physician, heal thyself!

“The truth can be terrifying, so terrifying that often we prefer avoidance or lies. So it is with the reality of climate change. Like a diagnosis of terminal cancer, how I wish it wasn’t so. If only we could go on and on, with the dream of endless abundance and growing prosperity.”

“The problems of disease, poverty, and even war, seem dwarfed and solvable, compared to global warming. I am a psychologist, trained to help others with anxiety, depression, and despair, but I too wrestle with these demons. I have worried about the past and the ills that may befall my loved ones. Worries and doubts have kept me awake at night, and reduced my enjoyment of life.”

“I first realised how we were careening towards our doom nine years ago. I read The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery and viewed Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. I felt traumatised.”

Lyn Bender, a Melbourne psychologist, Eureka Street, 2 Mar 2014

In their own words

or – “I thought this was all about science.”


“It is no secret that a lot of climate-change research is subject to opinion, that climate models sometimes disagree even on the signs of the future changes (e.g. drier vs. wetter future climate). The problem is, only sensational exaggeration makes the kind of story that will get politicians’ — and readers’ — attention.”

“So, yes, climate scientists might exaggerate, but in today’s world, this is the only way to assure any political action and thus more federal financing to reduce the scientific uncertainty.”
Monika Kopacz, NOAA Program Manager 2009 – letter to The New York Times, Apr. 12 2009


“No matter if the science of global warming is all phony, there are still collateral environmental benefits to global warming policies… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”
Christine Stewart, then Canadian Minister of the Environment, speaking before editors and reporters of the Calgary Herald, 1998


“He [Al Gore] impressed us all at Deutsche Bank Asset Management. We invited him to an internal meeting in April 2007 during which we discussed the issue of climate change extensively.”

“A few months later, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment. We then created a fund that invests in companies that position themselves as climate-neutral.”

“Within two months almost 10 billion dollars flowed into this fund. Can you imagine? 10 billion! There has never been such an overwhelming success.”
Kevin Parker, Director of Global Asset Management, Deutsche Bank, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Nov 15 2010


“Say that 30 years from now, science came back and said, ‘wow, we were mistaken then now we have some new information so we think it is something else’.”

In a world with nine billion people, even 10 billion at the middle of this century, where literally billions of global citizens will still have to get out of poverty and enter the consuming middle classes, don’t you think that anyway it makes a lot of sense to get more energy and resource efficient.”

“Let’s say that science, some decades from now, said ‘we were wrong, it was not about climate’, would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?.”
Europe’s climate action commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, Daily Telegraph 16/9/13


“In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together.”

“But in designating these dangers as the enemy we fall into the trap which we have already warned readers about, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”
Alexander King, founder of the Club of Rome environmental think-tank, advisor to the United Nations (1991), The First Global Revolution: A Report by the Council of The Club of Rome by Alexander King and Bertrand Schneider (Pantheon, 1991), p. 115


“On one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but—which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts.”

“On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination.”
“That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula.”

“Each of us has to decide what is the right balance between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.” Dr. Stephen Schneider, former IPCC Coordinating Lead Author, APS Online, Aug./Sep. 1996


“Some colleagues who share some of my doubts argue that the only way to get our society to change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe, and that therefore it is all right and even necessary for scientists to exaggerate. They tell me that my belief in open and honest assessment is naïve.”

” ‘Wolves deceive their prey, don’t they?’ one said to me recently. Therefore, biologically, he said, we are justified in exaggerating to get society to change.”
emeritus professor Daniel Botkin, president of the Center for the Study of the Environment and professor emeritus in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at the University of California, Wall St Journal 17 Oct 2007


“Government in the future will be based upon (or incorporate, depending on the level of breakdown of civilisation) a supreme office of the biosphere. The office will comprise specially trained philosopher/ecologists.”

“These guardians will either rule themselves or advise an authoritarian government of policies based on their ecological training and philosophical sensitivities. These guardians will be specially trained for the task.”
Professor David Shearman, an Assessor for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 3rd and 4th Assessment Reports -The Climate change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy. David Shearman & Joseph Wayne Smith (Praeger Publishing: Wesport, 2007). p134

“In short, Shearman and Smith argue that liberal democracy – considered sacrosanct in modern societies – is an impediment to finding ecologically sustainable solutions for the planet.”
[intro. p.xi]

“In chapters 8 and 9 we argue that authoritarianism is the natural state of humanity, and it may be better to choose our elites rather than have them imposed.”

“We analyze authoritarian structures and their operation ranging from the medical intensive care unit and the Roman Catholic Church to corporatism with the conclusion that the crisis is best countered by developing authoritarian government using some of the fabric of these existing structures.”

“The education and values of the new “elite warrior leadership” who will battle for the future of the earth is described.”
Intro p xvi