I hadn’t heard the song before Dan put it up on the ever-wonderful Migrations, but I love this song. It’s good to actually hear something with some substance (unlike the HUGE disappointment the new Ataris album, Welcome to the Night was). I have to agree with Dan, however, in that just “waking up” is not appropriate at this stage of the game. He writes;
I understand focusing on one issue, but I’m not content with just “waking up” on the issue of climate change. The issue is larger than that – we as a society need to operate less on superstition and magical thinking, and more on facts and reason. Yet we still live in a society where the popular discussions of science are dominated by global warming skeptics, creationists, and Right-wing (for a lack of a better term) bioethics (e.g. the stem cell issue); about one in six Americans is scientifically literate. Why is this situation tolerable?
Indeed, just being aware there is a problem is no different from being complacent. Even so, I think there are plenty of people in the scientific community not pulling their weight to communicate how important ecology is to everybody, and the popular media constantly fumbles the ball through error or giving cranks and crackpots “equal time.” A free press is not about making sure everyone has equal time; it’s about reporting honestly and accurately. Anyone can criticise any given point, but not all criticism is equal. When it comes to climate change (and ecological destruction, which has been going on for far longer in general terms) no one is innocent, and people need to hear how we are at a critical time when it comes to preserving ecology. Perhaps one of the most striking images from Gore’s film had less to do with climate and more to do with population; there are more than 6 billion people on the planet, the result of a tripling of global population in one generation. Such fast growth does not come without consequences, especially when many of us require far more resources than we need to survive (we may be small in relative terms, but in terms of the resources an individual consumes we have no equal in all of history). Hence, not only does the public and government officials need to “wake up,” but more and more scientists need to speak out about important issues like global climate change, evolution, etc., otherwise we’ll simply be left to lament our own complacency.