Climate change 27

Climate change is the largest, longest and most costly threat to humanity. But as humans start to adapt, and as nature reclaims the land on which we live, we may lose the battle to continue to burn fossil fuels in a dangerous manner, and may soon be forced to abandon the human civilization model of living alongside nature that we have come to embrace.

And it will become more and more of a catastrophe over time unless we radically respond. No doubt about that.

But I think there's a way in which the media sometimes plays down these big stories. And I think it has two characteristics.

The first is its tendency to focus on an argument or a narrative rather than on numbers and data. This is certainly partly a consequence of what we've been through over the past century, the fact that the world has been growing a lot more slowly. So journalists tended to cover climate change more as a story of progress than as an argument about whether things are getting worse or not.

But there's a much broader factor at work. Over the last 50 years, the news media has become so powerful and so influential, we have become much less able to challenge such ideas or news sources as they were when the news would get by on the facts or by quoting experts on a point.

This is really a tragedy of the commons.

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