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Climate Reality Project
September 13, 2011 12:26 PM   Subscribe

"24 Hours of Reality will focus the world’s attention on the full truth, scope, scale and impact of the climate crisis. To remove the doubt. Reveal the deniers. And catalyze urgency around an issue that affects every one of us.” — Al Gore on the worldwide event to broadcast the reality of the climate crisis. The Climate Reality Project will live stream starting at 7pm CT on September 14.

In preparation for the 24-hour marathon of climate change presentations, the Climate Reality Project has prepared a few short videos to amusingly communicate how dire the situation is.

The Fat Lady Sings
The Denial Hits the Fan
The Making of Reality
posted by netbros (47 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I never really understood climate change until someone made some youtubes of literalized clichés.
posted by rusty at 12:28 PM on September 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


The problem is only people who aknowledge global warming will watch it. Do you think a non-believer will really watch Al Gore? Highly unlikely.

If anything it will only make non-believer fortify their position of denial. Al Gore is not the PR person we need to convert non-believers. He assumes people are rational and open minded about this. Now that it has been a showered in politics, its no longer a simple enviromental topic, but a political one and we all know how polarized politics are.
posted by amazingstill at 12:31 PM on September 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


" To remove the doubt." - good luck with that
posted by zeoslap at 12:31 PM on September 13, 2011


"Surely, this...."

-- Al Gore
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:31 PM on September 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Reveal the deniers?" Fantastic. Nothing makes pointless political theater more exciting than a bit of good old naming and shaming.
posted by koeselitz at 12:33 PM on September 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


To be a denier, don't you have to have... like... denied? So what is there to reveal, exactly? Is there going to be revelation of secret deniers? People who have held denial in their hearts?

Cause I'm gonna have to be out of town tomorrow cause I have a thing, you know.
posted by rusty at 12:43 PM on September 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Six comments in, and apparently, denial is all anyone's got.
posted by notyou at 12:46 PM on September 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do you think a non-believer will really watch Al Gore? Highly unlikely.

If anything it will only make non-believer fortify their position of denial.


Indeed. His presence in all things climate change makes it extremely easy for his erstwhile political opponents to write off the whole issue as librul claptrap.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:48 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do you think a non-believer will really watch Al Gore? Highly unlikely.

I do believe global warming and climate change are happening. I still don't want to hear or see Al Gore.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:48 PM on September 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


We are so fucked, aren't we.
posted by odinsdream at 12:49 PM on September 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yeah, good luck with that. Nothing will convince people of something they don't want to believe.
posted by Rykey at 12:50 PM on September 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


odinsdream,
More so than you could possibly fathom. The human brain cannot accept just how fucked we are without going insane, as if in the presence of The Old Ones.
posted by daq at 12:52 PM on September 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


The human brain cannot accept just how fucked we are without going insane, as if in the presence of The Old Ones.

Don't drag us into this. You crazed little apes wrecked this planet WAY ahead of schedule - the stars aren't even going to be right again for another century or two.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:54 PM on September 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


> Do you think a non-believer will really watch Al Gore?

Certainly climate change is happening. Certainly I will not watch Al Gore. I hope he trips on his shoelaces one day and steps on himself with his own enormous carbon footprint.
posted by jfuller at 12:55 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


They're making the mistake of approach this like it's a rational discussion.

Playing within the rules isn't going to get us anywhere, we need to remove the economic incentive, or we're never going to get anywhere. Without massive economic change, all we can really do is continue to run around waving our arms in the air, until even we ourselves lose confidence in our own sanity.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:04 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reveal the deniers.

Spiler alert: don't watch the Republican primary debates!
posted by brain_drain at 1:09 PM on September 13, 2011


Or possibly even a spoiler alert!
posted by brain_drain at 1:13 PM on September 13, 2011


Stagger Lee: "we need to remove the economic incentive"

Please explain how you will convince China and India to "remove the economic incentive".
posted by falameufilho at 1:30 PM on September 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's great, but let me give you 3 tips.

1. It's better to start the PR as early as possible. With just over 24 hours until this event starts, there's a high probability that many of the people who might be interested have already made other plans. I watch more PBS than all other TV put together, live in San Francisco where Al Gore's Current TV is based, am actively interested in climate change and have been conservation-conscious my entire life, and this is the first I've heard of this. For something this important, I'd like enough warning to make time for it, instead of being expected to drop everything to help create a high-impact marketing campaign.

