Is it better to take action (at some cost) to minimize the effects of an uncertain catastrophe, or to wager that the catastrophe won’t happen, and sit back? More importantly, is your time better spent debating the magnitude of the risk (with the risk probability and associated costs rising while you argue) or taking action to prevent the potentially catastrophic consequences? These questions are at the heart of the global warming issues swirling around us now, and probably at the heart of every environmental issue. So what should you do? Here’s a video that makes a pretty compelling case for taking action over sitting around arguing on whether there is a risk in the first place.
I like how this schoolteacher has framed the argument, separating the false “debates” over whether there is climate change and whether humans are causing it, from the more important question of what we should be doing to avoid the potential risks.
Think about it: if your doctor tells you that you have an infection that will cause you much long-term misery (if it doesn’t kill you), and prescribes medicine to help deal with it, how often and how long do you argue with the doctor over his/her interpretation of your symptoms before deciding to swallow the bitter pills? Yes, the meds may cost you a few bucks, and they make you sick too, but you’ll be better off taking them than not taking them – so says the doctor. Do you trust your doc’s expertise? What if also you have a second opinion confirming the diagnosis and treatment? How about a whole panel of thousands of doctors from all over the world, agreeing with your doctor? What would you do then?