We few, we happy few: blogging about climate an activity for the brave?

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers[1];
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed [2]
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks [3]
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Sometimes it’s worthwhile to stop and reflect on things.

In this case, a recent article in ECOS magazine noted that blogging about climate change as an activity “for the brave”:

“Everyone from world leading climate scientists at NASA to fossil-fuel lobbyists, journalists, politicians, campaigners, activists and countless other global citizens are writing thousands of posts every day. Unfortunately, some of the most popular blogs have misrepresented the science – sometimes innocently and sometimes not. However, some scientists are taking up this communication challenge.

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute, started his blog Climate Shifts after seeing a ‘growing distortion of the information’

What me, brave?

Crazy brave perhaps.

The article sums up the war of words bloggers conduct – variously labelled deniers, alarmists, warmers, pro-science advocates – every day.

For those of you writing and blogging you know it’s a hard fight. There are days when you want to throw up your hands in the air:

  • “Seriously, the polar bear argument!?!?” [4] [5]
  • “You’re actually denying there’s a natural greenhouse effect!?!?”

Many of us blog out of conviction. No one asked us to sacrifice the time and energy. And what do we often get in return?

The nasty emails, the derogatory comments by the army of denialist commentators. The constant battle against a never-ending tide of disinformation and sheer stupidity. It is easy to feel despair reading yet another article from The Australian or Herald Sun that misrepresents and attacks science (and scientists).

Then there is the fear one develops as you immerse yourself deeper in the science. No wonder people want to deny what could happen.

I question myself: am I doing enough? Does it make a difference?

But, as tough fight as it can be, it’s a worthy battle.

John Cook, of Skeptical Science fame, notes his reasons for blogging in the article:

‘I have a 10-year-old daughter,’ says Cook. ‘The latest science tells me she’ll see 1 to 2 metres of sea level rise in her lifetime. I want to be able to look her in the eye when I’m an old man and say that although my generation dithered on acting on climate change, at least I tried to change things. That motivates me.’

My reasons are similar. I have a two-year old daughter: what world to I give to her?

And then people will thank me in posts or in email.

It’s then I think to myself: “I’ve made a difference. There is one person who feels more informed about the debate.”

Notable milestones

I started this blog five months ago.

If you’ve visited or commented, thankyou. Yes, even the “climate change sceptics”. At least I understand your world view better, even if I profoundly disagree.

Milestones for this blog:

  • 115 posts since February 2010 when I started WTD
  • 550 comments
  • Just shy of 17,000 “hits”

This isn’t one of the big guns in the climate debate, but I hope I’m holding up the rear-guard and firing off some shots that make a difference.

I like to think of myself as one of the many ordinary citizens trying to make a difference. It’s the sum of our activities that can change things.

We few, we happy few.

We are also many.

[1] And sisters…
[2] And those from the Pacific, North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, South America…
[3] Does that mean what I think it does? See footnote one..

9 thoughts on “We few, we happy few: blogging about climate an activity for the brave?

  1. JG says:

    This isn’t one of the big guns in the climate debate,

    Quite so. But your efforts are making a difference, and the blog’s growing to become a valuable resource. Keep up the good work!

  2. You’re certainly doing a good job! I look forward to keeping up-to-date with your effort when I check my reader, and by the sound of your stats, your getting your voice out there (much more than myself – probably just shy of 2000 hits in around as much time).
    As you know, my motivations are very similar with my son. On top of that, I see a lot of the peripheral issues as part of my job and it upsets me when I realise just how deep denial runs. This next century will be one for the history books for all the wrong reasons. It is these reasons I feel compelled to write, read, argue and also provide what I can about this amazing world – before it’s all lost for profit.
    Anyway, I’m not sure if it’s bravery or if comes down to being the right thing to do in the face of unjustified inaction.
    Keep it up Mike!

  3. Adam says:

    Keep up the good fight. The battle against ignorance and superstition is not going to be an easy one.

  4. Phil M says:

    Your doing good work here. Ive emailed many people & linked to your site of late, so heres hoping you only attract more people. Great blog.

  5. DaveMcRae says:

    You’ve written some good stuff – thank you.

  6. Phil M says:

    Posted this on another blog, but thought it was worth repeating here .

    Some forehead slapping stuff from the dynamic dunces Michael Duffy & Paul Comrie-Thompson idolizing Anthony Watts on their conservative radio program Counterpoint :

    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/counterpoint/stories/2010/2920304.htm

    They & Watts talk about surfacestations.org like it is something new & was never ridiculed by NOAA:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/about/response-v2.pdf

    And they also have amnesia it seems when it comes to the fact that the 2010 Menne paper thoroughly debunked Watts & in fact showed there was a net cooling effect & even when all of Watts so called suspect stations were taken out of the picture, the trend was still up. Idiot.

    http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/v2/monthly/menne-etal2010.pdf

    Sadly for humanity & Australia, Watts will be here this weekend, reminiscent of the Monckton carnival sideshow.

    http://www.climatesceptics.com.au/watts.html

    Incredible how they just continue to regurgitate the same arguments over & over, despite the numerous debunks. I guess they figure, if they throw enough mud & just keep throwing it, regardless of being wrong, that some may believe them & the rusted on believers will simply gloss over the fact they have been proven wrong, all in the aid of perpetuating their lies.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Thanks – I’ve been thinking conservative elements of the media would get excited by Watt’s tour. Well worth watching, I’ll comment on this and other stuff soon.

      Cheer

  7. davidpj says:

    Keep it up. I fear that the past decade or two have only been the start of a very long fight to debunk misinformation and communicate good science and necessary action regarding climate change.

    I also fear that it’s not going to be something we can ‘win’ in any useful sense of the word – more just make it less bad. A major part of my motivation is that, no matter how effective it is for me to talk or blog about climate change, it’s something I feel is morally necessary! I imagine that if I had a child it’d be even more acute.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Thanks, and I agree. We’re not going to “win” this debate. Even with the water pooling round their feet from rising sea levels, the deniers will still insist there is nothing to worry about.

      What we can do is keep their influence in check by fact checking, debunking and exposing their tactics.

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