2. I know all about the problems, but I hope the proposed solutions amount to something more concrete than 'we must do everything we can ASAP or we are doomed you guys,' which is what I'm getting from their website. I was thrilled when the US government gave a >$500 million loan guarantee to an innovative solar power manufacturer to build a large factory and create many green jobs right here in the Bay Area. I was rather less pleased to see the company go tits up last month, lay off 1000 workers (never having made its goal of hiring 4000), and be mired in an FBI investigation. Although this is not the fault of any single political party, it's emblematic of good intentions gone wrong as much as any defense boondoggle. Environmental campaigners need to take dollars as seriously as degrees, and sell their economic arguments more aggressively.

3. I have to say find it kind of insulting to be told 'this is my wake up call' and ordered to go out and promote it to everyone at short notice. I've been recycling since the 1970s, walk or take transit everywhere, and have a tiny carbon footprint, so if I find this horribly patronizing it's probably not going to connect very well with people who watch Fox News or drive the largest SUV they can find. The big Youtube ad in the middle of the page doesn't come with a volume control, so when I clicked on it I got high-decibel Al Gore blasting across the room while I looked frantically for a way to turn the volume down but wasn't able to find one. This, and the conspiracy-exposing tone of the video itself, only contribute to the widely held perception of climate change action as a purely ideological cause. I see the rationale, but we've been trying the apocalyptic tone thing for a long while now and it doesn't seem to be working all that well. Just for a change, I would like sometime to get a message like 'tune in to hear about the great progress we've made, despite the challenges that remain.' A little more talk about arguments won or environmental quality preserved or dollars made/saved would go a long way towards selling the idea that there are rewards to climate action besides simply staving off impending doom. I have a friends who's a Republican but who's also an ardent promoter of climate action because he runs a green technology investment fund. We differ about things like the role of government regulators vs. market actors, but that's OK because we would both like to see a cleaner and more efficient energy infrastructure. A little more 'fuck yeah cleantech' and a little less 'oh noes fossil fuelz' would go a long way towards persuading people. Global warming's not my fault, I'm tired of being told I need to feel guilty about the fact of simply having been born in a moderately developed country over a century after the industrial revolution got underway. Talking up the good stuff sells a lot better than talking down the bad stuff.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:33 PM on September 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


You crazed little apes wrecked this planet WAY ahead of schedule - the stars aren't even going to be right again for another century or two.

Hey, we were promised nuclear chaos, dancing and shrill piping. If the Old Ones could move beyond astrological gridlock, we could have had this party started a long time ago.
posted by yeloson at 1:41 PM on September 13, 2011


If anything it will only make non-believer fortify their position of denial. Al Gore is not the PR person we need to convert non-believers.

Alas, this seems very much to be the case. I've spent just enough time among the deniers to encounter with amazing frequency the belief that Al Gore actually instigated research into climate science. Or funds it. Or directs it or conducts it. Or something.

(I've also spent just enough time among the deniers to know that their incoherence is a work of art in its way. A late-period messy-drunk Jackson Pollack, to be sure, but utterly original nevertheless . . .)
posted by gompa at 1:43 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Plants and animals migrating upward as climate changes
posted by homunculus at 1:46 PM on September 13, 2011


Scientist left speechless as vast glacier turns to water
posted by homunculus at 1:46 PM on September 13, 2011


Interesting, its Crispin Porter + Bogusky -- as far as I can tell from the names on their blog posts. You'd think they'd work this better - haven't seen it anywhere either.

Also, reading point #2 of anigbrowl's comment reminded me of a book I am reading (or rather the third in a series or is it a trilogy?) by Kim Stanley Robinson - Sixty Days and counting. Sort of a last minute run around saving what's left of the planet. I liked the gentle humour of Forty Days of rain.
posted by infini at 1:48 PM on September 13, 2011




Hey, we were promised nuclear chaos, dancing and shrill piping.
posted by yeloson at 1:41 PM on September 13 [+] [!]


Didn't that happen in the early 80s?
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:49 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


deniers why does this word make me think of nylon stockings?
posted by infini at 1:49 PM on September 13, 2011


> among the deniers

Calling V. S. Naipaul. Here's your sequel.


> A late-period messy-drunk Jackson Pollack, to be sure,

Tangential to the thread, but can anyone imagine that when Pollock was pissing into Peggy Guggenheim's fireplace he was not pissing is a squiggly Jackson Pollock pattern? Certainly he was. Lost masterpiece!
posted by jfuller at 2:53 PM on September 13, 2011


Do you think a non-believer will really watch Al Gore? Highly unlikely.

