Comment of the Week: a dark warning about the politics of climate change

I’ve got ten dollars says the words “stochastic” and “sous vide” have never before been used together to make a point. But with today’s temperature predicted to reach 103 degrees, maybe now is a good time to talk about cooking ourselves.

It was hard not to notice the sense of urgency in last week’s comments. Not only were there a lot of them, but gosh, what a selection of strong, informed and passionate writing. SD’s comment came in late yesterday, and even among that crowd it grabbed me by the lapels and made me pay attention.

SD writes in agreement with fellow commenter 9watts, that climate change doesn’t get the emphasis it deserves in Portland transportation discussions. I’ve noticed that too. But it’s anxiety about climate collapse that might be fueling the urgency of our debates.

Here’s what SD wrote:

Climate collapse and heat adaptation should be in the forefront of PBOT’s mission. They should leverage this heavily in reshaping infrastructure to prioritize rational human movement in Portland. Heat islands are a large part of PBOT’s infrastructure.

The emphasis on linear climate changes such as increasing temperature over time or sea level rise are easy to grasp and support with data but do not capture the likely possibility of stochastic changes that will occur as specific elements that buffer climate collapse.

We should be pulling out all of the stops now while we are not yet in complete crisis. Instead, we have self-interested people in decision-making positions, like Mapps, that are more interested in a mundane, forgettable political career than trying to use their agency to find solutions, prepare Portland and create resiliency.

Sous vide for steak is 130ºF. We aren’t far off from fatal temperatures. It is a real possibility that children today or their children will die from heat related causes or starvation.


… And children today are dying due to climate disruption. Yes, we realize that’s a dark note to end on, but it feels appropriate given our situation.

Thank you SD and everyone else who commented last week. You can read SD’s comment under the original post.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)

Lisa Caballero is on the board of SWTrails PDX, and was the chair of her neighborhood association's transportation committee. A proud graduate of the PBOT/PSU transportation class, she got interested in local transportation issues because of service cuts to her bus, the 51. Lisa has lived in Portland for 23 years and can be reached at lisacaballero853@gmail.com.

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pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago

prepare Portland and create resiliency

We should be organizing around national-scale transformational change (e.g. a global green new deal) but instead liberal prepper nonsense and useless localist environmentalism* dominate climate organizing in the rich north.

Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin on the climate crisis and they ways liberals and “leftists” rationalize self-defeating incrementalism:

Chomsky: We should recognize that if global warming is an automatic consequence of capitalism, we might as well say goodbye to each other. I would like to overcome capitalism, but it’s not in the relevant time scale. Global warming basically has to be taken care of within the framework of existing institutions, modifying them as necessary. That’s the problem we face.

Pollin: Globally, 90 percent of fossil fuel assets are publicly owned. So if we say the problem of climate change is private ownership of fossil fuel assets, and we need to transition to public ownership, well, we’re 90 percent of the way there! So that clearly is not a solution. Even among “environmentalists” and “climate justice” types there is little sense of urgency and this will likely change in the coming decade:

Researchers say there’s now a 66% chance we will pass the 1.5C global warming threshold between now and 2027. The chances are rising due to emissions from human activities and a likely El Niño weather pattern later this year.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-65602293

* a focus on miniscule local GHG reductions (that are quickly overwhelmed by increased emissions elsewhere) is rationalized away as “movement building” while people in the global south die. localist environmentalists are going “movement build” all the 3 C.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

I would like to get to know you better, Pierre. You (at least your username) are fairly new to the bikeportland pages, but I think we agree on a lot. I’ve been saying a lot of this stuff here for more than a decade, but have pretty consistently been talked over by Watts /Clear-Eyed Realist and his prior incarnations with his Panglossian Techno Optimism.
But quite apart from this tiny if lively corner of the digital world, I think these issues deserve a wider airing. One thing I will disagree with you about is the role of local/individual actions. I have never and won’t claim that ‘by themselves these actions will save the planet.’ That is a silly trope and not really fair or interesting. But what I think individual actions have going for them is that those who engage in them with sincerity can’t help but learn something, probably lots. And once you learn those things—some stuff is easy, some stuff is hard, but by gosh I can actually take charge here and influence the shape and size of my ecological footprint—it is that much harder for windbags to tell you it is too late, or individual actions won’t scale, or it is too difficult, don’t worry your pretty little heads, experts will take care of this for you.
There is power in experiencing what it feels like to grapple with these issues on your own or with others.

