9 April 2019   Leave a comment

Meehan Crist has written an essay for The New Republic that addresses the issue of how we should talk about climate change without submitting to despair. She analyzes Nathaniel Rich’s essay for the New York Times entitled “Losing Earth” and David Wallace-Wells’s essay for New York magazine entitled “The Uninhabitable Earth.” Both essays were decidedly grim and unfortunately Crist does not deliver the goods: after finishing the essay I was still depressed about climate change. But she makes a very important contribution to the discussion by identifying how we should think about why climate change is occurring.

“Both books also tend to whitewash difference in an attempt to talk about a problem whose burden is not equally shared. Rich whitewashes difference to put all humans in the same doomed boat; Wallace-Wells whitewashes difference to curry hope. ‘Personally,’ he writes, ‘I think that climate change … flatters our sense of power, and in so doing calls the world, as one, to action.’ But power is an unevenly distributed resource, and not everyone is so easily flattered. Given vast disparities in wealth and risk, ‘we’ are not all facing the same threat, and yet people need ways to talk to each other about climate change.

“The real gift these books offer, then, is the dialogue they’ve prompted. Together, they serve as a reminder that we need to recognize what’s at stake in the stories we’re reading; what one perspective values, what another overlooks. Maybe, the truth can only appear in aggregate, arising out of an ecosystem of different kinds of stories that rub up against one another in surprising ways.

Identifying exactly who is at greatest risk from climate change–the weak and the poor are most vulnerable–requires us to think beyond our immediate circumstances and to confront our responsibilities to them.

The Pew Research Center has compiled data on the distribution of Christians and Muslims in the world and the information is highly illuminating. The bottom line is counterintuitive: “To put it another way, more than half (52%) of the world’s Christians live in countries other than those with the 10 largest Christian populations, while this is true for just over a third (35%) of the world’s Muslims. In absolute terms, there are twice as many Christians (1.2 billion) as there are Muslims (609 million) living in countries that are not on their religion’s top 10 list.”

The interesting implication of this data is that both Christians and Muslims will become increasingly dependent upon political ideologies emphasizing tolerance–a condition which does not closely mirror current trends.

Exit polls in Israel suggest that the election is too close to call with Netanyahu and Gantz’s parties neck and neck. We may not know the final results for many days since either one will have to organize a coalition. Israeli politics are the most complex on earth as the chart below from The Economist illustrates.

Posted April 9, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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