Should we care about climate change? with miriam | Riley J. Dennis


Hey guys, this is… Miriam, hi! Yeah, and today we're gonna talk about climate change things cause everyone's really interested in it and it's a lot of… fun. We're screwed. [Laughter] Miriam's a huge nerd person who knows a lot about science and climate change and whatever, and it's like mostly what her channel is about. So I thought we could talk about that, because even though it's not like a social issue thing, it still like really matters, I think, does it? I would say it matters, yeah, I'm like pretty in that opinion. Alright, let's start, let's start with like square one: Why should anyone care about the environment, like, how, like give an average person a reason to give a s**t. I mean I think it really depends on like your personal perspective, it's really easy to find a reason to care about the environment depending on where you are.

But like the real reason I care about it is that the local impacts are going to continue to get increasingly worse and affect you and your neighbors and your family and your country more and more every single year. Okay, like what are some of these effects? Like I haven't felt anything here in LA — I mean there's no… there's a drought. But that's great, I don't like the rain. Okay, so yeah, like what are some of the impacts that climate change is having right now? Yeah I mean you're not supposed to say like one particular storm is a cause of climate change. What we're seeing is a lot more storms happening at once, and there's a giant storm about to hit Jamaica called Matthew. It's gonna be the biggest storm that's hit Jamaica in a long time. Dammit, Matthew. One of the biggest in a while.

Never trust a Matthew. Yeah, and this is an area that's not hit by these kind of storms a lot, and the infrastructure's not there for it because it doesn't to be — or historically didn't need to be, and that's gonna wreck things. But like, the other thing with like the California drought, um, it might not affect you, but like, I mean, I think this ties back to a lot of stuff that you talk about on your channel, it's like very much a place of privilege if climate change isn't gonna affect you. Cause like I have the ability to have an apartment that is far above sea level, but that's not necessarily the case in a lot of places like Louisiana and other coastal cities. Louisiana's not a city, but you know what I mean. Louisiana cities. I've heard there's like island nations that are like affected by this, is that a thing? Oh, for sure. I mean it's hard to get, you know, individual people in the US to care about these tiny island nations that are gonna be completely underwater in the next 50 or so years. That's unfortunate.

Based on even the most conservative estimates of water rising. Oh, okay… Yeah… Oh, mmm, lovely… But then they just become Atlantis, and then we can go visit them underwater. I don't see the problem. [Laughter] There are some great documentaries made by like the people living on these islands where they talk about what it's like to live in a place where every spring it floods so much that you're not sure if your house is gonna just disappear or not. So, uh, I've, like, there's two kinda words for it, like global warming or climate change. Is there a reason to use like one over the other? Cause like, Donald Trump is out here like there's no global warming, there's snow. Like, does it, is it always warming, is that always the effect of like, climate change? I mean, I personally like to say climate change just because it makes, it reminds me that it's more of this holistic thing that's happening. Global warming is a way of looking at it because no matter which way you slice it, the poles are warming which is.

.. fff…. not great. Cause it's where all our, you know, cold ice/water is. But like it's difficult to say global warming because then you see these politicians who are like, the guy who brought the friggen snowball and was like, "There's snow!" That's not how it works. It's only… yeah. Therefore, no global warming! Yeah, climate change doesn't say seasons are gonna disappear, like there will still be places with snow and in some places they're gonna get a lot more snow, it's more of like an extreme variability in climate because as more water vapor gets into the air because it's warmer, then the ice caps melt, blah blah blah, that means more water in the air, more snow when it does hit those temperatures. Scienceeee! *gasp* But hasn't the earth been warm before? Doesn't it go like warm, cold over like millions of years or whatever? Aren't we just on like a warm hump? Yeah, uh, I mean, there's like that fun graph where it shows that like when there has been variability — You think your graphs and your facts matter here?? [Laughter] Of course not, but like the thing is, the earth is hugeeee. When it naturally changes temperature, it is a slow, gradual process where it goes from like — I mean, for the ice age to end, it took thousands and thousands of years.

