In our modern western world, life is very fragmented. We tend toward specialization. We are teachers, engineers, physicians, restaraunt workers, artists, politicians, et cetera,…and collectively, as a society, we provide all of the things we need for collective success. Some individuals find themselves able to become extremely skilled at what they do by concentrating all of their efforts in one very narrow area of expertise. They may do extraordinary work, and discover things that are truly stunning. However, there is a price to pay for this deep, but narrow, understanding of the world. People do not understand what their neighbors are talking about! Each of us have become specialists, with few common understanding of how the world works. This fragmented societal structure depends on trusting relationships between specialists and extremely effective communication.
Unfortunately, due to this imbalance in knowledge between individuals, there can always be a level of doubt felt by the larger party who is hearing, for the first time, the amazing discoveries of the highly specialized few. Recently, people motivated by things other than the pursuit of scientific truth, have learned that they can control the perceptions of the general public, by injecting large amounts of artificial doubt into the conversation. It is a tactic that has been used with cigarrette smoke for the past 60 years, as well as acid rain and several other hot button topics. Recently, this tactic of creating doubt is being used to control the conversation around climate change. For more information on this see The Climate Reality Project at the following address: http://climaterealityproject.org/
Unfortunately, if there are competing motivations among societal leaders, artificial doubt can be poison to the actual truth, despite any amount of scientific evidence.
The above video is fabulous because it bypasses the need to understand the topic deeply. It presents something that a minimally educated person can look at, and make a very good common sense evaluation. The truth becomes so visually obvious that one would be foolish to argue against it, and unsavory motivations become obvious. This is similar to what one feels when looking at the world’s population growth curve. It instantly becomes extremely obvious that we have a serious problem. To argue against it makes one look foolish – we obviously cannot continue to increase our population at the extreme rate that has happened in the past 150 years.
The Extreme Ice Survey uses time lapsed photography to make visually obvious what is happening to many of the glaciers throughout the world. The videos are amazing, and this TED talk features some of them. I am truly excited to see the Sundance movie that is advertised to be released this fall. It is very difficult to argue that the planet is warming with evidence like this. Enjoy the TED talk, and visit thier website at: http://www.extremeicesurvey.org/index.php/galleries/