John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  9watts

Same, and I want to add that partly I do my own little individual actions related to climate change just so I can argue with authority that it is possible. If I’m saying everyone should go around on a bike or take the bus, even if you’re raising a family, I want to have an answer when someone says “who could have the time for that? That’s unrealistic!” No it isn’t, and I know because I’ve at least tried it. We need to be making it easier with the national scale transformation Pierre suggests, which would make individual “choices” easier or default.

But then, the real windbags you have to watch out for is the ones who then say “nobody wants to make those choices, so that won’t scale”. Wouldn’t want to try reining in personal choices and freedom to drive the biggest truck possible, would we?

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  John

Thank you, John.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  John

No it isn’t, and I know because I’ve at least tried it.

I want to say that to everyone who uses a clothes dryer (which I’ve found I can happily live without, even when I lived in an apartment, even in Portland winters) or air conditioning (which I’m happily living without even in this heat wave).

But I don’t, because I know that what works for me does not work for everyone, and it’s not my place to be inserting myself into the lives of other people and telling them what they should and should not do based on what works for me.

What we need to do, and have started to do, is to make the more sustainable choices more palatable and more interesting to people, even those who don’t believe the underlying science for whatever reason.

I was reading about farmers this morning who reject climate science but are adding solar to their barns because it makes financial sense. Or people who helped jump start the electric car market by buying Teslas that were marketed as sexy exciting vehicles that were able to succeed in the market despite being electric, not because of it.

That’s how we move the needle, not by asking everyone to reject capitalism, ride a horse to work, and don a hair shirt.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Watts

But I don’t, because I know that what works for me does not work for everyone, and it’s not my place to be inserting myself into the lives of other people and telling them what they should and should not do based on what works for me.”

But surely you can appreciate that this is only one of many possible scenarios, reasons for exploring this territory, for getting our feet wet. And a rather clumsy foil at that.

No, to me the reason to challenge myself is is not to hector others but in taking this plunge, this leap of faith, I give everyone, myself included, permission to take this on. Society at large, opinion makers, the media almost never invite folks to co-produce solutions, explore independence from all these tightly coupled systems: lithium, fossil fuels, gas stations, Amazon, Facebook, etc.

To me it is categorically different than looking down on others, telling them to do X or Y; it is an invitation to take ownership of an all too easily dismissed-because-overwhelming topic. Because I experienced this small and unexpected success (say, biking-for-transport) maybe you will too, but in an area that was difficult for me (screen-free-time?) or whatever.

I see this landscape carved up into experts vs the rest of us. Most of what you invoke here, have suggested will save the day, is something experts or the market or some other elites may some day magnanimously bequeath to us, because profitable. I have low confidence in that, prefer self-generated, autonomous, homegrown solutions that because they are homegrown belong to me/us. Inspire because I did it, figured it out, not because someone in Taiwan or Silicon Valley decided they could get rich selling us this widget.

maxD
maxD
9 months ago
Reply to  9watts

100% agree! My choices don’t make a dent, but my choices show others that the choice is possible, and help create or maintain the possibility for others to make that choice.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  maxD

Besides, HelloKitty notwithstanding, how else would we propose to ever scale this up if not from the bottom? My actions certainly can’t be *counted on* to spark a movement, but sometimes those sparks ignite, and one pretty obvious way to prep for such a moment is to gain some on-the-ground experience, some practical knowledge, of doing without (a car, a smartphone, the internet, A/C or whatever), of developing skills around alternative, smaller-footprint strategies, some dirt under those proverbial fingernails. No one, not even HelloKitty, thinks this is going to be smooth sailing, easy peasy, so the better prepared we are, the more we have not just thought about this but actually tried stuff, the more likely we will
(a) inspire others,
(b) join a movement that should it arise have the potential for effecting larger change,
(c) make it through.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago
Reply to  maxD

My choices don’t make a dent

Local actions also don’t make a dent and their role should be to foster collective hope and to motivate national/global-scale direct/political action. Unfortunately, many liberals/leftists behave as if highly-local “success” is progress and this helps maintain the politics of incrementalism.

but my choices show others that the choice is possible, and help create or maintain the possibility for others to make that choice.

