Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Denial is not just a river in Egypt; paradigm changes

I am sure that Hurricane Sandy is a Democrat and a better politician than anyone else. Governor Cuomo, Democrat of New York, just said in his public address, that, "anyone who is denying the dramatic change in weather patterns' (that the impact of Hurricane Sandy is not about climate change), is denying reality." 

Here's a good run down of the relationships between Hurricane Sandy and climate change: 


Is anyone out there listening? Thomas Kuhn, scientific historian and physicist, famously wrote in his seminal book, "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" pub. 1962, that what changes a paradigm of thinking is the preponderance of evidence that accumulates while the old style thinkers die off.

Meanwhile, needless to say, there is lots we can do once certain folks take their heads out of the sand. Fortunately, not everyone has their head in the sand. Even Gov. Christie, of New Jersey, a Republican, has praised Obama for his appropriate responses. Too bad there have to be so many casualties before we get to our new paradigm, from the ten people who died in this hurricane to all the fish in the local waterways, now threatened by oil and other pollutants from overwhelmed systems.

I read & appreciated Paul Greenberg's "4 Fish" on how we have come to farm and domesticate the world's wild fish for my dissertation research. His essay explains why oysters might be one of our best friends in future storm events. At the recent Restore Americas Estuaries conference (RAE) I attended, there were a lot of sessions on oysters. So maybe us humans can learn how to live in this world we've altered so dramatically, after all.


The paradigm change suggested by Greenberg and others working on oyster restoration, is that nature is not simply our combination larder and toilet, but our indispensable hospital and retirement plan. The big shift is in how we experience our power in relation to nature's power. If I were a betting woman, I might take a bet on who speaks more eloquently: the climate change deniers or nature, in the Halloween guise of Hurricane Sandy.

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