There is no doubt that the science of climate change has been subordinated by those who prefer all their knowledge and understanding to be reduced to ‘Janet and John’ books.

As the clip below reveals even the climate scientists are increasingly resigned to humans rendering themselves extinct. There are only so many times one can warn the multitudes. If the mass chooses to do little or nothing then fait accompli for the deniers and bystanders.

What is the bystander effect?

The term “bystander effect” refers to a social phenomenon in which individuals are less likely to intervene in an emergency situation when there are other people present. The presence of other people can lead to a diffusion of responsibility, where individuals assume that someone else will take action, resulting in a decreased likelihood of anyone actually stepping in to help.

The bystander effect was first identified and studied by psychologists Bibb Latané and John Darley in the late 1960s after the infamous case of Kitty Genovese, a young woman who was murdered outside her apartment building in New York City while numerous witnesses reportedly did not intervene or call for help.

There are several factors that contribute to the bystander effect. One is the diffusion of responsibility, as mentioned earlier, where individuals feel less personally responsible for taking action because they assume someone else will do so. Additionally, social influence and conformity play a role, as people look to others’ behaviour to determine how they should respond. If everyone else seems unconcerned or unresponsive, individuals may interpret the situation as less serious or assume that their help is unnecessary.

Another factor is the need to interpret the situation correctly. When faced with an ambiguous situation, people often rely on the reactions of others to assess whether help is needed. If others appear calm or unconcerned, individuals may interpret the situation in the same way and refrain from taking action.

However, it is important to note that the bystander effect is not an inherent characteristic of human nature, but rather a situational and contextual phenomenon. Under certain conditions, individuals can overcome the bystander effect and take action. Factors that increase the likelihood of intervention include a clear emergency situation, a smaller number of people present, personal familiarity with the victim, and a belief in one’s own competence to help.

Researchers and psychologists have studied the bystander effect extensively to understand its underlying mechanisms and develop strategies to promote prosocial behavior and intervention in emergency situations. Increasing awareness about the bystander effect and encouraging individuals to take personal responsibility for helping others can help mitigate its negative impact and foster a more helpful and compassionate society.

Are humans responsible for climate change?

Humans are indeed responsible for climate change. Climate change refers to long-term alterations in temperature patterns, precipitation levels, and other environmental factors that result from human activities, primarily the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere.

The main contributors to climate change are the burning of fossil fuels (such as coal, oil, and natural gas), deforestation, industrial processes, and agricultural activities. These activities release significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other GHGs, such as methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), into the atmosphere.

The increased concentration of these GHGs traps heat within the Earth’s atmosphere, leading to the greenhouse effect. This phenomenon results in a gradual warming of the planet, known as global warming. The consequences of global warming include rising global temperatures, melting ice caps and glaciers, sea-level rise, altered weather patterns, and more frequent and severe extreme weather events.

The responsibility for climate change lies with human activities because the natural processes alone would not have led to the rapid increase in GHG emissions observed in recent decades. While natural factors like volcanic activity and variations in solar radiation can influence climate, their impact is relatively minor compared to the emissions caused by human actions.

There is a strong scientific consensus that human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, are the primary drivers of climate change. Numerous studies, assessments by international scientific organisations, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports have concluded that the evidence for human-induced climate change is robust and overwhelming.

However, it is important to note that not all humans are equally responsible for climate change. The largest contributors to GHG emissions are industrialised countries and large corporations. These entities have historically released substantial amounts of GHGs into the atmosphere due to their reliance on fossil fuels for energy production, transportation, and manufacturing. Nevertheless, individuals’ actions, such as energy consumption, transportation choices, and dietary preferences, also contribute to GHG emissions and can collectively make a difference.

Addressing climate change requires a collective effort involving governments, businesses, communities, and individuals. Transitioning to renewable energy sources, adopting sustainable practices, promoting energy efficiency, protecting and restoring ecosystems, and implementing policies to reduce emissions are among the measures needed to mitigate and adapt to climate change. By taking responsibility and acting collectively, humans can work towards minimising the impacts of climate change and creating a more sustainable future.

