26 March 2010

The Precautionary Principle Cautions Us to Be Cautious

Have you heard of present-day trolls? (Not the kind that used to lurk under fairytale bridges, but certainly similar.) It's the term used for people who, for fun or money perhaps (I don't think anyone knows their motives for sure), show up in the Comments section of practically every blog, anywhere in the world, at all hours of the day and night, that mentions global warming and climate change — to cast aspersions on those who are concerned about the climate change emergency.

You can tell the trolls by the way they spew things like, "Where's your PROOF?" or "What's your evidence?" when the rest of us are trying to discuss solutions (and the evidence is so accessible, it's completely disingenuous that they keep asking us to track it down and present it to them — a time-wasting manoeuvre they like to use that came to light during the Hackergate thing).

So, to the trolls, a cautionary tale about caution. The "precautionary principle" doesn't insist on 100% proof or complete evidence (although the people already impacted by climate chaos must really wonder about the audacity of skeptics and deniers to keep questioning the existence of global warming).

The precautionary principle says that if there's a chance of harm, we'd better slow down or stop — not keep going with something harmful until we know absolutely, totally, utterly, perfectly, entirely, wholly, fully, thoroughly, unreservedly, definitely, certainly, positively, unconditionally, categorically, unquestionably, undoubtedly, completely and 100% that the suspected cause is indeed the cause.

Sober, intelligent and educated people don't play Russian roulette with their children's future. They just don't.

p.s. The trolls haven't found Compassionate Climate Action yet. Not sure if that means my blog is really small potatoes — or that they can't argue with compassion.

Here's a video from the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment (IonE) that explains all the reasons for caution and the precautionary principle. The only thing I disagree with is their call for low-carbon technology. If we don't get off carbon (ie, all fuels, aka The End of the Burning Age) and get to zero-carbon technology, well... let's just say that wouldn't be a cautious approach to avoiding climate catastrophe.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?