What Fresh Hell Is This?

December 20, 2011

Vaclav Havel On Climate Change

As yinz probably already know, Vaclav Havel passed away on December 18.

Coincidentally, he and I were born on the same day - but that, is neither here nor there.

I wanted to point to something he wrote in 2007:
OVER the past few years the questions have been asked ever more forcefully whether global climate changes occur in natural cycles or not, to what degree we humans contribute to them, what threats stem from them and what can be done to prevent them. Scientific studies demonstrate that any changes in temperature and energy cycles on a planetary scale could mean danger for all people on all continents.

It is also obvious from published research that human activity is a cause of change; we just don’t know how big its contribution is. Is it necessary to know that to the last percentage point, though? By waiting for incontrovertible precision, aren’t we simply wasting time when we could be taking measures that are relatively painless compared to those we would have to adopt after further delays?
We can’t endlessly fool ourselves that nothing is wrong and that we can go on cheerfully pursuing our wasteful lifestyles, ignoring the climate threats and postponing a solution.
And finally:
We must analyze everything open-mindedly, soberly, unideologically and unobsessively, and project our knowledge into practical policies.
I wonder if, in writing this editorial comparing and contrasting Vaclav Havel with Kim Jong Il, if they knew that he wrote all that. I mean they do end the editorial with this:
Mr. Havel rose to prominence after the Soviet-led invasion of 1968. The communists sought to silence Havel by jailing him numerous times. But it only drew more attention to his works and led to some of Havel's most insightful essays.

As Soviet dominance waned, Havel was the right man at the right time to help free Czechoslovakia.

We mourn the passing of Vaclav Havel. But we celebrate the beacon he powered.
Considering how little of the news (the actual news - not the right wing noise that passes for news in the right wing press) they seem to understand, I would doubt it.

1 comment:

EdHeath said...

You know, so many issues are addressed with the concept of striving for a sustainable world. Carbon emissions come from, by definition, limited resources. As we are going to have to start using less eventually, why not start now (and spur some technological development in green power sources). Havel's 2007 essay was very wise (for a non-scientist, which, of course, I am as well). Every time someone says 'the ANWR can furnish our oil needs for X years' I always think, what about X plus one, and suppose our great-grandchildren need that oil? I don't think sustainable means turning Amish per se, although they are pretty close to a sustainable society. But I think that use of computing technology and the internet are wise ideas for continuing to maintain worldwide connections, and for shopping for all specialty goods. You could recharge your Smartphone from a VAWT.