emilypknight's blog

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I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t it though? Depending on what we do now, we’re in for at least hundreds of years of warming. But also you might be thinking, well I know it’s not. We’re experiencing impacts now.

And both those reactions are correct. Climate change is a problem that is happening — accelerating — now, and will have ramifications for the long-term. But it’s that notion of “depending on what we do now…” that I want to pick apart a bit from the perspective of tightening the links between science and action.

What inspired me is a seemingly innocuous line I read in a new paper from Record et al. (2019):

“Climate change is often viewed as a long-term problem, and in this context, mean species range shifts could be a useful tool.”

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This blog was originally posted on Medium here

I gave a talk recently about linking science with action. In it, I posed the question: What makes science valuable to society?

My answer: Because the world is so much bigger than us… And yet we’re in the driver’s seat.

Reflect on that for a moment, and what it might mean to you. To me, it was an articulation of something I struggle with often, which is the fact that because of anthropogenic carbon emissions, we humans are driving Earth’s overall trajectory. And yet, within that trajectory there is much we don’t know about how severe the impacts will be or exactly how they’ll propagate through ecosystems on to human communities.

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