Prefigurative politics has a long tradition of success when it comes to ecological crises but this politics challenges core ‘murrican beliefs including that 1) individual actions are ego-driven virtue signaling and 2) that crises/tragedies are always someone else’s responsibility.

jakeco969
jakeco969
9 months ago

Bottom Line Up Front, there needs to be an existential change to meet the threat we have before us.
Do we even want to change?
Are we going to be ready to change our lifestyle drastically before “Lord of the Flies” isn’t fiction?
As Americans are we able to turn our back on all the things that swamp our electric grid? Do we need all the endless consumerism?
Is it time to embrace a more self sustaining rural (or whatever the new hybrid will be called) lifestyle where one is not focused on making money to buy things and give it to the government who redistributes it to wage war more brutally, but rather one where small groups of a few hundred people work (with their hands) in a co-op to produce the food and clothing they need and trade excess with other co-ops? Do we really need the giant tanker ships to move consumerism junk across the oceans spreading pollution and even more C02 in the seas and air?
Do we as a society really need the jobs that so many of us do which basically just push paper (or electrons) around and create value out of our imagination rather than in the food we eat? Do we think even more technology like robots, robot cars, landscape littering windmills, 6G then 7G will save us?

It’s all about the soil and the way in which regenerative agriculture can actually reverse the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

https://rodaleinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/Rodale-Soil-Carbon-White-Paper_v8.pdf

Here’s a good smorgasbord of articles if you’re interested in adding C02 back into the ground…..
https://www.ecowatch.com/?s=regenerative+agricultural

and a quick introduction to the Carbon Underground….
https://content.sierraclub.org/grassrootsnetwork/team-news/2019/12/carbon-underground-putting-co2-back-soil

I grew up in a commune (different than a co-op I realize, but similar) and we grew our own food and ate our own animals. I was 12ish before we even had a microwave. We did not put a strain on the grid. Are urbanites and by extension all the corporate farming which is destroying our C02 depositories by the minute, willing to give things up for a generation or two in order to stabilize the environment and then go from there to see what we can make of the world?
I don’t see why the focus is for all of us to live the exact same lifestyle as before except that the cars are electric while 10% bike and we still buy all the nonsense that modern society requires of us. That’s not going to save us. We have to fundamentally change our behavior in order to weather this coming storm.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
9 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

Do we even want to change?

Crux of the issue – and the answer is a pretty clear no.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
9 months ago

“Will we ever find the political will?”

No.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago

I think breathing life-shortening forest fire smoke and living through weeks of scorching temperatures (and equivalent ecocide-associated “weather” in other regions) a solid majority of ‘murricas will want to do something. I’m guess this will happen in the 30s but would love to be surprised.

Middle o the Road Guy
Middle o the Road Guy
9 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

A solid majority of Americans will want someone else to do something. They’re not going to give up their lifestyles.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago

The impact of the climate crisis will change the lifestyles of rich northeners whether they want it or not.

Political change often requires generational replacement and this will start to occur in the USA on a large scale in the late 30s and 40s.

Middle o the Road Guy
Middle o the Road Guy
9 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

Well, at least youre admitting the climate is going to change. We’ve already passed the tipping point – it’s not going to matter in 2040.

You can have all the generational replacement you want – the consumption habits of “rich northerners” (who continue to have children) are not going to change enough to make a difference.

It’s like a 360 pound person losing 5 pounds compared to a 120 person losing the same weight. The marginal difference makes it inconsequential.

Serenity
Serenity
9 months ago
  • At some point it will cease to matter whether there is political will or not. The only choices will be to change drastically, or not survive.
Middle o the Road Guy
Middle o the Road Guy
9 months ago
Reply to  Serenity

Indeed. So let’s start planning for the worst case. Nothing has indicated we’re on the Happy Path outcome here.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
9 months ago

If you care about climate change and live in the Westernized 1st world, stop having children.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago

Some day I hope you will explain why you are here.
You alternate between pissing in our cheerios and lobbing zingers at us from the sidelines. Where do you stand? What are you about? How do you grapple with the difficult choice we all or most of us face here, now?
Do you enjoy bikeportland (what specifically?) or just like jeering? I agree with some of your suggestions, like population is important. But your tone is pretty off-putting.

