Why generational pressure is the key to climate change policy
Change is coming, but not from the generation that currently holds positions of power.
DANIEL C. ESTY: The key to progress on environment broadly and on climate change in particular is to change values. I think this has to be understood as in some regards an ethical issue, a moral issue. And one has to see it as a wrong to contaminate the planet and to put at risk the future of humanity on the planet. And I think that change is coming and curiously but perhaps not really surprisingly it is coming from young people much more from the generation that's currently in positions of leadership. Greta and other young people are out there saying to the leaders in political positions of power not only in the United States but across the world: Step up, you need to do more. And I think we have seen again and again that transformational change is often driven by generational change. And I think it's almost certainly going to be true on climate change. Fifty years ago if we'd had this interview I'd probably be smoking or maybe smoking a pipe as a professor. That's so unacceptable now you don't even have to tell me that I can't come in and light up a cigarette.
Norms have changed. Values have changed. We know now that that's completely unacceptable and a threat to public health. And I think we're starting to get there on climate change. Things that might have in the past seemed normal, acceptable, even if they seemed a little bad, a little bit of harm are increasingly totally unacceptable. And we therefore have I think the foundation for the kind of generational change and change in values that can really drive us more quickly towards climate change solutions.
In our Better Planet book there's a really beautiful essay by one of the students at Yale, one of several student essays in this case by a guy named Paul Rink spelling out how young people in particular are starting to drive some of these court cases where they take on both the government and the big energy industry companies and say it's up to you to make our future secure and you're not doing the job you need to do.
And I do think that that risk that there will be a change in society's values and that the court system, the judges, the legal community will begin to say to the energy world you do have some responsibility here. You're not protected from liability and that prospect might get the energy companies to become part of the solution as opposed to leading the problem. If you want to ask me about the best path forward it would be to get those energy companies to transform the vision of themselves from being oil companies or worse yet coal companies and to really think of themselves as leaders of a path to a clean energy future. And I think there is evidence that people have done that in the past in other arenas, and I think it could be done here.
- With figures like Greta Thunberg and demonstrations like the global climate strike, it's become apparent that young people are driving the effort to stop climate change.
- This generational pressure is the key to change. In the same way that smoking became less accepted in society, even frowned upon, so too can the behaviors that have sped up climate change.
- Moving forward, energy companies will play a major role if they can reimagine themselves as part of the solution to this crisis and forge a better path to save the planet.
A Better Planet: Forty Big Ideas for a Sustainable Future
- Climate Change and Emotions. How We Feel Matters More Than ... ›
- The 'Greta effect': Can Thunberg's activism actually change policy ... ›
Once a week.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Using machine-learning technology, the genealogy company My Heritage enables users to animate static images of their relatives.
- Deep Nostalgia uses machine learning to animate static images.
- The AI can animate images by "looking" at a single facial image, and the animations include movements such as blinking, smiling and head tilting.
- As deepfake technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, some are concerned about how bad actors might abuse the technology to manipulate the pubic.
My Heritage/Deep Nostalgia<p>But that's not to say the animations are perfect. As with most deep-fake technology, there's still an uncanny air to the images, with some of the facial movements appearing slightly unnatural. What's more, Deep Nostalgia is only able to create deepfakes of one person's face from the neck up, so you couldn't use it to animate group photos, or photos of people doing any sort of physical activity.</p>
My Heritage/Deep Nostalgia<p>But for a free deep-fake service, Deep Nostalgia is pretty impressive, especially considering you can use it to create deepfakes of <em>any </em>face, human or not. </p>
How long should one wait until an idea like string theory, seductive as it may be, is deemed unrealistic?
- How far should we defend an idea in the face of contrarian evidence?
- Who decides when it's time to abandon an idea and deem it wrong?
- Science carries within it its seeds from ancient Greece, including certain prejudices of how reality should or shouldn't be.
Plato used the allegory of the cave to explain that what humans see and experience is not the true reality.
Credit: Gothika via Wikimedia Commons CC 4.0<p>When scientists and mathematicians use the term <em>Platonic worldview</em>, that's what they mean in general: The unbound capacity of reason to unlock the secrets of creation, one by one. Einstein, for one, was a believer, preaching the fundamental reasonableness of nature; no weird unexplainable stuff, like a god that plays dice—his tongue-in-cheek critique of the belief that the unpredictability of the quantum world was truly fundamental to nature and not just a shortcoming of our current understanding. Despite his strong belief in such underlying order, Einstein recognized the imperfection of human knowledge: "What I see of Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility." (Quoted by Dukas and Hoffmann in <em>Albert Einstein, The Human Side: Glimpses from His Archives</em> (1979), 39.)</p> <p>Einstein embodies the tension between these two clashing worldviews, a tension that is still very much with us today: On the one hand, the Platonic ideology that the fundamental stuff of reality is logical and understandable to the human mind, and, on the other, the acknowledgment that our reasoning has limitations, that our tools have limitations and thus that to reach some sort of final or complete understanding of the material world is nothing but an impossible, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01K2JTGIA?tag=bigthink00-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">semi-religious dream</a>.</p>
A physicist creates an AI algorithm that predicts natural events and may prove the simulation hypothesis.
- Princeton physicist Hong Qin creates an AI algorithm that can predict planetary orbits.
- The scientist partially based his work on the hypothesis which believes reality is a simulation.
- The algorithm is being adapted to predict behavior of plasma and can be used on other natural phenomena.
Physicist Hong Qin with images of planetary orbits and computer code.
Credit: Elle Starkman
Are we living in a simulation? | Bill Nye, Joscha Bach, Donald Hoffman | Big Think<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4dbe18924f2f42eef5669e67f405b52e"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KDcNVZjaNSU?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The vaccine will shorten the "shedding" time.