Agreed. We need more videos from insurance companies, property brokers and real estate agents, farmers, timber and forestry companies, and more.

The astro-turfing has posited the "debate" as one between eggheads & hippies against business & Joe Public. I cannot find the link, but I read an article last year about how denialists found information from business figures more persuasive than climate change info from scientists. It sucks, but there it is. The good news is that there are heaps and heaps of businesses that not only believe in climate change, but are already taking steps to factor it in to their business models - and in some cases that means significant outlays.

When mild skeptics can see that the people who believe in climate change are heterogeneous and putting their money where their mouths are, I think we will see some movement on the issue.

Additionally once carbon trading schemes become more entrenched if not global (god only knows when the US will get on board, sooooo backwards), and people see that:

a) It doesn't actually cost them much, and indeed there are some opportunities
b) Signs and costs of climate change become ever more clear
c) Low Carbon products become ubiquitous, cheapish and popular (already starting to happen)
d) Low Carbon industry gets more money and a bigger voice with which to compete against polluters' PR

Much of this will die down. And not a moment too soon. I mean, it's already too late, really, but I would rather slam into a brick wall at 20km/hr rather than 80.
posted by smoke at 5:43 PM on September 13, 2011


Ray Anderson died last week, by the way; the Economist had a nice obituary. This is the sort of thing I have in mind when I talk about positive examples.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:53 PM on September 13, 2011


Al Gore has something like the Midas touch: any climate change initiative he's involved in is instantly drained of credibility. It's possibly not his fault, but he could probably turn the whole thing around tomorrow if he'd just fuck off to a condo in Italy and never be seen again.
posted by sneebler at 6:36 PM on September 13, 2011


Scientist left speechless as vast glacier turns to water
The comments in that article speak volumes. The first two (and others) are change deniers. There are a few commenters who challenge them. Let's call it a 50/50 denier vs "accept the science" ratio.

But the comment voting system shows an overwhelming thumbs down on the deniers and thumbs up on the accepting of climate comments. Which is nicely representative of what I see elsewhere: the vast majority of people accept climate change as reality but do't stridently defend it. But those against are quick to voice their opinion. Sigh.
posted by NailsTheCat at 7:24 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


sneebler: “Al Gore has something like the Midas touch: any climate change initiative he's involved in is instantly drained of credibility. It's possibly not his fault, but he could probably turn the whole thing around tomorrow if he'd just fuck off to a condo in Italy and never be seen again.”

But that would defeat the whole purpose of this! You've got to remember the cause that Al Gore is fighting for, the object of his crusade: to keep himself in the news as long as possible so his speaking fees can stay high, and – most importantly – so that people worship him as some kind of climate savior.
posted by koeselitz at 10:39 PM on September 13, 2011


I find it hard to believe that anyone takes climate change seriously. 24 whole hours? I'm beginning to wonder how much people who claim to be sane really care about this amazing planet.

Real leadership would be fully engaged, urgently and with a scope and scale that would dwarf WW2. Obviously we don't have any.

Instead we fret about the economy - point fingers - as if it matters. And babble about politics, as if it were real. And go about life just as if we knew that it would go on, somehow.

Only this isn't pretend.
posted by Twang at 11:22 PM on September 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, after a pretty intense association with the campaign, here's how I see it.

1) We have a problem that's going to kill a lot of people. Probably more than any other problem in human history. This problem is huge, systemic and complicated.

2) We need to be galvanised around this issue, which is real to the best ability of humanity to determine.

3) Every attempt to solve this problem is met with America's historical political and cultural tendency towards maintaining the status quo so that powerful people can stay in power.

4) Al Gore is a powerful person. He ran for and technically got the presidency of the United States of America.

5) As such, he's already illustrated that he can be bought. That he's spent a lot of time in the room listening to the concerns of the very people he's apparently now seeking to attack. This removes a vast amount of his credibility.


I agree that this interesting tack to take, it's a complicated problem, our response however should be simple, like most of our actions of self-interest. Sadly, we've complicated our own ability to determine a consensus response to the point of insanity. Yet another incidence of a simple fact: Democracy would work if we weren't allowed to campaign. If it was left up to us to make up our own minds from the source material.