TheGutFingers
TheGutFingers
9 months ago
Reply to  9watts

Sometimes Middle of the Road Guy says what I want to say only more succinctly. i can’t speak for MotRG but I come hear to say my piece, what is in my gut when I read something. It’s rarely fully thought out but it’s what my gut says to my fingers to write.
I’ve of course been scolded by folks running the joint, so I’ve mostly kept my gut to myself knowing it’s not welcome because I don’t always follow the thoughts of the majority here.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  TheGutFingers

That is fair. And good to know.
But jeering from the sidelines and engaging in a conversation where, if it goes well, everyone comes away having learned something new, seen their ideas in a different light, are in my experience, worlds apart. The one is static: I know a fact that will make you wince, or show you to be a fraud, while the other is dynamic, the outcome uncertain, challenging.

One liners are funny on TV or on a bumper sticker, but when the subject is complex, nuanced, fraught (as I think this one is) one liners don’t really advance the conversation but feel static and aggressive to me.

PTB
PTB
9 months ago
Reply to  9watts

What is wrong with MotRG’s one liner here? What problem do we face that isn’t a resource demand issue? Add more demand, get more problems. More people on the planet will *not* solve any of our problems. Stop making more humans. At this point it just seems cruel to bring someone into the world to live a life that often feels like it could genuinely turn into The Road Warrior.

Someone I know, who I can speak frank with about stuff like this, had a second kid a few years ago (this is a couple, one with an advance degree, the other has a BS). The thinking was that if shit goes south, their first child would have a sibling to have as a companion to navigate through their dystopian world. On the one hand it’s sorta easy to say, “dude, that’s crazy, come on, things will be fine”. But also, ya know, it really might not be. I don’t think that was my parents thinking when my parents had my younger brother in 81. “When the water wars start it’ll be good if they have someone to survive with…”

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  PTB

What is wrong with MotRG’s one liner here? “

Nothing. I even agree with it, and said so. The problem (my problem) isn’t with that particular sentence; it is with a decade of these one-liners sproinged into the conversation, without any willingness to engage in a constructive conversation, some give and take, some context, some grappling with, for instance, how to realize that objective. Who could be allies? What obstacles exist? How did we get here? Etc.

It is fine if he doesn’t feel like participating in what I would consider a more constructive, everyone-can-learn-something-from-others-here, manner; I’m just registering my frustration with this Molotov-cocktail style: You are all dupes, but I know the code, and I’m going to beat you about the head with it.

PTB
PTB
9 months ago
Reply to  9watts

Fair. Point taken.

PTB
PTB
9 months ago

Thanks, Lisa. I’ll check out your link. This isn’t me trying to be a prick here; Cohen published that book in 1995, and 2023 is a hell of a long way from 1995. Even if he’d pondered for a couple decades about just how many people is too dang many, it surely must have come off a bit like a fun or quirky thought experiment for eggheads. Here we are, a day after hitting 108, what should have broken the All Time Portland high temp were it not for Heat Dome ’21. That’s insane! The old A.T.H. was 107. We have surpassed that FOUR TIMES in the last two years. July, the hottest month on the planet ever recorded, who cares? We still buy the hell out of massive pick up trucks, we still eat quarter pounders, we buy plastic junk, we move to Phoenix, we stay out of the river because it’s too warm and too slow to be safe to touch, our government still approves leases for oil and gas extraction, half the country thinks this is all “Gods Plan”, etc. We’re doomed. If Cohen’s questions and thoughts and writings regarding ‘how many people is too many people?’ can be boiled down to “living in what way?”, how is humanity gonna make it? It isn’t this way. Stop bringing people into this world. It’s inhumane and doing those that are already here no favors.

Apo

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  PTB

Cohen published that book in 1995, and 2023 is a hell of a long way from 1995.”

