So I’m in hospital, about to get open heart surgery. That sucks. It is scary, and it could potentially kill me – hopefully not because like… doctors are really good at this stuff.
I actually started getting short of breath for the first time right as the Sydney marches were occurring. I would have gone if I could have, but unfortunately, it probably wasn’t too safe.
But just in case something goes wrong, and just to get this out there… I thought I’d talk about climate change 1 time, and the huge climate marches that have gone one behind a young lady named Greta Thunberg.
So Greta Thunberg is… Ok scratch that. I mean who hasn’t heard of her. But yeah… her climate strikes have created a worldwide movement, and they’re still going. It’s bloody inspiring stuff.
But Greta, who has aspergers has been the target of most of the criticism for this. When you can’t attack the message, attack the messenger.
But though I do think those marches are great, people also attack the protests because it doesn’t do enough. And though I disagree, I think the message and the messaging could be improved upon to create the most change.
But the fact is climate change is real. It IS a huge threat. And today I’m gonna talk about 1) how the fears that addressing climate change has to come at the expense of growth are not necessarily true. I looked into the numbers, and being green is actually already chaeper than fossil fuels and we need to talk more about that.
(2) How we scientists and people who understand the danger can actually get our message across, according to science.
3) How climate change affects our health. It is real and it’s already killing people and ecosystems now
And a few other things.
Now the biggest thing to talk about, I feel, is this myth, that’s pervaded by protesters too, that green energy is cheaper. Right now, government subsidies for dying industries that pollute is propping up fossil fuels. Australia spends 29billion subsidizing coal every year – that’s nearly $1200 per person . It will only $2.8billion in 2030 (significantly more than we spend today) subsidizing renewable energies despite renewables accounting for 23.5% of energy subsidies! Unfortunately, that number is going to lower as several programs subsidizing greener, cheaper tech ends in the coming years.
But globally, we spent $5.2 TRILLION on subsidizing fossil fuels internationally, and $88bn in 2011 subsidizing greener, better, and now CHEAPER tech!
The US spends 10x more on oil and coal subsidies than it does education. Without these, half the industry wouldn’t be sustainable.
And we’re at a point now where coal and oil is actually more expensive than renewable technology 74% of the time when setting up a new plant. By 2030 that number will hit 96%.
Coal and oil doesn’t create and sustain more jobs than renewables. In the case of the Adani mine, for that much investment, renewables would have created 4.7x more jobs , The Adani mine not only will employ just 800 people, it threatens the jobs of people who rely on the $30billion a year great barrier reef tourism industry.
This isn’t just true in one case study. Industry wide, renewables create similar, or more jobs than fossil fuels.
And another place we’re seeing progress is in green cars. Battery prices are going down so much every big manufacturer is investing in electric cars. It’s isn’t us Greenies that are causing this by increasing demand. Soon, and we’re talking 5 year soon, green cars are gonna be cheaper than current cars, to make and run.
Green energy is cheaper. It’s better. And THIS is what we need to talk about to the public.
What we SHOULD be fighting against is fossil fuel subsidies. They don’t create more jobs, they don’t produce more energy, and they’re not cheaper.
But though I think adding this message to the science could help sway more people. I also think HOW we go about messaging climate change needs to change.
I agree, right now politicians aren’t stepping up and are backing wasteful, polluting tech, probably because these big industries have powerful lobbies.
These marches are definitely helping bring awareness for this issue. I mean, like I said, Greta is keeping this up globally. People are growing more passionate about this and getting avenues to take action. Some political parties are trying to capture the young vote through this and that’s great.
But if we could marry that to showing people that green tech is cheaper AND better, and show them we’re paying to keep older, crappy tech and billionaires afloat, rather than saying we need to swallow some sort of bitter pill, we may get more change. That could be more effective than trying to get people to declare a climate emergency.
This is what we need to show people. This is how we need to market this issue. And there are several ways we could do that.
This Ted talk based on research on climate change communication shows that doomsday prophecies aren’t the best way to appeal to people. How we talk about science, avoiding things like “error, theory, likely or consensus” just doesn’t stick with ordinary people. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXOu-dezdKo
Doesn’t mean they’re dumb… we’re dumb if we don’t talk about it.
There was another TED talk I can’t find right now (I am going in for surgery soon haha) where a lady talks about how she convinced republicans about the reality of global warming through semantics. Talking about energy freedom, something Americans love, rather than carbon pricing – or taxes – which everyone hates… makes a HUGE impact.
Infographics and memes of this stuff could help too. If it could reach the top and trickle down through society, they can create change.
But we also shouldn’t be calling people on the other side idiots. Though green energy creates more jobs, coal miners are losing jobs and that sucks. They’re fighting to keep something. We’ve gotta understand that. A big reason why the left leaning political party lost the last Australian election was some thoughtless, tasteless protesting of coal mines by hippies who took a holiday up the coast.