Personally, I see Al Gore and the Climate Reality Project like I see the majority of American political processes, an extremely dramatic way of keeping the populace too tired and frustrated to actually do anything or really care. The vast majority of American politics are in my mind, entirely dedicated towards blurring lines between incredibly important issues and incredibly irrelevant ones, towards keeping everyone talking and no-one doing.

For example, it's sad that every time someone on either side of the debate engaged with Creationism/Intelligent Design, whatever their motives, they ensured that there's a cultural divide between a huge amount of the populace and the scientific community that is their best and only hope for survival if anything really bad happens. It means that when we have any real problems, we have no ability to see them coming. I can absolutely see a situation where a meteor is hurling towards the Earth and all we do about it is argue over whether it God's Will or not.

The upshot of it is, Al Gore may be wasting our time, but only because the vast, vast majority of us on both sides fo the debate all refuse to actually make an effort to do even the most minimal amount of changes to our lifestyle or to have even the slightest bit of worry about our grandkids, even as hurricanes begin to smash the world and tsunamis begin to flood it.

If we actually all did something, the idea that we'd have to have a guy like Gore give us environmental tips would be completely ridiculous. As it is, I'm going to listen to him, it's better than not.

Oh, and here's the website.

http://denialhitsthefan.com/
posted by rudhraigh at 7:48 AM on September 14, 2011


The upshot of it is, Al Gore may be wasting our time, but only because the vast, vast majority of us on both sides fo the debate all refuse to actually make an effort to do even the most minimal amount of changes to our lifestyle or to have even the slightest bit of worry about our grandkids

If you have grandkids to worry about, you've already committed the worst crime against the environment. The problem, first and foremost, is the human population.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:44 AM on September 14, 2011


Al Gore Shuns Rick Perry, Outs the Host on Colbert Report
posted by homunculus at 12:49 PM on September 14, 2011



If you have grandkids to worry about, you've already committed the worst crime against the environment. The problem, first and foremost, is the human population.


I know this line of thought is like catnip for certain segments of mefi, but can we please give this facile canard a rest? The problem - in regard to climate change - is not the human population, it is that we are releasing too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in too short a time. There are many, many ways of addressing this that do not preclude grandchildren, ffs.

Get off the high horse; that kind of thinking is immature, simplistic, self-defeating, and smug. This problem deserves better.
posted by smoke at 5:08 PM on September 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


No, it really doesn't. It's the entire problem. There is no environmental problem that is not made worse by adding to the human population. Perhaps that's just too much of an inconvenient truth for some, but that doesn't make it any less true.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:15 PM on September 14, 2011


Oh weird! I just learned I know someone connected to this! (One of my best friends is working on the lights for this -- he's committed to the project, but is a bit...disappointed that he is on the 11 pm - to - 11 am shift.)

Is it weird to be more inclined to watch out of moral support?...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:21 PM on September 14, 2011


Is it weird to be more inclined to watch out of moral support?...

No weirder than watching it as a spiteful waste of electricity.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:25 PM on September 14, 2011


No, it really doesn't. It's the entire problem. There is no environmental problem that is not made worse by adding to the human population.

Way to prove my point. Which problems? Where is the population growth occurring? What is the curve with growth and environmental problems? Is that curve consistent with different populations and different problems? Is there no way of having population with growth without environmental problems? What if you only have one child, and they only have one? That's not growth yet you still have grandchildren.

This shit is complicated, and homilies do not capture the complexities. Climate action will not happen by shaming people for their everyday choices; there is waayyyyy to much of that in the discussion already. Further it is an insidious thinking that actually buys into denialist propaganda, namely that personal actions are a significant and valid way of combating climate change. This is false. Individual and consumer action is no substitute for political and legislative action.

The other denialist tactic this thinking buys into is the idea that mitigating climate change is impossible without huge cost and disruption in people's everyday lives. That change will be monstrous in scope and painful in execution. This is also untrue. Life is going to change a lot in the next 90 years, but an urgent and comprehensive climate change response doesn't have to hurt, and its individual burden will be small.

Grandchildren are neither here nor there in this discussion. And all that banging on about it does is further alienate people who may have been on the fence, make them feel the problem is overwhelming and that they are helpless, and make them feel judged and found wanting. In short, not helpful.
posted by smoke at 7:18 PM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which problems?

All of them.

Where is the population growth occurring?

Everywhere.

What if you only have one child, and they only have one? That's not growth yet you still have grandchildren.

Unless deaths surpass births, it is absolutely growth. One more person is one more person, regardless of how many siblings it's got or who its parents are.