And much, much further from 1972 when the Rockefeller Report on Population Growth was published. The number of decades that have elapsed since we took no heed of what various Cassandras told us is no measure of their relevance/irrelevance.
As you say, humans as a species have a pretty poor track record. But short of giving up, jointly chewing on ideas here in the comments section not seem half bad.

jakeco969
jakeco969
9 months ago
Reply to  PTB

Don’t forget the insanity of us giving our water to the Saudi’s for there cows after they outlawed growing alfalfa in their own country. We’re in a lot of trouble if we think everything is so fine that we are (essentially) giving away a finite resource.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/arizona-saudi-arabia-farm-alfalfa-fondomonte-lease/

I think children are important now more than ever. In the coming economy physical labor is going to be more important and the promise of a comfy retirement will have faded away. We will need all the help we can get as we age and that help won’t be coming from anywhere else.

Caleb
Caleb
9 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

I’m in my upper 30s. As a teenager learning about our political right wing’s efforts to undermine social security, I quite firmly came to believe I’ll never be able to retire. That belief hits me harder every year.

OregonRainstorm87
OregonRainstorm87
9 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

don’t worry, the global majority people are still having plenty of children that will continue to migrate to white/western countries to do the work we don’t want to do… Most of those countries are going through population booms and flocking to cities.

White people with humungous carbon footprints can stop having kids any time now. Of course, no one on this page admits that their kids will be having huge footprints & contributing to massive waste, their kids are all angels who will grow up strictly biking, being vegan, owning only recycled hemp clothing, blah blah

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  TheGutFingers

 I don’t always follow the thoughts of the majority here.”
i think the phrase used to be echo chamber.

I never understood that critique. What do the majority here believe, as you see it? I recognize groupthink when I see it, but the conversations here have never to me resembled that. I don’t think of my comments here as easily falling either inside or outside this implicit line.

Serenity
Serenity
9 months ago
Reply to  9watts

If I were to guess, that is why MotRG is here,  alternately piss in your cheerios, and lob zingers from the sidelines. Some people just like to participate, without really adding anything

Ross Williams
Ross Williams
9 months ago

If everyone just stopped having children all of our problems would eventually go away. I think our goal should be to prevent that from happening.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago

Oh, but it goes so much deeper.

 The Rockefeller Commission’s 1972 report Population and the American Future whose report I have cited here repeatedly,
http://www.population-security.org/rockefeller/001_population_growth_and_the_american_future.htm

explores the subject of population growth in the US from a delicious number of angles. Fascinating conclusions, but the whole thing was sabotaged by the Catholic Church here in the US, made to disappear down the Memory Hole. Which is why you (most of you) have probably never heard of it.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago

The Report’s conclusion:
“After two years of concentrated effort, we have concluded that, in the long run, no substantial benefits will result from further growth of the Nation’s population, rather that the gradual stabilization of our population through voluntary means would contribute significantly to the Nation’s ability to solve its problems. We have looked for, and have not found, any convincing economic argument for continued population growth. The health of our country does not depend on it, nor does the vitality of business nor the welfare of the average person.”

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Lisa Caballero
9 months ago

No one, or religion, should be persecuted.

Take the Catholic Church, it was a common, knee-jerk trope, especially in the 1960s and -70s to blame the Catholic Church for overpopulation.

But people knowledgeable about population issues have pointed out that educating girls is one of the most effective ways to counter high rates of population growth. The Catholic Church educates a lot of girls worldwide. I had an Indian friend, Hindu, who used to say, “thank God for the nuns.”

Italy is a Catholic country which, last time I checked, had a negative population growth rate.

My point is, persecution is bad, and things aren’t always simple.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Lisa Caballero

to blame the Catholic Church for overpopulation.”

Just to be clear, that is not what I was arguing above.
My comments were based on the ideas quoted below:

According to Dr. Stephen D. Mumford of the Center for Research on Population and Security, “The causes and implications of population growth in America were cogently presented in the definitive 1969 report of The Commission on Population Growth and the American Future/The Rockefeller Commission in 1972.”[1]
Mumford states: “Had the 70 recommendations of the Commission’s report, Population and the American Future, been implemented, a comprehensive U.S. population policy would have resulted. America and the world would be a very different place today. Adoption of this policy would have provided leadership vital to coping with the world overpopulation problem. According to John D. Rockefeller 3rd, the U.S. Catholic Bishops threatened President Richard M. Nixon politically, and bowing to their pressure he disavowed this report. None of the 70 recommendations was ever implemented. The U.S. continues to have no population policy.”

https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Report_of_The_Commission_on_Population_Growth_and_the_American_Future

JaredO
JaredO
9 months ago

This is oversimplified and problematic.

