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Why don't more of us see big picture on pollution?

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traffic-jam

A traffic jam in Dehli, India, just one of countless such traffic jams that occur daily around the world. [Photo Credit: Wikipedia.Org]

editors-blog-entry3I don’t get people who believe humans aren’t involved in the climate change equation. Something prevents them from seeing the bigger picture even when it’s right there in front of them.

Take, for instance, the average suburban/urban auto driver in the U.S., or pretty much any suburban/urban area in the world. A large number of these people – hundreds of millions – sit for long periods of time every day in traffic jams while pumping out, and breathing in, lots of noxious fumes such as sulfur dioxide, particulates, carbon monoxide and, of course, plenty of global warming inducing CO2 (unless, of course, they’re driving a solar-charged EV :-)

Somehow climate change denying/indifferent auto drivers who sit, every day, stuck in traffic jams, doesn’t visualize beyond the traffic jam they’re in, if, indeed, they even really see this.

Visualizing traffic jams around the world
They don’t visualize the same traffic jam in their little corner of Denver happening in Chicago, Salt Lake City, Seattle, San Francisco, Orlando, London, Frankfurt, Moscow, Baghdad, Seoul, Beijing, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Lima, Cape Town, Riyadh, Toronto -- the list goes on and on -- occurring as well. And they don’t see the coal smokestacks from their own electric power plant multiplied thousand fold around the world.

They don’t see these things, because they don’t bother to visualize them.

But those hundreds of millions of fossil fuel powered vehicles spewing out pollution -- actually, there are more than a billion automobiles worldwide – those thousands of coal power plants that the non-visualizer doesn’t see, or refuses to see, they’re there nevertheless.

And these billion plus automobiles and vast number of coal power plants – not to mention natural gas plants, which have generally gotten a free “green” ride despite the fact that the natural gas extraction process makes it highly suspect in terms of climate change -- are very definitely affecting our global climate, not to mention our local quality of life.

global-warming-2010Not seeing the global picture
To argue otherwise is to ignore not only the global picture -- which, I admit, can be difficult to visualize because we will never, in person, see the whole global picture, only a small part of it – is to ignore the reality that seven billion human beings burning vast amounts of fossil fuels are very much affecting the earth and its climate.

Yet there are millions and millions who fail, or refuse, to grasp this bigger picture, who fail to see the relation between one individual action and the collective outcome of billions and billions of similar individual actions -- the most unbelievable view on climate change has got to be the one that holds that it’s “arrogant” for humans to believe that they have the power to alter the environment.

Seven billion human beings on earth, each burning some form of fossil fuel, either directly, or indirectly, 24/7, 365 days a year – this “can’t” have an impact on the world because it’s “arrogant” to think that it does? You’ve got to be kidding!

How to change minds
Frankly, I’m mostly at a loss as to how to effectively change the views those who refuse to see the bigger picture on climate change and who fail to see the ways in which individual human actions add up, in a very big way, because of the collective nature of the law of individual human action. It’s not just you, not just the hundreds of drivers that you can actually see at a given moment in time, but the billions around the world who are doing the same thing that create the total fossil fuel-powered auto equation.

Perhaps a video clip showing the ways in which individual actions such as driving a single car add up in a big way around the world might be a way to start, you know, one showing traffic jam, after traffic jam, after traffic jam in city after city after city.

It would certainly be more effective than an admittedly critical blog entry such as this one. That’s because video literally shows us what’s happening in a way writing cannot.

Of course, even video can never show us the entire picture in which hundreds of millions of people simultaneously fire up their gasoline car and roar out of the driveway only to find themselves completely bogged down in the next traffic jam to hit their tiny, but, in terms of the global big picture, crucial part of the global story on human-induced global climate and environmental change.

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