07 July 2013

What Would Dr. Seuss Say About the Climate Change Emergency?

Back in January 2012, soon after the 2011 UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, Grist asked "What would Dr. Seuss say about climate change?" (See Michelle Nijhuis's article here.)

Today, in the interests of lightness and love (there's so much sadness in the world right now that no one needs me ragging on about the state of the planet), I'd simply like to share my contribution to that conversation. (You might have to fiddle and twiddle a bit to get the Cat in the Hat rhythm going.) 


I think the good doctor would have called for compassion!
Instead of our dithering, hand-wringing and dashin'
From meeting to meeting, from summit to COP
He would have decided to simply yell, Stop!
Start placing the needs of the children at centre
And remember, on Earth we are all just a renter.
Stop giving subsidy money to fossil fuel corps
Redirect it to renewables before it all warps.
Create a future that's safer, cleaner and brighter
And for the sake of your kids, be a climate change fighter.


  1. I don't know about compassion as a solution so much as a spur to action. That means one had better be clear about what actions are recommended given the circumstances described by this educator :

  2. Hi Opit,
    It took me a while to figure out that your comment wasn't in Dr. Seuss rhythm! Anyway, thanks for writing. Yes, definitely, compassion can act as a spur to action (and I wish it did).

    I believe that compassion can also serve as a solution in that if we put the most vulnerable at the centre of all our decisions and choices, we will start heading in the right direction.

    Now usually I don't give voice to deniers (the fellow you linked to) because they're loud enough on their own without my help. But I was intrigued by how that fellow conflated so many different things and painted them all, simply through conflation, with the same brush. How can one compare the sleight-of-hand that is our globalized economic system with, for example, the discovery of ozone depletion? That's comparing apples and jackfruit, for heaven's sake!

    Also, and I see this often, that fellow is an Earth scientist. Many of the deniers and skeptics are physical scientists (physics, chemistry, geology) - I wonder if it's because, through the reductionism in our education system, they left behind their understanding of the interconnectedness of life and ecosystems long before getting their PhDs.

    Skin cancers kill people. Ozone depletion is an attributable risk. The Montreal Protocol was successful as soon as Dow Chemical had come up with their replacement, HCFC - which is a potent greenhouse gas.

    I swam and canoed in Killarney Provincial Park (near Sudbury) in the 1980s. The lakes were clear as clear can be. Dead. Nothing green in them. Great for swimming, bad for ecosystem health.

    So, back to compassion. If burning fossil fuels today means creating an untenable atmosphere for our children's future, then let's get to zero carbon as quickly as possible. We know how to do it in ways that create jobs. Are there unintended consequences? That's the thing we have to be vigilant for, with compassion in our hearts.

    Thanks again for taking the time to write!


I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on compassion as a solution to the climate change emergency?