Lessons learned and other inspirations
Written by Allison Roberts, Co-owner, Kulshan Services
How sure do we need to be before taking action? What if we are 95% sure that something could kill us? If we have 5% of doubt, is it worth the risk of inaction?
We just can't help ourselves in sharing thoughts inspired by this article from the Scientific American by Naomi Oreskes, a Harvard science historian. She also wrote Merchants of Doubt, and cracked open how tobacco and oil industries manipulated science and the media... and Americans.
Oreskes asks if 95% certainty is enough when dealing with issues of massive consequence like climate change. She suggests we heed the precautionary principle into statistics about climate and change. She suggests that the 95% certainty standard has kept us from acting earlier on climate change.
Sometimes the evidence requires us to accept scientific findings even when the evidence goes against our personal beliefs. In the face of evidence, the powers that be can promote doubt and that promotes inaction. In any case, promoting doubt is easier than the burden that comes with proof. They know that people love to be told what they want to be true.
For instance, people are naturally afraid of getting a negative health prognosis, so they ignore the signals and delay a diagnosis. A person can observe troubling signs of illness - fever, chills, unusual feelings or pain. They privately nurture their doubts but delay action. They dread the proof, but at some point have to accept something is wrong. This tendency to delay comes with significant peril. And, if the patient experiences something enough to outvote their doubting mind, they seek help. Time was on their side... until it wasn't.
Alas, responding too late has effectively removed many of the better options to treat the problem. This is the way with climate change. Maybe we need to suspend our doubt and take more precautionary actions before all good options are exhausted.
That is why Kulshan Services offers Climate Change Planning services.
Contact us today to learn more about our services.
Inspired by Naomi Oreskes and her article, Playing Dumb on Climate Change.
Kulshan Services works with governments, non-profits, and businesses to create opportunities for addressing ecosystem management and restoration, climate change, and sustainability challenges. We possess in-depth environmental, facilitation, sustainability, and technical and field service experience and skill sets.