From Katharine Hayhoe, who I deeply respect, and from John Cook (*), scientists and the quantitative community have been scolded that the reason they don’t make headway with the public and the science denier community is because their explanations are too quantitative, that they are too wrapped up with physical processes and models, and mechanisms. Instead, some of these experts at communication argue, stories should be told, which reach across what was once called the two cultures divide.
Yet, even when that is pursued, voices familiar with the quantitative and with what, to them, are sounds shrieking danger at its highest (Hosanna!), find themselves adrift in a murky sea of counter-stories.
Nothing. They will not listen.
And, to me, the only remaining event which people might pay attention is if, on otherwise fine days along the East coast of the United States, people with expensive properties, in Miami Beach, in Boston, in the Carolinas and Maryland, find those properties suddenly awash in salty water, twice a day, and their property values rushing towards zero, beyond rescue of insurance, or FEMA, or the Biggert-Waters Act.
Then, as the great doctor Neil deGrasse Tyson points out, when people with wealth begin losing that wealth, they may want to pay attention.
Dr Tyson’s patient waiting is where I feel I am these days. I am tired of trying to communicate to people who just don’t want to listen, even if if they know how.
And, then, there’s the vital, defiant spirit of Governor Jerry Brown, of California:
One of the vices in the spiritual life is called tepidity. We’ve had a lot of tepid climate fighters, people who are not really telling the full truth. But there is a paradoxical benefit when someone takes to an absurd length a completely erroneous position. That so unmasks the error that it allows everyone else to refute it.
I’m not discouraged. I can’t think of anywhere else to be than in climate science today. Fights are fun. And this fight is big. And it’s gonna be attractive, and it’s gonna take a lot of smart people.
(*) I took Dr Cook’s course. It was fine as well as it went. But it’s suggestions for moving forward were, politely put, anemic.