This is Sidney Gale's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Sidney Gale's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Sidney Gale
Interests: writing, public service, ham radio
Recent Activity
Sidney Gale is now following The Typepad Team
Mar 15, 2010
Effective civic action and public policy must understand human emotion, and must respond to human emotion. But when it is founded on emotion, and not fact and logic, it is almost always destined to fail. One of the reasons that mitigation is failing to progress as effectively as necessary (which you know as well as I) is because we are doing too many things that make us "feel good", and not enough of the critical tasks that will accomplish good. Collectively, our actions are based more on emotion than logic and the facts. It is as bogus to sell Climate Change on emotion as it is to sell Hummers and McMansions based on emotion. Even if you succeed in the sale, you fail in the result. Am I devoid of emotion on this subject because I attempt to pursue it rationally? By no means. I become angry that certain officials at the highest level of our state government know very well the possible impacts that face us, but refuse to engage the issue meaningfully and publicly. I become angry at the thought that a state agency brags about "going green" by buying Renewable Energy Credits, which provide a fig leaf of credibility compared to what the same money could accomplish if invested in real conservation measures, which the same agency touts as the first line of environmental defense. While some people plant two hundred pinwheels to "symbolize" how much wind power it would take to power our capitol city (which is itself an unrealistic possibility), the Department of Environmental Protection could invest two years of purchasing RECs into purchasing one decent wind turbine which could be planted prominently at one of its three major state parks on the shore, and really do something to educate the public by example. And yes, when I visit our shore during a flooding event, and I give my imagination to the waves, and allow it to rise to the possibilities, it touches me with very definite emotions. When I watch people going about their normal lives on a street that could be under water in twenty to sixty years, I wonder what that transition will be like for them, or for those who unwittingly replace them. And when I look at our Town green on a warm November afternoon, and realize that it is conceivable that this center of 370 years of human heritage could be under water by the end of this century, I feel a sense of despair, realizing that you and I are making very little progress in preventing it. I am tired of folks who get an emotional high of 'empowerment' because they've changed all the lightbulbs in their home to fluorescents, when in truth those individual efforts, though necessary and important, will not substitute for strategic efforts of critical mass on energy and transportation and building codes and a dozen other issues that are institutional and don't respond well when they respond to the "squeaky wheel", generally driven by emotion. Soooo....when I'm not replacing fluorescents in my own home,and I try to influence the institutional forces that can bring critical resource and critical mass and critical impact to this issue, I strive to suppress my emotions long enough to think responsibly and hopefully act responsibly. And when the time comes that I can no longer do that, then its time to leave.