Further it is an insidious thinking that actually buys into denialist propaganda, namely that personal actions are a significant and valid way of combating climate change. This is false.

Yes. That sentence is false. Quite eggregiously so. Thanks for admitting it.

Individual and consumer action is no substitute for political and legislative action.

Indeed. Imagine what the state of the planet would be without China's one child policy. (Hint: Worse.)

But the fact that legislation is necessary to get things done once and for all doesn't mean individuals don't bear any responsibility for their own actions. After all, let's face it: Substantial legislation ain't gonna happen any time soon. In the eternal meantime, individual action (or inaction, as the case may be) is all we've got, so...?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:07 PM on September 14, 2011


Sigh. I guess this is my point illustrated exactly. People will literally go to the ridiculous level of engagement of actually debating the number of children they have before they address the very simple question of whether they should personally make Climate Change an actual fact that influences their daily decisions. The habit is ingrained in American discourse. Go for the extreme and make the middle of the road seem ineffective and pointless by comparison. It's like watching a massively obese person eat with absolute resignation to their own early death at this point.

Like, I get it. The more people you have the more apathetic consumers there are. However, a better and more realistic answer might be:

Stop being an apathetic consumer. Vote based on who's making actual changes. Demand that people stop discussing why and start discussing how. Agitate. Shout. Disturb. We all know the drill, the funny thing is that the current media landscape is focused on obscuring the reality that social revolution comes from the bottom up, not the top down. Change starts when everyone starts shouting about the right thing that everyone agrees with, not when someone just starts shouting really fucking loudly.

I mean, we all know that regardless of what's going on in the world, you're gonna have as many kids as you want to have, so why even waste the limited time we can apparently spare from our current fashionably prevalent functional apathy to discuss it? Surely there's a point where we have to realise that even the most hardcore of apathetic point of view requires action if the insinuated payoff is worth it. Surely instead of battling over who's right and who's wrong about why climate change is happening, we should be more focusing on ending the problem instead of apparently either condemning the detractors or changing the subject? I mean, I really don't see why the hell is this problem is any different to the billions of other species level problems mankind has solved?

Evil Nazis =WWII, Polio = Worldwide Vaccine, Lost has not Plot = Keep rolling it out over 7 seasons till people can't remember why they expected explanations.

Can't we say, regardless of what's causing climate change, that it's going to fucking destroy our way of life and just genuinely look at where we are and what we can do to save ourselves?

Just sayin'.
posted by rudhraigh at 12:33 AM on September 15, 2011


Wow. Al Gore doesn't seem too popular here.

Here's a question: Assume you're Al Gore. You've got access to some of the world's top climatologists/researchers/filmmakers/whoever. You passionately believe - you *know* that you have to do something. What do you do?
posted by jhandey at 3:25 AM on September 15, 2011


Assume you're Al Gore. You've got access to some of the world's top climatologists/researchers/filmmakers/whoever. You passionately believe - you *know* that you have to do something. What do you do?

I'd fund somebody who people would be more likely to listen to.
posted by Rykey at 5:23 AM on September 15, 2011


I'd fund somebody who people would be more likely to listen to.

Well, to be fair, the poor guy's all but abandoned his political ambitions at this point. It doesn't look like he's planning to run for elected office again, and he genuinely seems to believe that the most important thing he could be doing with the rest of his life now is to try to promote awareness surrounding the issue of the current man made climate disaster.

Truth is, in America, we're quick to dismiss, mock, marginalize or demonize anyone who publicly champions liberal causes anymore, not just celebrities. It's a knee-jerk thing.

Once anyone starts becoming too closely identified with an issue, the PR assassins get to work, feeding dubious gossip and exaggerations to the press to undermine the individual's support. Once you identify a single human face with a cause, it does become easier to discredit the cause by attacking the individual--but on the flip-side, it's easier to rally people around charismatic leaders than around abstract ideas.

Ever since we gave up on Baseball, liberal-bashing has become America's number one pastime. (It's almost a good thing Paul Newman died when he did, because I suspect even he wouldn't have been able to stay above the fray for long.)
posted by saulgoodman at 7:14 AM on September 15, 2011


I'd fund somebody who people would be more likely to listen to.

Then they'd follow the money, find out you were funding this person, and dismiss them as being bought and paid for by you and your liberal agenda. No good.

What might finally convince people is that insurance companies believe in climate change.
posted by cereselle at 12:47 PM on September 15, 2011


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