I mean if you go to someone’s hometown and block roads, telling people they’re horrible people for killing the planet and supporting coal, who do you think is gonna convince who? You, rolling your eyes at people, or Adani who, cleverly, went to locals and convinced them they were here for them, even though they’re creating 1/6th of the jobs they claimed they would.
But yeah, though I think these marches are gonna have an impact, if we don’t get this message across and start calling for energy freedom in a smarter way, we could just keep getting ignored.
But yeah, another thing that concerned me about what’s happening is people, particularly mental health professionals, questioning Greta’s mental health.
Now first off, bagging someone out for having Aspergers, or any form of autism for that matter, when many of the world’s brightest minds likely had it, real classy move.
But as Greta explains herself in this post which I’ll link in the description and on my blog, she actually started her activism against her parents advice, on her own, and to this day, writes her own speeches and is compelled to do more. Some people disbelieve her or criticize her because she writes like an adult.
She’s 16. Not 6. I was writing decently eloquent essays and speeches at her age, as do many… She’d won essay competitions. She’s passionate about a cause and wants to stand up for it.
But this is an emergency and this is real and happening now.
I mean I somehow won this international essay competition and went to an agriculture conference a few years ago, and met people already trying to combat the effects of climate change right now. Right now, today, SubSaharan African farmers are getting education from organisations as they suddenly find their farming methods which they’ve used for generations don’t work with altered climates. Bangladeshi floods are decimating crops and displacing even more people in conflicts… climate change is already here.
Overall, the health argument for climate change action is huge and very compelling too. The WHO is predicting even worsening outcomes that will result from climate change in the way of furthered spreading of diseases, more migrant crises, and even extreme heat.
Not to mention that millions, and this isn’t an exaggeration, are already dying earlier directly because of air pollution [overlay image cc14]. I’ve seen the lungs of elderly people who’ve lived in cities and those who smoked a pack a day for decades in kedavas. Often, they show similar changes.
The health argument is HUGE for climate change too.
Now some also criticize her and the strikes as ‘time wasting’ ‘symbolic gestures’ saying that instead kids should be picking up trash, or staying in school, or learning about this and doing something about it in universities.
I mean I’d agree, working in this space can create huge change – but fiirst off, why can’t you do both, and secondly, activism and showing political will and firepower against issues may be one of the best ways to affect change. As I explained earlier though, I do think it could be done better.
But yeah, direct action, things like funding small tree planting, and light bulb changing programs (these do help but often aren’t as effective as larger investments and policy change) is something our government spent $1.7billion in funding which is resulting in essentially projects that were gonna happen anyways getting subsidized. It created minimal environmental change, while having us pay billions to help businesses upgrade stuff.
Plus, getting people to change habits isn’t easy. I mean maybe getting people out onto streets, and standing up for a cause is one of the most effective ways of convincing them to be greener individuals, to be honest.
But the best example of why trying to convince people to start planting trees is less effective than people pressure is Australia’s largest supermarkets. After years of getting a few people to change to reusable green bags, they simply started charging users 15c per bag and made it so people had to pretty much stare checkout chicks in the eye and shamefully say “I wanna kill the planet” and that resulted in an 80% drop in plastic bag use.
Companies respond to public pressure even more than governments. Let’s make them also take meaningful action. There are superannuation, or retirement funds, around the world that don’t invest in environmentally unfriendly companies. Lack of investment = lower value = less money they can raise for ventures in the future.
But yeah, finally, people claim that we aren’t the problem and that we should focus on investing in India and China, the biggest polluters. Well first off, America is actually the second biggest polluter in the world. We in Australia are second, per capita. But though I agree, investing in cleaner energies there are likely good ROI in terms of ways to promote change, the same people who say this wanna cut our aid budget, something which not only benefits nations we give to, but also our farmers, as I pointed out in that award winning essay.
By investing in green tech, we also create more jobs, and startups that can scale, and progress as humanity in general.
Anyways that was my take on climate change on this episode of MedicalFactz where we seem to be commenting on less medical things day by day. Haha there’s a long playlist of those you can watch too I guess.
I’m getting surgery, probably as you’re reading this… and there’s a chance I may not be here, and a definite chance I’ll be like… in a LOT of pain regardless. Don’t worry, I’m okay with it and I’ll be fine. If you wanna learn more about me… NikhilAutar.com/books – I did get to finish my book before I go into surgery.
But yeah.. I’m a tumor vaccine researcher, medical student, and I talk Factz. MedicalFactz.
But yeah. I’ll be talking about Vaping soon, Cannabis and the science behind that, and my thoughts on the Big Pharma conspiracy. They actually do suck… but they also save lives… It’s a tough one. My startup is also one that’s (a) creating cool products that may help you get better sleep, and, in the future, keep vulnerable people alive and (b) one that powers medical research through machine learning. Sign up for my email list if you wanna check that out too –>
And yeah guys. Cheers.
Climate change is caused by humans source ;