CBC came calling this week about the recent letter in Bioscience warning about a “climate emergency”, on which I’m a signatory (along with 11,000 other scholars). Part of the press on this story is that it has not just been climate scientists signing on, but researchers from a wide range of fields including social science: climate touches us all. Kayla Hounsell and cameraman Steve visited my office yesterday for a quick explanation on why I signed, and it screened last night as part of a story about climate action in the Nova Scotia town of Berwick, after host Andrew Chang outlined the letter and its recommendations. During my email exchange earlier with Kayla, I explained my reasons for signing (little of which made it into my 20 seconds on air):
Briefly, I am concerned with ways to rewrite our landscapes and lifestyles for the scale of the changes we are facing. It is clear to me that we have great capacity for altruism and collective action if we perceive an emergency, such as in big storms or wartime mobilization, but we also have great capacity for inertia if all the signals we get are that there is potential it could be someone else’s problem. That’s why I signed. Anything that could expedite a sense of urgency among people and politicians is to be encouraged, as long as it is followed with action, rather than simply inoculate us against it.