?

Log in

No account? Create an account
One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn't belong. - Lindsey Kuper [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Lindsey Kuper

[ website | composition.al ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn't belong. [Jun. 4th, 2008|11:45 pm]
Lindsey Kuper

How Obama wrapped up his remarks in St. Paul:

If we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.

Can you tell which thing is not like the others, before I finish my song?

This doesn't mean we shouldn't try our best to live and work and eat and travel sustainably. We should! But the ocean is going to rise. And it's going to fall, and then rise again, and then fall again. Regardless of what we do or don't do, or what we do or don't believe, it will happen.

LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: jes5199
2008-06-05 05:07 pm (UTC)
he did say "slow"
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-06-05 06:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I could give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he's referring to an unnaturally fast rise of the oceans. If so, I wish that he would have used those words. I think that if there's anything we don't need in the conversation about global warming, it's obfuscation and glossing-over.

I noticed that the Obama campaign left this last little chunk of the video off of the Obama website, so maybe they feel the same way I do.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jes5199
2008-06-05 08:06 pm (UTC)
to be honest, I don't understand your argument at all.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-06-05 10:44 pm (UTC)
I guess he's not factually wrong. It's more of a letter-of-the-law versus spirit-of-the-law sort of thing. It rubs me the wrong way.

I'm being picky, but when I vote for someone and give them money, I think I get to be picky and hold them to a high standard.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jes5199
2008-06-05 10:46 pm (UTC)
okay, but what's all this about the ocean?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-06-05 11:13 pm (UTC)
Wikipedia says it better than I can: the ocean is rising. I think this is not the kind of thing that we can solve, or even think about, in terms of a political "moment". I think we're doomed if we try to think about it on the same time scale as we think about ending the war and implementing universal health care.

We're probably doomed anyway, but let's talk about what we can do on a time scale that humans are capable of holding in our heads, y'know?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jes5199
2008-06-05 11:18 pm (UTC)
in other words: I prefer a candidate who rearranges the deckchairs on the titanic?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-06-05 11:44 pm (UTC)
Zing! No, I'm not saying I want useless things. I want a candidate who understands that we're going to have to evolve. I want a serious 50-year governmental initiative to reduce car trips. I want a serious 50-year governmental initiative to promote locally produced food. But I also want us to be realistic in terms of how much we can actually affect the sea level, and start thinking about how hundreds of millions of people will be able to relocate further inland one day.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: pmb
2008-06-06 02:13 am (UTC)
Well, I would say we can pretty realistically affect the sea level as much as we want in a very speedy manner. If we blow up several major volcanoes then we could drop ocean levels pretty darn fast (global dimming, leading to global heat loss - sort of a mild nuclear winter scenario), and if we decide instead to drop dark sand on all the ice we can find then we could go the other way.

It's a matter of giving a damn - which we clearly haven't for the past 7 years. (Although I do think that the act of giving a damn about the planet would probably preclude either of the above scenarios, and more realistic ones would be slower to take effect.)

Also, even more worrying, we don't really have 50 years with respect to global climate change. We have, like, maybe 5 or 10 max. After that, we're either diving into unprecedented territory for humans that has, in the fossil record, been correlated with massive extinctions, or we won't be, because we've made some pretty big changes.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: boojum
2008-06-06 03:13 am (UTC)
Heh. Last week I found myself lecturing my husband's CEO's teenage children on how there's always a solution to any political problem if you're willing to accept a worse problem than you started with. I think it extends to any real-world problem, just about.

Now I'm wondering how to do practical global dimming -- airborne particulates are bad for animals, including us, and lowered light levels are bad for many sorts of plants, but the overall notion is mysteriously seductive.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: pmb
2008-06-06 05:13 pm (UTC)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_dimming and http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/dimming_prog_summary.shtml should be of help. 9/11 ended up creating a great natural experiment about the effects of removing contrails from the air and their corresponding effect on global dimming by forcing the grounding of almost all air traffic.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jes5199
2008-06-06 06:45 am (UTC)
I guess I've still got some geoengineering optimism about using OTECs as a sort of global air conditioner. (Blame Marshall Savage. And Patri.)
But you have a good point: sometimes, we have failure. And not just failure of new ideas, but persistent, ongoing, disastrous failure. And, yeah, maybe a man that everyone compares to JFK is the right person to spark the environmental Apollo Project. But there's nothing that we can do that that guarantees that Miami and Alexandria will survive. But it's an open question: is it possible to speak hard truths in an election? Or are those the issues you must save for leadership-during-the-unexpected-crisis?

geoengineering at this point is a synonym for "let's try something extremely dangerous!"
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: gawm
2008-06-05 05:34 pm (UTC)
ZOMG ARE YOU IMPLYING THAT HUMAN BEINGS ARE NOT THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE????!?!?!?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-06-05 06:21 pm (UTC)
Don't tell anyone, but I heard a rumor we weren't even the masters of the earth.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sonetka
2008-06-06 04:20 am (UTC)
"Last, best hope"? I wonder if he's a B5 fan.

I have to say, reading the speech, I was a little surprised that he left out the part where he feeds 5,000 people on two loaves and five fishes and raises the dead :).
(Reply) (Thread)
From: ext_88853
2008-06-10 10:23 pm (UTC)

saw that too

Hey - I'm just glad I wasn't the only one who saw that "last best hope" bit and smiled a guilty geek grin of indulgence to myself.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jonatthebar
2008-06-06 06:47 pm (UTC)
When I read your post, I thought you meant that Obama was acting unlike every other politician in my lifetime by including anti-warming efforts so prominently in this otherwise traditional litany of Democratic priorities. Democrats have promised to expand care for the sick since Roosevelt, and about half of them have succeeded. "Good jobs for the jobless"? Does anybody really think the federal government can do that these days?

As far as the facts go, I'm thrilled to allow him a metaphysical interpretation of "began to slow" in exchange for that sort of prominence.

That said, I too wish he were asking us for more sacrifices than this abstract cap-and-trade stuff, and worry that (as always) he's setting expectations too high. I guess "unreasonably high expectations" might be part of that whole "part teacher and part advocate" thing.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jonatthebar
2008-06-06 06:48 pm (UTC)
So, to summarize: don't not criticize, but count your blessings! It's always like this. That's what I think.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)