weekend I got a chance to visit the Sólheimajökull Glacier, which is not only strikingly beautiful, but also frighteningly visual in terms of giving a stark example of how quickly our planet is, indeed, warming up.

Exhibit A:

(Note the lake forming at the foot of the glacier that was not so long ago glacier instead of forming lake)

forming lake solheimjokallExhibit B:

(Take a peek at the sign in front of the glacier – this is where the foot of the glacier was October of 2010)


I’ve been doing my best to be solutions oriented with this blog since starting it. I’ve been using it as a catalyst to try and introduce readers to cool, far off places, and to offer treats and tid-bits about how to tread lighter on Mother Earth.

I’ve purposely shied away from being a doom-sayer when possible and to keep these posts focused on the positive.

I’m breaking ranks with this post though, because while I usually leave it to others to create a sense of urgency, I can’t help but feel an astoundingly urgent need for change after digesting some of the information coming out of this most recent IPCC assessment.

I don’t want to be alone in this feeling.

This report is being called the most sobering yet and details the ways in which people will begin to endure widespread poverty, increased food insecurity, increased pestilence and warfare, and all before the turn of the next century.

So, what can we do?

Normally, I’d take this moment to throw out some spiffy new trick of the sustainable trade I’d learned over the week, but I think this week, I’m gonna let it hang and throw it back to you.

Any thoughts?

I have plenty, but I would really appreciate hearing from the people taking the time to click on this blog and read it. Obviously you give a crap, otherwise you wouldn’t be listening to me yammer on – so please, help me get creative! or logical! or more efficient! or thoughtful if what you have to share is your philosophy on all this!

It seems often that it’s in the gravest hours we find the strongest ties of community strength and innovation.

I’m really interested in what others think and feel here.

The New York Times was kind in reminding us that though this assessment might be severe, “…growing evidence [suggests] that governments and businesses around the world are starting extensive plans to adapt to climate disruptions.”

I may feel urgent, but I’m optimistic too.

I was going to flood you with beautiful images from some of my trips out and about this week, but instead, in light of this newest report, I think I’m going to leave you with the video below and a renewed request that you take a quick moment to either talk me down, or in kindred spirit, wind me up even further.

What do you think? Do we still have time to mitigate the problem, or should we start plowing into the efforts of adaptation?


About Sass Linneken

Peace-pushing, environmental-writing, amateur-filmmaking, #climate change warrior.
This entry was posted in Climate Change, Education, International Travel, Photography, Sustainability and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to IPCC: Talk Me Down or Wind Me Up

  1. treedudeguy says:

    I think we need a tremendous effort on both accounts. We must adapt to the transformation of the Earth’s climate and ecosystems otherwise we’ll never survive as a species. Survival of the fittest requires adaptation. I think it’s evident that “business as usual” will only seal our fate, most likely sooner rather than later. If we enact logical & sustainable system change humans (and many other Earth inhabitants) may actually be able to ride out the climate mutations and recover. Earth will inevitably change, it already has, but the outcome will vary depending on our ability to adapt and change our ways.

    Our televisions and conveniences of life have made it easier to be willingly ignorant. Many people have heard the threats of climate change and have either decided there’s nothing that can be done about it or pretend it’s a debatable subject and await something to tell them it’s all made up. Clinging onto life’s comforts and distractions are being justified and people are growing detached and apathetic. Too many of us discuss sensational private news and entertainment stuffs while neglecting the real news. (I dare someone to tell me that a private civil matter is more important than Earth as a whole.) Climate change is a real threat to the Earth’s population and human activity is the major contributing factor. This would make everyone who participates in the current man made system guilty of crimes against humanity and nature, this may not be our intention but nonetheless, it’s reality.

    Some of us will read (or watch) a story about a sick pervert or violent junky and get all passionate about it – share it online with a judgmental tirade. When hearing about how future generations are being deprived of the right to life too many of us remain silent and pretend not to hear it. I recently heard that humans need a more personal touch to understand how this all affects them so here’s a list of things we lose if we don’t deal with climate change: television, sex, alcohol, ipods, internet, pizza, burgers, salad, sports, houses, music, art, electricity, children, pets, fresh water and breathable air. The list goes on and although some of these things may not matter to one person as much as another, I feel confident that some of these things we all have in common.

