by Auden Schendler
Not being served a cheeseburger because you’re African American is about as in-your-face as it gets. Climate change, while increasingly omnipresent, is never quite so personal. And that’s why calling for a civil rights style revolution on climate might not be the best analogy.
Don’t get me wrong: I’ve used the comparison myself, and we certainly need to achieve the same scale as civil rights. But how we get there will be different.
When you’re denied service in a restaurant, there’s no questioning the level of effrontery. But when it’s extra hot, or when a corn crop fails, or if disease spreads or food prices go up, or even if you house gets burned down by a wildfire or flooded by a hurricane, it’s still one-off from obvious, even if it shouldn’t be.
That plausible deniability—fires and floods happen; it’s been really hot before—means it’s going to be harder to mobilize at the grassroots than it was for civil rights. Climate science is just too mercurial: it can be greased out of a layperson’s hands too easily; it falls prey to doubt and poor reporting far too readily. The same level of confusion could not be created ...