Today in lecture we talked about the community of Isle de Jean Charles, which has been rapidly lost to a combination of rising seas and land subsidence from oil infrastructure. Many of the residents of Isle de Jean Charles have lived there for multiple generations, and are being forced to leave due to the rapid loss of land. I asked during the lecture: what would it be like to lose your hometown? Here, I’d like you to put some first person narrative to this. Imagine in the year 2051 your hometown has to be abandoned due to climate change effects, and you’ve returned to move your and your family’s things. How would you feel in that moment? Do you feel a deep sense of loss, or is this just another opportunity to move on? What memories (in this future self) come up as you say good bye to your home? Answer this question in a personal narrative in 150-200 words.
The denialism tactics we discussed in lecture were used by the tobacco industry starting in the 1960s, and by the fossil fuel industry starting in the 1990s. Consider the biggest social issues happening in the US and the world today: the COVID pandemic, gun violence, racism, wealth inequality, immigration, etc. In any of these issues, do you see evidence of denialism tactics taking place? Give specific examples, and assess whether these have been effective in preventing progress on the issue.
Today we introduced the topic of eco-anxiety, the sense of “fear about environmental doom” (American Psych. Assoc.). Have you, or have you been, experiencing some form of eco-anxiety? If so, how does it manifest for you, e.g., what do you dread? If not, why do you think others may experience eco-anxiety? Finally, reviewing the strategies for coping with eco-anxiety described in this week’s review source “Coping with Climate Change Distress” (Australian Psych. Soc.), what strategy do you think is most effective for you or others in dealing with eco-anxiety, and why?
Today we talked about environmental organizations, including the Green New Deal at UCSD. The last entry of the course Resource List provides a partial list of current large environmental activist organizations. Explore the websites of 2 or 3 of these, and compare their goals, strategies, and demographics of its members. Which of these do you think is most interesting to you and why? Which do you think might still be around in your imagined future and why? Your answer should be made in 150-250 words.
Today in lecture we talked about changing behaviors, and the various ways described in Choosing Effective Behavior Change Tools that we can convince others (or ourselves) to change a behavior. Think of one bad behavior or bad habit you have; e.g., staying up too late watching TV, procrastinating on schoolwork, not exercising regularly – Prof. Burgasser does all of these! How is that behavior reinforced by one or more of the processes discussed in lecture? And how could that behavior be changed through one or more of these processes? Answer this prompt in 150-250 words.
Today in lecture we watched the video “The River is Me”, about the establishment of personhood for the Whanganui River in New Zealand (you can find this video under the “Additional Recommended Readings” for Week 8 in the syllabus). Imagine that in your future world of 2051 many different environmental “entities” had been given legal personhood status – rivers, valleys, mountains, oceans, the atmosphere, etc. What kind of legal actions do you expect would arise in such a situation with regard to climate change? Would glaciers sue fossil fuel companies? Would forests sue cattle ranchers? Would people sue the rising seas? What might be the result of such legal actions? Answer in the form of a news article of length 150-250 words.
In today’s lecture, we talked about various way to approach mitigation of climate change through the factors of population, affluence, and greenhouse gas intensity, and found the last to be the least problematic approach. Instead, imagine the world of 2051 in which reduction of the first two factors – population or affluence – had been pursued instead of greenhouse intensity. What would have been the unintended consequences of that approach? Would it even have worked? Note: this kind of speculative fiction is an important way to work out the consequences and outcomes of policy decisions.