    THE WAY WE LIVE AS A SPECIES IS VIOLENT AND UNSUSTAINABLE! We’re justifying the destruction of our species (and many, many others). Modern day humans need to stop pretending all the luxuries we have are necessity. We’re a 21st century society living under old outdated guidelines based on assumptions of the unknown. Our use of fossil fuel was ramped up during a time when there was no understanding of the consequences – but now we know! Now we have an arsenal of discoveries to guide us. I think we have no business calling ourselves intelligent beings if we don’t change our ways. Infinite growth within the constraints of a system with finite resources is suicide. In our case it would be ecocide. We must mitigate the problem by adapting and changing our ways – natural evolution doesn’t happen overnight but our current dilemma is not natural, it’s man made. We can use our collective superpowers of free will and cooperation to evolve ourselves – structurally and systematically – but this is a choice we must make, now.

    Wake up people, join me in a revolution!

    Thanks for the inspiration Sass, it’s one of the infinitely abundant reasons why I love you so much! :-) ♥

    P.S. The revolution will not be televised. – Gil Scott Heron

    Liked by 1 person

    • Whoa.

      That was a mouthful!

      Yes. Consumption on mass scale = suicide AND murder.

      I love Gil Scot Heron, so thanks for that! lol

      I also love the debate about mitigation and adaptation. The current report said both are necessary. There are a lot of strong arguments on either side that don’t want to see funds siphoned from one method to support another. If we spend too much on adaptation we will not have enough left over to mitigate the problem by building sounder, greener infrastructures, but on the flip side, if we spend too much trying to mitigate the problem, how will we find enough to adapt to it by relocating, etc?

      This problem requires more systems thinking than any I can think of. That’s why trying to fight it by focusing on fossil fuel combustion only is a faulty logic. We need to look at the way we farm, the way we package our products, the ways we consume in single servings, and so much more. We need system change on a mass scale and we need to stop rebuilding communities that will continuously be knocked down by inevitable storms.

      I know that last one might have sounded a bit harsh, and is an understandably unpopular prospect, but in my opinion, it is a massive waste of resources when we have data showing where our most vulnerable areas are. It’s some kind of bravado when the victim of a storm says teary eyed into the camera that they WILL rebuild – a rebel in the face of Mother Nature. The merit behind the idea is laudable, but the reality is that the action lacks way too much foresight. Instead of using resources and money to rebuild another structure ripe for the next storm, those resources could be used to adapt and find a more logical place to exist.

      Of course this is an easy thought in the abstract – the reason this problem requires systems thinking is because the person who wants to rebuild may want to do so because it’s the only place they’ve ever known – they also may lack a support system and financial means to feel comfortable going elsewhere.

      Really, the fact of the matter is that those who came before us sold the future for the present, just as we continue to do now.

      This report scared me, but the idea that companies and governments are starting to rise to the challenge worldwide was a comfort. Albeit they rose to this challenge decades late, and are rising too slowly for my taste, but I’m an optimist, and so I see it as a start, and a start IS something.


      Liked by 1 person

      • treedudeguy says:

        You make great valid points. I didn’t put much thought into the cost because I always assume that the cost to life far exceeds the highly regarded monetary system but I totally get what you’re saying because in the real world cash is king – the king makes the decisions. Thanks for the thought you put into your reply to my comment, I appreciate your dedication to the cause and I love the fact you don’t just agree with me because I’m the hubbage. :-D Your optimism is nice too and it helps give me hope, I think too many of us have given up and are just trying to “live the best life they can live” with disregard for the repercussions it has on the future, despite the devastating effects this mentality has on the future. I’m glad you’re out there trying to have this conversation with the world, it’s much needed! ♥

        Liked by 1 person

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