If all the people who care about climate change don’t have kids, the next generation will be full of people who have learned by their parents not to care about climate change.

It’s pretty easy to imagine a situation where a kid does more to reduce pollution by their presence, values, and actions than the pollution their life produces.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  JaredO

“It’s pretty easy to imagine a situation where a kid does more to reduce pollution by their presence, values, and actions than the pollution their life produces.”

A familiar argument but I don’t think it holds much water. Wealth is a far better predictor of per capita climate impacts than anything else. Rich country kids will be the problem, by and large, and same for rich kids in any country. Besides any additional kid will take resources. That is a net addition.
The self-serving idea that my kids will have good climate values so it is important for me to have several is, when you think about it, kind of creepy, besides being highly suspect.

The most obvious thing w/r/t population growth we could do would be to stop subsidizing fecundity, reverse the pronatalist policies lurking everywhere.
https://www.population-security.org/rockefeller/001_population_growth_and_the_american_future.htm

John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  JaredO

Adopt a Republican!

I jest… unless?

Middle o the Road Guy
Middle o the Road Guy
9 months ago
Reply to  JaredO

Westerners will consume more resources – even the “nice” ones.

Ross Williams
Ross Williams
9 months ago

The original discussion was about traffic deaths. The City of Portland may be able to prevent some or all of those deaths. Nothing it does on the climate front will make enough difference to reduce deaths from global warming. Worse, this reflects one of the focus group tested talking points from the highway industry. That is the claim that we need wider and faster highways to reduce emission causing traffic congestion. Inb short the argument apparently is that PBOT should prioritize reducing emissions over making roads safer. I don’t buy it.

SD
SD
9 months ago
Reply to  Ross Williams

If we calculate Portland’s potential to prevent climate destabilization in ppm of greenhouse gases, then its contribution is minimal. Similarly, if we examine the individual impact of each of the three hundred and thirty million people in the US, each person’s effect is insignificant. Fortunately, these calculations leave out a crucial dimension in our capacity to avoid horrific outcomes. People imitate other people and cities imitate other cities.

Portland may look at itself as a leader in climate action by comparison to other US cities, but if we take stock of our potential and consider a global context, it is clear that we are failing to rise to the occasion. Portland must restructure its transportation systems to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and to eliminate traffic deaths. Dramatically decreasing unnecessary SOV trips and SOV infrastructure takes care of both.

If Portland demonstrates that a sizable US city can have a sustainable, humane transportation system, then it sets a standard. If PBOT just keeps wringing their hands waiting for significant change to happen, it will reinforce the illusion that Americans are helpless.

Mapps isn’t entirely wrong to ask for culture change, but he should seek culture change through innovation not wishes.

BTW, ODOT and the highway industry coopts everything.

jakeco969
jakeco969
9 months ago
Reply to  SD

So the short answer is “no, we don’t want to change our lifestyles to meet the coming storm” I can’t blame you, I don’t really want to either. Change is necessary though and it has little to do with adding a few percentage points of dedicated cyclists.

SD
SD
9 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

It’s weird because most people I interact with want to change their lifestyles, and do make changes to a certain extent, but the powerful and constant message that everyone is receiving and repeating is that what people do doesn’t matter- that most proposed actions that can be done at the individual level are inconsequential.

For example “adding a few percentage points of dedicated cyclists” isn’t going to fix everything, but it will happen if we are moving in the right direction and if that idea inspires someone not to drive, so be it.

