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By Sherry Listgarten

What is your climate personality?

Uploaded: Aug 11, 2019

People react to climate change in different ways. How do people in our area think about it? Do we accept it? Fight it? Fight against the fight against it? Are we optimistic? Depressed? Anxious? I have very scientifically (not) created a taxonomy of ten different “climate personalities”, described below. Take a look, decide which of these most closely reflects your thinking about climate change, then enter your choice here. Voting is anonymous, and you can select more than one “personality” if that fits best.

The last day of voting is Tuesday, August 20. Results will be shared on Sunday, August 25.

Update: Results are available here.

Naturalist. Species come and go. Mankind is just a blip in the grand scheme of things. We humans don’t plan well, we don’t collaborate well, we are emotional and short-sighted. So it’s arguably appropriate that we are roasting ourselves into oblivion. Nature will go on, in some form, without us. It’s sad, but I’m at peace with that. I’ll go along with whatever our leaders want, but I’m not making any big changes on my own. We’d just be delaying the inevitable.

Concerned. I am worried about climate change. If I think about it too much, I get anxious. I just wish we knew how to fix it. I am voting for people who care and will work to lower our emissions. And I have or will be getting an EV, maybe solar, and we recycle everything we can. But it is all a little overwhelming. People are telling us to stop flying and stop eating meat and stop buying things, and it doesn’t seem reasonable or achievable. We need the scientists to figure this out, to make things more sustainable. I think things will make more sense in a few years -- there is a lot of change right now. If not, we'll look at making more changes then.

Voice of Reason. Everyone knows that the climate is changing, and that much of that right now is due to human activity. But in the past it’s been due to natural causes, so people need to stop over-reacting. Climate changes, it always has and always will. Weather is complicated, and not every storm or every drought is from climate. The press has to sell papers, but they should stop the fear-mongering. We will figure this out, but let’s take our time, not make it any worse with bad science, and nail down the big issues before we start making changes.

Impatient and On It. We have been too polite about this for too many decades. It’s past time to act. People do not understand the scale of what’s happening or the pace at which it is happening. Every year matters. And it is not rocket science. Tax carbon. Build clean power. Reduce fossil fuel usage in cars, buildings, and industry by half in the next 10-20 years. Eat less beef and dairy. And build adaptations asap for the coming droughts, fires, or floods, depending on where you live. Our household has made big changes, and will make more, and we encourage others to do the same. It is unconscionable that our political leaders are not being more assertive on this. Of all the times to stand up and make a difference, this is it.

Just Let It Be. Yes, climate change is a problem, but these people that think government can fix it are deluded. Government has never fixed anything, at least without a lot of waste. Worse, some people are exaggerating the problem so that government will step in to solve all these other problems they want it to solve. Green New Boondoggle is what they should call it. This has to stop. We know that animals and plants and even people will adapt to the changing climate naturally. When cleaner technology is developed, people will move to it on their own, as they are already doing. These activists have got to get out of the way and just let the natural processes take over. That is how we will get through this.

Depressed. Climate change is a big worry. Worse, no one agrees on what to do. You have all the Republicans who don’t want to do anything, and all the Democrats who want to change everything at huge expense. We can’t get along when things are going well. And now? I don’t see how anything good is going to happen. I just get really depressed when I think about it, so I try not to.

A Brighter Future. Climate change is tough news. On the bright side, though, we have an incredible opportunity to make our planet a much nicer place to live 50-100 years from now, or even sooner. This is the time to reinvent our energy and transportation infrastructure, our manufacturing and agriculture, clean up our planet, and find gainful employment for all people. This is a chance for people with all skills -- engineers, social scientists, politicians, mechanics, economists, farmers, everyone -- to really make a difference. Our future is bright, and this is exactly the kind of problem we humans are made for. We are smart, creative, adaptable, and passionate. We just have to embrace this time of change. I am doing everything I can to get people on board, to take action, and to look ahead with optimism.

Not Our Problem. This whole thing is so frustrating. We are one of the cleanest nations on the planet, if not the cleanest. And our population isn’t even growing. It’s all the developing nations that are the problem, growing like crazy, burning all the coal they can find, and driving more and more dirty cars, buses, and trucks. They have to stop. Until their population drops by say half, and they stop all of their pollution, there is no hope for the planet. It is out of our hands. I hate to say that, because I like to fix things, but that is the reality, however much we may want to think otherwise. Pretending like we can make a difference is just a waste of time and money.

Doing My Part. I worry about climate change. Not just the physical impacts, but the societal ones. At the same time, I don’t believe in miracles. I like scientists, I have friends who are scientists, but they are not miracle workers. So I am making changes. I’m flying half as much as before, I eat red meat just once a week, I set my thermostat at 65 in the winter, and I’m switching to an EV, plus biking more. I know some people say it’s a drop in the bucket, but the drops can add up to a big difference and they take effect right away. The changes I’ve made are not a big deal -- they feel pretty normal already -- and it’s good for the planet. Why do people object so much? This is too important to leave to scientific discoveries, or the hope that our political leaders will somehow figure out a way to get along. That would be great, so I do hope, but at the same time I care, so I’m doing my part.

Yet More Bad News. The papers these days seem filled with an endless stream of bad news, and this is just one part of it. So, yes, it’s bad, but so is everything else. I don’t think the climate changes take precedence over the misery in so many places, the endless wars we are fighting, the sky-high medical costs, the jobs that don’t pay enough, and all the rest. It’s just one more thing that we are going to muddle on through. Or not.

All righty, those are your choices! Which is your climate personality? Vote here! The last day of voting is Tuesday, August 20. Please vote only once, and only for yourself, though I encourage you to share this article with others. I will have results for you on Sunday, August 25.

Update: Results are available here.

Current Climate Data (June/July 2019)

Global impacts, US impacts, CO2 metric, Climate dashboard (updated annually)

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