In one of my very occasional breaks in gardening, I sat down with Tea Mug and watched a bit of Wimbledon. At one point the camera was switched so that the people on Henman Hill were in view, and they all started waving, at the screen! It struck me that this was odd, but not odd. Of course we want to see ourselves waving, but we wave to other people don’t we? So they should have been waving at the camera?
When using my web cam I have the same problem. I want to talk to the person on the screen so I look at them, but this means I am not looking at them, I am looking at the screen not the camera.
So what on earth has this to do with Transition? When I spot dilemmas in thinking, or decision making, I try to see if I make the same kind of errors elsewhere. So what would the parallel situation be in terms of Green behaviours, or Resilience. It seems to me that there is an analogy here. We tend to be looking for evidence when trying to decide what to do, should we do one thing or another. The problem is the evidence becomes more important than the desired outcome. If the evidence for bullying in the classroom is the number of reports of bullying then we may too easily be satisfied that reports are going down, but bullying may be going up! The bullies are intimidating the reporters.
So how would that stand in relation to CO2? Well, as any Greenhouse grower will tell you, CO2 is a good thing to have. With new technology growers are pumping the CO2 from engines used to generate heat into the greenhouses and this increases growth rate in plants. The problem for the earth is it acts as a Greenhouse Gas, letting rays of energy from the sun down to the earth as light and preventing them escaping at a different wavelength when they come back up. Clouds do this too but they are not such bad boys as they bounce energy up before it hits the earth as well as bounce it back from the earth (which is one reason nights are warmer with a cloud cover.
In many ways it is better to get evidence of temperature rise, this is the big danger, but the problem is how distributed the temperature is, in the air and just as importantly, or even more important maybe, in the sea.
The problem with the sea is the ocean currents, water is at its most dense (heaviest) at about 4C, so colder and it rises and hotter it rises. At the poles the water is hottest down below whereas at the equator it is hottest at the surface.
A lot of the dispute about global warming is in one sense about ‘waving at the screen’, the suggestion that there is too much concentration of effort on the data we can find rather than the data which tells us we are in real danger.
This was very clear in what was reported recently in some press about the possibility we could enter an ice again, not a period of global warming. This reminded me of my teenage years when all the worries were about a possible ice age ahead.
Waving at the screen is a capture on how we behave, it suggests we need to stop and think sometimes. Do I want to see myself waving or do I want to wave to other people. Do I want to see myself doing good or do I want to see good being done. Life is not easy when it comes to change, and occasionally, we need to ask, am I waving at the screen?