Many of the easy changes that people can make are just replacing arbitrary habits that they didn’t actually choose in the first place, but were adopted from surrounding culture.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  SD

Exactly!

jakeco969
jakeco969
9 months ago
Reply to  SD

There’s nothing wrong with incrementalism. I agree it would be great if culture change causes more people to ride more often and use less comfort machinery, I just don’t think that will be enough for what is most likely coming. Drastic changes in food availability, ongoing extreme temperatures, mass migration of climate refugees and we can’t even manage to take care of the homeless/houseless we have now and of course degraded air quality.
I just don’t think North America is mentally or physically prepared for the changes it is going to undergo and those changes are going to be the new world.
When this change happens, it will only be the individual who can help themselves so it is unfortunate that your circle is hearing a message that individual actions don’t matter. Preparation and learning skills are important as is networking while we still have a system to network with.

Randi J
Randi J
9 months ago

Climate change and environmental protection In Portland has taken a back seat because voters here have elected ideologues and passed very flawed tax measures both overly obsessed with racial and social “justice” instead of efficiency and fiduciary responsibility. Instead of those elected and the people they hire (City of Portland & Multnomah County) providing basic essential services they have elected to virtual signal and allow disorder and poor city services.

We now have a dysfunctional city with record setting crime and one that doesn’t even have the skill set to water newly planted trees. Until we return to PRAGMATIC progressivism Portland is bound to continue its current downward trajectory.

https://www.wweek.com/news/2023/08/09/trees-planted-by-the-city-in-east-portland-two-years-ago-are-dead-because-the-city-didnt-water-them/

Lazy Spinner
Lazy Spinner
9 months ago
Reply to  Randi J

A-FRIKKIN-MEN!!!

“The City That Works” simply doesn’t any longer. Too much incompetence, cronyism, virtue signaling, and aspirational planning that never results in an actual project or the turning of dirt. We could have truly world class bike infrastructure and safe streets but let’s send a bunch of PBOT flunkies to Copenhagen one more time. We could have turned disused industrial buildings and parking decks into shelters but let’s allow the homeless and the addicted to foul our neighborhoods and parks because that preserves their dignity. Petty crime and organized shoplifting? Corporations and shopkeepers have insurance! Street racing? Let’s shoot drone videos of the problem but not arrest anyone for doing it. Graffiti? That’s not the calling card of street gangs rather, a creative and artful First Amendment expression!

I am so happy that the city council spends so much time, energy, and hand wringing passing statement resolutions as if those will suddenly cow everyone into treating climate change seriously. Let’s table all talk about civic improvements while we embark on a five-year study to understand why more people that identify as pansexual senior citizen alligator fetishists aren’t using Tri-Met more often. How about making World Naked Bike Ride Day a paid civic holiday? School remodels and staffing can wait until we have properly respected those that ride bicycles in the buff.

I also miss pragmatism and visible progress.

Serenity
Serenity
9 months ago
Reply to  Randi J

both overly obsessed with racial and social “justice” instead of efficiency and fiduciary responsibility.

you can’t tell me a very efficient, of safe society if you are constantly fighting amongst yourselves, and squabbling about which groups of people being different.

Serenity
Serenity
9 months ago
Reply to  Randi J

That was supposed to say “you can’t hava a very efficient, or safe society…”

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago
Reply to  Randi J

PRAGMATIC progressivism

Thanks for letting me know how center-righties who love corporations and the rich have rebranded. It’s weird how Portland’s pulling-themselves-up-by-their-own-bootstraps DINOs constantly rebrand. Maybe most Portlanders don’t actually support their policies (lower taxes on the rich and corporation while pretending to do something about “crime”).

It’s also sadly hilarious how bad center-righties are at their own law and order (fake) agenda. Please see the performance of SF’s version of “People for Portland” after they replaced a center-left DA:

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pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago
Reply to  Randi J

Fixed chart:

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Middle o the Road Guy
Middle o the Road Guy
9 months ago
Reply to  Randi J

Exactly. There is no credibility from the institutions telling us what to do.

Fuzzy Blue Line
Fuzzy Blue Line
9 months ago

At the risk of upsetting the BP choir I will simply mention there are actual scientists who have come to different conclusions on climate change & climate collapse. They don’t subscribe to the climate emergency and alarmist language and thus are ridiculed as climate deniers, Trumpsters, losers, the list of derogatory names go on and on. They risk their careers for coming to different conclusions than the cadre of “respected experts” of the day. I know next to no one on BP wants to hear that but they exist and they are not all crazy right wing nut jobs.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago

and they are not all crazy right wing nut jobs.”

but most surely are.

