|Graph shows result of ten efforts to measure global temperatures of the past thousand years. Source of graphic: Global Warming Art|
C4 presents as evidence the arguments of author Michael Crichton in a debate which he and his team "won," demonstrating that the challenges of what relatively minor climate changes might occur will be met by human technology and creativity. For his part, the bhikkhu quotes an article in New Scientist where it suggests, if nothing is done, we have a radically different planet in store for us. With his post, Ajahn Punnadhammo presents a map of Florida with a much diminished land mass.
Other buddhobloggers that I track that have posted “no crisis”-leaning posts are hokai of hokai’s blogue who posted an echo of C4’s post: Joshua Zader of Mudita Journal who posted “Putting Science before Politics” which quotes an article in the Chicago Sun-Times titled “Alarmist global warming claims melt under scientific scrutiny” and Matthew Dallman of The Daily Goose who quotes an article that says, “So why do the pessimists think we won’t adapt to another change in climate? Why are they hyperventilating about what is likely to be a relatively minor environmental shift?”
Meantime, those that see a real crisis ahead include, in addition to Ajahn Punnadhammo, Danny Fisher (of Danny Fisher) with, most recently, "On Buddhist Evironmental Activism," and also in “Vegetarianism, Buddhism and the Climate Crisis,” and last year's “Stop Global Warming”; and Sujatin (of lotusinthemud) with many posts on the climate crisis in recent months, including “al gore sees 'spiritual crisis' in global warming” and “world needs to axe greenhouse gases by 80pct: report.”
I haven’t tried to (and probably couldn’t) gather statistics to prove it, but my sense of it is that bloggers everywhere, including those in the greater Buddhist community, seem to see the climate-change issue through the prism of their political position. Buddhist bloggers who have a demonstrated liberal bent see a crisis acoming, while the more conservative among us are highly critical of evidence of a climate change or doubt what change in climate might come will present worrisome problems.
But why should that be!? Should not anyone’s position on whether there is or whether there ain’t a pending crisis be wholly determined on an objective basis, taken direct from the unbiased instruction of The Science Gods!? Should not the scientific consensus be the sole authority?
Perhaps rather obviously, this matter, like so many others, demonstrates that we tend to see what we are looking for. We diminish the significance of evidence we prefer not to see and place on pedestals anything that confirms our beliefs/suspicions/expectations or the beliefs of those in our political tribe. Thus, we inhibit our ability to look out on the world with objectivity, to see with clarity whatever is true.
Still, while I don't doubt all the Buddhist bloggers' global-warming posts come from compassionate hearts directing wise, truth-seeking minds, some of the posts that are being written are flat wrong and, fifty years hence, will prove to be ridiculous.
From my wet finger in the wind, I have been convinced that the bhikkhu, Danny and Sujatin are far the most correct here. A concensus has gathered. The scientific community tells us human activity is warming our planet and a crisis is nigh.