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.

The Road Back to the Clear World

In the middle of the journey of our life
I found myself in a dark wood,
Where the straight path was lost. *

Only an idiot or a liar would deny climate change or fail to accepts its causes. The idiot can be excused for his ignorance. The liar is in league with the devil to his own, usually monetary, advantage.

The cost of reversing or possibly stopping or at least slowing the causes of climate change would be enormous, hitting nearly everyone, and it would be conditional upon humanity’s very broad willing participation. The cost, and not just the economic cost, of dealing with the effects of climate change unchecked would be catastrophic, and would be unconditional and unremitting upon everyone. One way or the other, world leadership must come together to lead the world like Dante’s Virgil through the depths of the coming Inferno. If they cannot, and surely many will not, do this, we are consigning our children and their children and their children’ children to the very depths of Hell – ultimate environmental collapse.

In our journey, there is a point of no return, a virtual River Styx, beyond which stopping the causes will be pointless, and our efforts will have to turn to salvaging the remains of diminishing life on the planet. So here are the questions:

1.  Do we spend our energies and economies on stopping climate change or preparing for its consequences, and if both, in what ratio? (defining the problem)

2.  Once that is decided, how most effectively and expediently can the world and its leadership be persuaded to undertake and continue the challenge? (planning a solution)

Do your own research. Develop your own conclusions. Act.

Here’s the hard part: We all live on this planet; we are part of its life. It is our only home in an unimaginably large, mostly empty universe, time only runs one way, and nothing out there can guarantee our survival. Self-preservation is the preservation of the whole. There are only winners or losers, not both. We all, every living thing and the planet itself, share responsibility for this home. There are no opt outs.

*  The Comedy of Dante Alighieri, trans. Tom Simone, Focus, Indianapolis, 2007, Canticle One – Inferno, Canto 1, ll. 1-3.

Minnesota Bat Chats

What you need to know and how you can use that information.

Presentation for all ages –citizens, naturalists and scientists – beginners to knowledgeable.

Why should people know about bats?

Bats descend from tree dwelling mammalian neighbors of the dinosaurs and remain intricately involved with our natural world today.

  • Bats represent a unique model of animal evolution over the past 75 million years
  • Bats play an important role in the balance of life and economy in nearly all parts of the world
  • Bats play an important role through insect control in agriculture and residential areas, saving billions of dollars every year
  • Bats and humans can coexist and even benefit mutually. We’re both part of the intricate fabric of life on this planet…the only home we have and share.

Batty About Bats

Kids love all sorts of animals – while they’re still kids. Adults not so much so. We’ve learned and accepted much about the natural world that is misleading, distorted or just plain false. This roughly 45 minute presentation honors kids’ openness and at the same time helps dispel some of the misinformation that actually threaten bats’ survival.

We’ll talk about what bats are found in Minnesota, some basics about how they go about their lives, what threats they may face, what we can do about it and most of all why it matters.

Audience: Family

Tri-colored bat, MerlinTuttle.org

Threats and Actions

Minnesota bats are under extraordinary survival pressures. Bats greatest source of threat comes from human activity, some of which has passed a tipping point and may spell the end for some species. That’s the shameful bad news, but there’s some good news buried in it; human activity could slow, stop, even reverse trends stemming from some of the threats.

We’ll talk about the range of threats and their mechanics, leading to actions we can take to help reverse the trends. 45 min.

Audience: Naturalists, wildlife advocates, farmers and general public

Little brown bat. Bat Conservation International

Amazing Bats: a two part short course

Bats are truly amazing, and their very long participation in the development of the natural world we live in today continues to matter very much.

This two part short course covers bats from the time of the dinosaurs to the present. Presented as two separate 50 min. sessions or over a two hour span with a break, the first part reveals the evolution and distribution of bats, and the mechanics of their flight and echolocation. In the second part, we look at how bat threats have changed and the specific threats now faced, and what we can do to forestall further harm.

Audience: Naturalists, scientists and serious enthusiast

Little brown bat, MerlinTuttle.org

Who Am I?

A retired Minneapolis English teacher and trained Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer. I grew up playing in the Delaware woods. My family relocated to Minnesota in 1958. At summer camp, I took an interest in bats as part of a project, but did little until reconnecting with my interest in the natural world after I retired in 2011. My interest in bats was reignited. I quickly discovered how misunderstood were these fascinating and fabulous creatures of the night and of the air.

 

Live presentations are free to not-for-profit events. If an event site is greater than 100 miles from Minneapolis, some travel cost must be arranged.

Contact me as below for more information and availability.

Jay C. Ritterson, jcritterson@gmail.com

 

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