And the one or two that aren’t, are shills for the oil majors. Or can you point me to one or three who are none of those things?

Matt S
Matt S
9 months ago
Reply to  9watts

And here is exactly why we can’t have a civil discussion with those across the aisle. Your attitude.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt S

Listen,
I have been a student of climate change for twenty-seven years. The physics are not complicated. The carbon that has been locked away underground as fossil fuels used to be up here as biomass.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt S

Reintroducing all that carbon into the atmosphere over a geologically brief span of time has been understood broadly to have effects like we are now seeing since at least 1896. The fact that a few ideologues are left who wish to dispute this is droll but irrelevant.

Daniel Reimer
9 months ago

There are a whole host of reasons other than climate change why we might not want to keep polluting our environment.

SD
SD
9 months ago

There are actual scientists that dispute almost every clearly demonstrable scientific phenomenon. Often they have reached a point in their careers where they have stopped contributing meaningfully to their fields and become contrarians who are platformed for telling a subset of people what they want to hear or believe. It is typically glaringly obvious to people in science who these grifters are regardless of their political affiliation. I don’t know exactly who you are referring to, but the handful of people that I have seen denying the data that is pouring in everyday fall onto the delusional vs conman spectrum.

socially engineered
socially engineered
9 months ago

“Risk their careers”? Any scientist who convincingly refuted the scientific consensus on climate change or any other issue would be a shoe-in for a Nobel Prize lol

Watts
Watts
9 months ago

There isn’t much being proposed to fight climate change that we wouldn’t want to do anyway.

Even if you don’t believe that CO2 atmosphere increases the planet’s temperature, certainly you recognize that it leads to ocean acidification which is another huge problem.

Even if you don’t believe that burning fossil fuels warms the planet, switching to cheaper and cleaner sources of energy is a good thing.

The evidence is overwhelming that our activities are warming the planet, but our understanding of that question could absolutely be overturned if the balance of evidence tips the other way.

Right now, however, it doesn’t.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago

There are actual scientists who have come to different conclusions on climate change & climate collapse…They risk their careers for coming to different conclusions than the cadre of “respected experts” of the day.

This may come as a suprise to you, Fuzzy, but blog posts, youtube vlogs, podcasts and appearances on talk shows are not the same thing as peer-reviewed science. These “actual scientists” you uncritically follow lack evidence, falsifiable hypotheses, statistical validation, replication by peers, and peer-reviewed publications. In this respect, they are no different than “actual experts” who believe that JFK was shot by multiple soviet/cuban/chinese agents (or aliens):

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/meet-the-respectable-jfk-conspiracy-theorists/2014/09/19/b5eb28e0-3deb-11e4-b03f-de718edeb92f_story.html

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
9 months ago

Ah, if only they’re right. Wouldn’t that be grand?

I used to hope they were – I still wouldn’t mind it if they turned out to be right.

Trying to prevent climate change is a lot like saving for retirement.

We’re taking on faith that we’ll be around to spend the money.
We’re making life a bit harder (who am I kidding – at 25% of gross into my IRA a *LOT* harder) than it may otherwise need to be.
Also, it works best if you start a *long* way back before it’s obvious what you need.

It is entirely possible that I may contract cancer and die long before I can spend that money and may feel a bit of chagrin in hospice that I didn’t spend it on myself earlier.

How much worse to be in my 70’s, stuck in a job and place I don’t want to be because I didn’t save?

If I make it to 85 (common in my family) and all of this turns out to be overblown then I might feel regret at having (for instance) picked my retirement country based in part on a belief in climate change.

But, if the worst comes to pass and famine leads to large displacements, more intolerance because people don’t want refugees competing for more limited resources and more violence – how much worse to have never tried to stop it?

Or, as my focus has changed, to ameliorate the worst effects on my life?

jakeco969
jakeco969
9 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

Just an excellent analogy!
We had been looking at eastern adriatic sea countries personally, but think realistically with what we have it will have to be somewhere in far northern california. Really wish you the best with your relocation plans!