I don't know if you read xkcd, but he released a wonderful comic that looked at the history of records from as far back as we can hypothesize, looking at like ice cores and stuff and like see the temperature. And it normalizes it because you can't see year-by-year, but it's like very much steady, and as we get to now, it's like, fwoooo! Okay… yeah… Off the graph! So things are looking really great? Great, so great. What can we actually do about climate change, like, are there things that like little humans can actually do to like reverse this or stop it or whatever? I mean, yeah, there definitely is, it's kind of sucky because the way, at least our understanding of it works right now is that once we've put all of these greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere, it takes a really long time for that to go away. So even now if we cut emissions to zero, we're not really gonna see the atmosphere carbon drop for like the next decade or so. So it's really sucky because we don't get any of that instant gratification we like, but like, I mean the Paris climate accords that are all getting signed right now are really useful because they're hoping to hold these countries to decreasing emissions, but really, I think the most effective thing — there's like individual stuff that you can do, which like everyone's heard, but I think what's most effective is getting on the ground and like speaking to your congress people, letting them know that this is a thing that you care about, getting those legislation passed cause companies need to reduce their emissions.

Like that's really — the biggest emitters are industry. As much as individuals emit, it's mostly these like big corporations we support. Yeah, totally, that's like one of the things I've run into is I feel like there's a huge emphasis on the individual and not like industries or these massive, like, ways that are putting emissions into the air, because like it's really easy to be like, "it's the people's fault. It's all your faults cause you're not recycling." Right, like it's so easy to put the blame there! Yeah! Like, shame on you. And yeah, it's also, the reverse of that's true, it's like really easy for — I mean, scale of things — but it's like pretty easy for me to change my diet, whereas like demand some company stop factory farming.

Like it's way easier for me to do a thing and not have this like — impose my will on another organization. Sure, sure. But like, I mean, in a lot of ways, we are the customers of, you know, various programs across the world that are contributing massively to climate change — and people, as a kind of united force have a lot of say that they can have in that. Are we like completely screwed? Is there like — if something great happens in the next few years, like, can we turn this around? Or is it like, we've fallen off the edge of the cliff and it's like GG, game over? We're just like done? I mean it wouldn't be hard to do that, which is the really scary thing. Like if we continue as we're going, that's where we're headed right now. Like unless there's some kind of massive shift, like global effort to stop climate change, that's kind of where it's headed.

But that being said, there is so much stuff that's easy and in a lot of ways like good for the economy, which is I know like a way to get a lot of politicians to get it across, but like green jobs are exploding. And solar's getting more and more efficient, and there's so many tweaks we could do to our local communities and our individual lives and like state structures that could have a ton of good. Okay, but if we do destroy earth completely. [Laughter] Alright. Um, can we just like… leave? And go to Mars? Eh? Ehh?? I mean, Mars is a little cold. But like, earth is like a boiling climate changed hellhole. We could just put everyone on a ship and like — And just like, reverse — I mean, yeah. It's just, the thing is, probably no matter how bad we make climate change on earth, uh, we'll still be able to breathe. For the most part. I like breathing. We've done a really good of cleaning up air pollution.

In a lot of places it's still a problem, in some, but like, we can still breathe here. You can't breathe on Mars. Okay, but have you tried? Good point, I don't know. I actually, I mean… Science. [Laughter] That works. I think that's all the questions I had for you. Thank you for coming and science-ing. Just like, hashtag science exclamation mark. Hashtag science! Exclamation — you can't put an exclamation points in a hashtag. Yet. I guess that's everything, thank you for being here, um, go check out miriam's channel, it's zentouro? Zentouro. Zentouro. I'll put a — there'll be a link. You don't have to know the word. But it's really cool, she's also like super good at editing, like we're at a Collab Camp right now, and she's literally been teaching me how to edit on After Effects, just go watch her videos they're so entertaining and lots of fwooshing things and it's awesome. Well, thank you for watching this video, and I'll see you next time.