Anthropogenic Global Warming, or AGW, or Climate Change/Chaos/Disruption, or whatever you like to call it, is a serious matter. Because transparency is essential in any debate, I answer some questions I pose myself to give an idea of who I am and why I offer up some of my free time to write this blog.
Who are you?
My name is Neven, that's my real first name. I'd rather stay half-anonymous like this, but anyone who really wants to know my real name can contact me by clicking 'E-mail' in the top menu bar. I'm a born and bred Dutchman with Croatian roots, currently living in Austria with my wife and daughter. I don't have a science background, didn't even finish university, but that just goes to show that anyone can make sense of Arctic sea ice through just a little bit of research and observation.
Why do you write this blog?
Like I wrote in my very first blog post, a word of welcome to the site: "I've been closely following the Arctic sea ice ever since the drastic drop of 2007 when the summer melt beat the 2005 record by 1.9 million square km, a staggering 22%. In 2008 and 2009 Arctic sea ice extent recovered 1 million square km. I have to admit that as an alarmist it's a bit opportunistic to be starting this blog at this period in time, with the 2010 Arctic melt season looking to go low if weather conditions resemble those of 2007, but for years I've been missing a central place where the situation in the Arctic can be discussed."
Do you make any money related to your blog or AGW in general?
Not really. Because I invest some of my free time, I asked the blog community to chip in to pay for the TypePad hosting costs of 149,50 USD per year. In the end I received around 995 USD in donations. In this blog post I explain what the money has and will be used for. In real life I make a living as a free-lance translator.
edit May 15th 2014: since April last year I've been accepting donations. In the past year I have received approximately € 4,000 in donations. See this blog post for more info on what I do with the money. Here's an archive for the Donations tab.
What are your views on AGW?
I think I could be labeled as an 'alarmist', although 'alarmed' would be more precise. I'm not into spreading fear to get certain results, but at the same time there are sometimes things that are just plain worrying. AGW is one of those things, with the Arctic and its sea ice as one of the most conspicuous aspects of AGW. But there are many more things, despite AGW getting most of the spotlights.
What all these things - from resource wars to financial meltdowns, and from top soil erosion to biodiversity loss - have in common with AGW, is in my view the root cause behind all of them: the belief that economic growth is always good and must therefore forever be pursued. But nothing in a finite system can grow forever and will sooner or later run into limits. I believe we are now bumping into these limits more and more. I wrote an article about this for the Planet 3.0 blog: Infinite Growth and the Crisis Cocktail.
That's a very difficult question. When I was younger
I thought I knew it all, and though I now know and understand a bit more, I've also started to appreciate the complexity of nature, society and economics. On the 'small' level it's of course about individuals changing their lifestyles out of conviction, and in this respect I think that gardening is one of the most useful things a person can put his mind and energy to, as it has so many benefits on so many levels.
On the 'big' level I believe that something needs to change about the economic thinking that has dominated universities and societies for quite a long time now, ie the neoclassical theory that revolves around an irrational and flawed view on material growth. If you make that the engine of your economy and by extension your society and culture, you will lack resilience when you run into bumps. The engine can only go one way at ever increasing speeds, and if it only stalls a little, things quickly fall apart at the seams. What is needed, is an engine that doesn't have a problem with the neutral gear and can even go in reverse to get out of a cul-de-sac.
Both the 'small' and 'big' things are easier said than done, but in the end it's not about attaining some perfect solutions that do not exist. It's about everyone discussing these things together, however confrontational they are, and then trying to do the right thing together. Sticking heads in the sand never really solved anything.
I believe everything starts with respecting limits, which doesn't automatically mean restricting freedom. Freedom is not about being able to do whatever you like, however much consumer culture is trying to make us believe the opposite. Freedom is about having basic needs provided so that one can fully develop as a human being. This freedom is boundless in theory, but in practice stops where the freedom of another starts. This is why we as a global community are bumping into physical limits. This is why the Arctic sea ice is melting.
What shall we do?