Fifty effects of climate change?

  1. Rising global temperatures
  2. Increased frequency and intensity of heatwaves
  3. Melting ice caps and glaciers
  4. Rising sea levels
  5. Increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as hurricanes and storms
  6. Changes in precipitation patterns
  7. Droughts and water scarcity
  8. Flooding in coastal and low-lying areas
  9. Loss of biodiversity and habitat destruction
  10. Coral bleaching and degradation of marine ecosystems
  11. Disruption of agricultural systems and decreased crop yields
  12. Spread of diseases and increased health risks
  13. Threats to food security and increased food prices
  14. Migration and displacement of human populations
  15. Increased conflict over resources, including water and land
  16. Loss of livelihoods for communities dependent on natural resources
  17. Damage to infrastructure from extreme weather events
  18. Increased air pollution and respiratory problems
  19. Decline in freshwater availability and quality
  20. Shifts in the distribution and behavior of plant and animal species
  21. Increased risk of wildfires
  22. Decline in fish populations and impacts on fishing industry
  23. Threats to cultural heritage sites and archaeological treasures
  24. Acidification of oceans and damage to marine ecosystems
  25. Increased vulnerability of coastal communities to erosion and storm surges
  26. Decline in pollinator populations and impacts on agriculture
  27. Reduction of snow cover and impacts on winter tourism
  28. Disruption of ecosystems and ecological imbalances
  29. Decline in water quality and impacts on aquatic life
  30. Increased risk of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever
  31. Decreased availability of fresh water for drinking and sanitation
  32. Loss of coastal wetlands and protective barriers
  33. Increased energy demand for cooling in warmer regions
  34. Impacts on mental health due to climate-related stressors
  35. Changes in ocean currents and circulation patterns
  36. Disruption of natural water cycles
  37. Damage to coral reefs and marine biodiversity loss
  38. Loss of cultural and traditional practices linked to natural environments
  39. Impacts on tourism industry due to environmental changes
  40. Increased risk of landslides and soil erosion
  41. Decline in water availability for hydropower generation
  42. Changes in the timing and length of seasons
  43. Negative impacts on wildlife populations and endangered species
  44. Decreased availability of fresh water for irrigation
  45. Increased risk of coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion into freshwater systems
  46. Impacts on construction and infrastructure due to extreme weather
  47. Increased frequency and intensity of storms and hurricanes
  48. Loss of natural carbon sinks such as forests and peatlands
  49. Changes in ocean acidity and impacts on shellfish and coral reefs
  50. Decreased agricultural productivity and food shortages

However, we can respond if we are united and we return to the science and ignore the deniers.

How NOT to be a bystander:

The top ten things humans can do to reduce the impact of climate change

  1. Reduce energy consumption: Use energy-efficient appliances, turn off lights when not in use, and adjust thermostats to conserve energy.
  2. Transition to renewable energy: Install solar panels or wind turbines for electricity generation, or switch to a renewable energy supplier.
  3. Use public transportation or carpool: Opt for buses, trains, or shared rides to reduce carbon emissions from individual vehicles.
  4. Choose low-carbon transportation: When possible, walk or cycle for short trips, and consider electric or hybrid vehicles for longer journeys.
  5. Conserve water: Reduce water usage by fixing leaks, installing water-efficient fixtures, and adopting water-saving habits.
  6. Adopt a plant-based diet: Reduce meat and dairy consumption, as animal agriculture is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.
  7. Minimise food waste: Plan meals, store food properly, and compost leftovers to reduce methane emissions from decomposing organic waste.
  8. Support sustainable businesses: Choose products and services from companies that prioritise sustainability and have environmentally friendly practices.
  9. Reduce, reuse, recycle: Minimise waste by choosing reusable products, recycling materials whenever possible, and avoiding single-use items.
  10. Advocate for climate action: Engage in conversations, raise awareness about climate change, and support policies and initiatives that address the issue.

Remember, these actions can make a significant difference when adopted collectively and consistently.

We can ALL make a difference. The issue is whether we ALL have the desire and the will.

Jason Cridland

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