All entries for Thursday 05 January 2006

January 05, 2006

What is your dangerous idea?

What is your dangerous idea?

That’s the question edge.org has posed to leading scientists, journalists and cultural figures for 2006. Last year’s question was “What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?" which I commented on here. With 119 entries, there’s plenty to look through. Here’s a clip from Oliver Morton of Nature magazine who disagrees with those who think Earth itself is at threat from climate change.

many people in the various green movements feel compelled to add on the notion that the planet itself is in crisis, or doomed; that all life on earth is threatened. And in a world where that rhetoric is common, the idea that this eschatological approach to the environment is baseless is a dangerous one. Since the 1970s the environmental movement has based much of its appeal on personifying the planet and making it seem like a single entity, then seeking to place it in some ways "in our care". It is a very powerful notion, and one which benefits from the hugely influential iconographic backing of the first pictures of the earth from space; it has inspired much of the good that the environmental movement has done. The idea that the planet is not in peril could thus come to undermine the movement's power. This is one of the reasons people react against the idea so strongly. One respected and respectable climate scientist reacted to Andy Revkin's recent use of the phrase "In fact, the planet has nothing to worry about from global warming" in the New York Times with near apoplectic fury.

See the entries in full here.


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