I really enjoyed Dr. Davis’ lecture last Friday because I thought she did a good job explaining both the American perception of climate change and connecting that into tipping points, or the points of no return for the climate. The part that made the greatest impression on my was probably actually some of the graphs presenting peoples’ changing views on climate change as well as some of the quotes from articles. For instance, one of the slides presented a quote saying, “They don’t believe what the scientists say, they believe what the thermometers say…Events are helping these people see what scientists thought they had been seeing all along.” This made an impression on me because in my opinion it is true that most people have to experience an event with their own eyes in order for it to become factual in their minds, regardless of scientific data. I was surprised, however, when she said that climate change being a “hot potato” was largely an American phenomenon; I thought that since significant action against climate change has not been occurring in other countries, the battle for the “truth” of global warming must have been occurring elsewhere, too. Although I am glad to hear that other countries such as China have enacted legislation to control carbon-based emissions, it also makes me shake my head in disbelief that us Americans are too stubborn and argumentative to settle and do the same.
I think also that Dr. Davis made a compelling case for the existence of tipping points. What particularly convinced me was her slide illustrating the varying tipping elements in the climate system, such as deforestation, circulation change in the ocean currents, and melting. What also helped convince me were the maps showing the projected climate alterations if there were to be disturbances in the ocean currents. For instance, the local weather patterns will be greatly altered globally, which would cause devastation to the wildlife in such areas. After listening to Dr. Davis’ lecture, I learned more about the American viewpoint of climate change and how in order for many Americans to believe in climate change, they need to see the evidence with their own eyes instead of from a scientist’s report. Also, I learned more about tipping points and now I believe that we will, eventually, cross those thresholds and will have to adapt to a new world.