Being a scientist is not a putdown. How strange, in these years of the revenge of the nerds, this time of huge respect for engineers and programmers, that scientists are urged to be ashamed of ourselves.
Today, Revkin says
The more I talk to social scientists and psychologists about humanity’s growing pains in its current population and appetite surge, the more it’s clear that the “market failures” described by economists examining environmental issues derive from fundamental patterns of behavior rooted deep in the brain.
Right. So, what grownups do, in circumstances like that, is exert cognitive pressure from the frontal lobe to overcome atavistic appetites. This means that the reason to stop emitting carbon is because we have way too much carbon sitting around loose already, not because there will be an economic boom from making windmills.
Speaking as a boomer, the self-indulgence of the boomer generation was curative of a very restrained and fear-driven generation that came before us. We called them “uptight”. But we sold the society on emotional fulfillment at the expense of responsibility. We did too good a job of curing what ailed us.
If we don’t revisit the notion of collective responsibility and sobriety soon, our descendants will pay a heavy price. The people to lead the way to restoring this balance would be scientists acting very much like scientists do.