Is David part of the problem? / by Jonathan Thomson

Last weekend, I went to a series of talks put on by the Somerset Wildlife Trust. Of the 4 speakers, 3 had played central roles in the research and publication of the recent IPCC report on Climate Change. One of the speakers had been awarded a Nobel prize, for his work on Climate Change science. The talks focussed on Climate Change and its impact on flora and fauna, and all 4 talks were revelatory - in the worst possible way!

My summary of the headline facts:

  • We are almost certain to hit 1.5 degrees C of warming (above pre-industrail averages), by 2040.

  • Current modelling shows that we are destined to reach 4/5 degrees C of warming (above pre-industrail averages), by 2200.

  • At 3 degrees C, almost all insects will be extinct.

  • At 2 degrees C, the planet’s birds will be significantly depleted.

  • At 3 degrees C, 50% of all the planet’s flora will have gone.

  • It is likely that insects will the first complete class of fauna to completely disappear.

  • Across the British Isles there are likely to be pocket sanctuaries - for example; the west coast of Ireland, Cornwall and Scotland. Across the planet there will be other sanctuaries - Japan, New Zealand.

  • Birds, which migrate long distances, are likely to be decimated as resources on their flight paths are wiped out.

  • Scientists understand little about the systemic interactions which take place between species, at an ecosystem level. No-one can predict what feedback loops may emerge as, for example, 50% of all flora has gone.

  • And possibly, the most shocking point made over the course of the two hours - not a single politician had made contact with any of the scientists, since the publication of the recent IPCC report. How is that possible?

And how is this possible:

The reach and impact of this man is beyond almost anyone on the planet, yet he choses to walk softly through these issues. Why? We are facing a cataclysm. Didn’t he learn anything, given the huge impact the Blue Planet 2 program had on how plastics are perceived. One television program educated a largely ignorant populace and changed behaviours, within that populace. Why not replicate this? What is his problem? Surely he has a responsibility to raise awareness? Is David, and his inflated profile, now part of the problem?