Lisa Randall: Climate Change Awareness

Lisa Randall: Well I think climate change really is an important issue. I don’t think people . . . I think people are aware of it as an issue. I don’t think people realize just how significant it is. I mean our . . . And you know we don’t know. The science is indefinite. But there’s such a big risk that the planet as we know it can be altered in ways that we haven’t anticipated. And even if it’s just, you know, a question of it being, you know, a few degrees hotter . . . I mean even if it’s not some major economic thing . . . if it’s not . . . but just the idea that the world could be different, that glaciers can melt, I just don’t like that. But of course there are much broader implications which are possible that can seriously affect the planet. And I think just in general, our need for energy is also a dangerous . . . has dangerous directions; not just in terms of climate change, but in terms of all the political implications that it has, economic implications. So I think . . . And I don’t think we make that connection as much as we should. I mean to some extent it is, obviously. But the . . . Just the overriding need for more energy is really shaping so much of the way our planet is developing. And that’s just crazy, and we have to face that and figure out what to do about it. I mean that’s part of the problem, I think, is that everyone wants it to be someone else’s responsibility. And I think . . . And a lot of . . . And another problem is that, I think, people go from thinking it’s not a problem to thinking it’s a big problem but they have no chance of doing anything about it. So to turn it into something where individuals and companies and the government can actually make changes is a big, difficult problem; but I think it’s very important. I think just in general the ability to sort of plan for the future . . . Right now our political system and our business system is so concentrated on short term gains that it’s very hard . . . I mean it’s just not built into the system to worry about long term effects, and that’s very dangerous. I think that it’s very difficult in government. I think one of the things is that people . . . I mean and maybe I’m just being overly optimistic, but I do think that it would help to really distribute information in a more comprehensive way. You know even just . . . even for the war in Iraq, which is obviously a big issue – we haven’t talked about it – but it’s really hard to read the articles about Iraq because they sort of just say, “Okay, another few people were killed,” which is horrible. But there’s nothing we can do with that information. It’s sort of similar information every day. We know it’s bad but there’s nothing to grasp onto. There’s no storyline. There’s nothing. And you know I was talking to a reporter recently. I mean part of the problem is that people aren’t over there. They’re not doing in-depth reporting. They’re not doing things . . . But somehow at least we could understand perhaps why this war was different from other wars. Why aren’t people over there? Also who’s making money? I mean we sort of hear bits and piece of it, but why are people interested in perpetuating this war? So I think that if we could follow in a little bit more detail the economic forces that are driving a lot of the developments, that would really change the way people perceive things. I think in terms of climate change, there certainly are energy companies that really are very resistant to change, because it’s not necessarily in their interest – in their immediate interest. But I think if we could really get clear who is benefitting and who’s not benefitting in the long term and in the short term, it would be very helpful. Recorded On: 11/2/07

The government, Randall says, needs to think in the long term.

Live on Thursday: Learn innovation with 3-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live this Thursday at 1pm ET.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to your calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo

Keep reading Show less

US, Russia, China won't join global initiative to offer fair access to COVID-19 vaccines. Why not?

The U.S., China, and Russia are in a "vaccine race" that treats a global challenge like a winner-take-all game.

  • More than 150 countries have joined an initiative to develop, produce, and fairly distribute an effective COVID-19 vaccine.
  • But China, Russia, and the U.S. have declined to join in a bid to win the vaccine race.
  • The absence of these three economies risks the success of the global initiative and future collaborations.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Being in a frisky mood may improve your chances in the dating world

    Positive, romantic thoughts could produce positive, romantic outcomes while dating.

    Credit: 4 PM production on Shutterstock
    Sex & Relationships
    • Fear of rejection, self-doubt, and anxiety are just some of the obstacles humans need to overcome to make a meaningful, romantic connection with another person.
    • According to a 2020 project by a group of psychologists at the University of Rochester (and the Israeli-based Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya), humans see possible romantic partners as a lot more attractive if they go into the interaction with a "sexy mindset."
    • Across three separate studies, this team discovered that this sexual activation helps people initiate relationships by inducing them to project their desires onto prospective partners.
    Keep reading Show less

    A new minimoon is headed towards Earth, and it’s not natural

    Astronomers spot an object heading into Earth orbit.

    Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek/Paitoon Pornsuksomboon/Shutterstock/Big Think
    Surprising Science
  • Small objects such as asteroids get trapped for a time in Earth orbit, becoming "minimoons."
  • Minimoons are typically asteroids, but this one is something else.
  • The new minimoon may be part of an old rocket from the 1960s.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Study reveals alarming link between binge-drinking and anxiety

    New research conducted on mice suggests repeated heavy drinking causes synaptic dysfunctions that lead to anxiety.

    Credit: Pixabay
    Mind & Brain
    • The study was conducted on mice, who were given the equivalent of five drinks daily for 10 days.
    • Images of the alcoholic mice brains showed synaptic dysfunctions related to microglia (immune cells in the brain).
    • The results suggest that regulating TNF, a signaling protein related to systemic inflammation, may someday play a part in treating alcohol addiction.
    Keep reading Show less