I’ll be speaking at the Ethical Society of Austin this Sunday, November 2, on “The Ethics of Carbon”.
The Ethical Society is a humanistic religious organization dedicated to personal ethics and reason, committed to the idea that each individual has inherent worth and dignity and inspired by the ideal that the supreme aim of human life is working to create a more humane society. I’m an active member of this group.
Coffee and pastries are served at 10:00 a.m. The meeting starts at 10:30 a.m. The location is at the Austin Museum of Art campus at Laguna Gloria, which is at the cul de sac at the very western tip of 35th Street in central Austin (shown as ‘Bull Creek Rd’ on this Google Map).
After the meeting there is a social hour. This is a time for visitors, friends, and members of ethical culture to get to know each other better. We clump together into smaller groups where we continue to discuss the day’s program, catch up with each other’s lives, or simply engage in pleasant conversation over a potluck lunch.
What I’m going to talk about is the ethical implications of global warming for our lives, if we assume that what climate scientists are saying is correct. For what it’s worth, I do believe what climate scientists say is essentially correct, but defending that is not the point of this platform.
I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding of what the global warming situation implies for how we will live in the future. I think it’s fundamentally an ethical question, and inescapably a political one as well. It’s also complicated. It’s both daunting and fascinating.
A crucial point is that we can’t solve this as individuals, with “personal virtue” alone. As Al Gore said at his Nobel lecture:
“There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We need to go far, quickly. We must abandon the conceit that individual, isolated, private actions are the answer. They can and do help. But they will not take us far enough without collective action.”
Of course, collective action often goes wrong, and we can’t afford too many mistakes on this scale!
There are two main questions in thinking about global warming; whether the scientific basis of this way of thinking about nature is basically correct is one of them. That gets most of the attention but that’s not the topic of this platform. The topic at hand is: presuming it is true, what are the implications, especially the ethical ones? There are a few more inconvenient truths that politicians and the press don’t like to mention but that need some attention.
Visitors are welcome, and there will be time for discussion. I’d appreciate an RSVP from anyone coming on account of this blog posting. I’ve got a few readers in Austin and the I-35 corridor according to the logs that I haven’t met. I’d be delighted to make your acquaintance.