Climate Restoration

It has been clear to most of us out here that our weathers have been erratic sometimes to the extreme. Many have passed this off as 50 or 100-year events. Such arguments may serve as a Band Aid for one event. Indeed, some of the events may have been just such events. However, tens, perhaps hundreds of different 50 and 100-year events in the past few years would seem to defy reason. Deniers however have been arguing unreasonably. Weighed against obscure and probably costly steps being called for to halt barely perceivable changes in the earth’s temperature, denial seems the only recourse. Feeling overwhelmed, many of us will withdraw to the battles we can realistically see, such as next year’s looming debt load or news of Chinese inroads into markets we had come to count on. This is the closest deniers are likely to get to reasoning out a response to the threat of Climate Change. Yet climate control advocates are using pretty complex, long-range reasoning to make their case of impending doom.
As Aristotle (Rhetoric) gloomily observed: logos demands the trained cognitive skill of understanding and weighing evidence; ethos challenges our egos to believe some know-it-all expert; but pathos fires our hearts to commitment and our hands to action. Using reasoning to bring the masses to action is an exercise in arrogance, while speaking from expertise may sway the uncommitted, but deniers will simply deny their lofty, authority. Pushing the right hot button, on the other hand, will spark the benighted to surge toward the light.
The downside of applied pathos is that negative emotions have already been triggered in the hardline hold-outs. For them, greatness has been defined as anything that was not what had been before: greatness as a negative. The strategy of appealing to the emotions was not wrong; it was effective, but its goal was malignant. What if current agencies appeal to a benign goal using the same emotions-based strategy?
I’m suggesting one simple alteration for the climate change activists’ program. Instead of declaring that climate change will doom us all, we could be endorsing climate restoration as a way to a better future. The goal is restoration, a hopeful word that also harkens back to an albeit romanticize way things were. The word “change” is threatening. We feel powerless under its uncertainty. The word “restoration” is promising. We feel hopeful in its confidence.
Agencies and job titles bearing terms, such as “Climate Restoration and Management” seem constructive, focused and orderly. We know that how we call things shapes how we feel about them, and how we feel about them determines how we respond to them when they call upon us. We cannot afford to forget how powerfully we have been influenced by words. Claiming that ‘actions speak louder than words’ may actually hide the power that some words, quietly repeated, had in leading to those very actions.
I’m ready to go. I won’t live to see much of our planet’s health restored, but I live every day hoping my grandson will not have to suffer from my inaction. Lead on into the light.

About Jay C Ritterson
If I say nothing, it might be that I have nothing to say.

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