I know that you two like to think outside the box, so I’d like to get your thoughts on the recent trend to regulate against including climate change or its effects in planning efforts. Seems like this idea is really gaining ground and I want to know if you think it will work. I’m really sick and tired of all the doom and gloom.
Looking out for simple escape routes
The Mavens like innovative thinking and we often encourage people to not just think outside the box but to realize that there is no box.[i] However we often also like people to develop solutions that are not reality-independent—that is we like people to create solutions that may actually work. The key is recognizing when you’re unnecessarily boxing yourself in vs. when you’re ignoring a fundamental physical reality. For example, you might think “I can’t possibly do any climate change work in my community because so many people rely on coal mining for employment.” That is an unnecessary box, and there are several examples of organizations or communities that “should” be hostile to climate change tackling the issue in real and productive ways[ii]. On the other hand, saying we don’t have to adapt to sea level rise because we don’t know whether the rate of sea level rise is going to increase or not is just trying to wish away a physical reality of our world.
I’m pretty sure I believe climate change is happening and that I should be doing something about it. I manage a boreal forest reserve and things sure seem different. But then I read the polls that say that some people aren’t sure it’s real and maybe it’s all the talk of dishonest scientists. Am I a dupe to believe its real? Should I actually do anything or wait to see how it pans out?
There are so many uncertainties in life. It starts at conception—will you be a boy or a girl? Your chromosomes know but your parents don’t. Then it plagues you through grade school (Will you get picked for the kick-ball team?) and high school (Will you get a prom date?). Every day decisions are rife with uncertainty (Should you bring a raincoat? Will the neighbor’s dog attack you as you begin biking to work?), as are bigger life decisions (Should you marry that person? Buy a house?). Rene Descartes famously struggled with his uncertainty about so grand an issue as the existence of God. He built a logic diagram that went roughly like this: