“Do We Really Care About Climate Change?” Give Your Two Cents At The Ship Tonight

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Memorial University’s Philosophy Department and For A New Earth are hosting a public lecture called “Do We Really Care About Climate Change?” tonight (Tuesday November 7th) at The Ship Pub. Lecturers Dr. Sean McGrath, Dr. Barry Stephenson and PhD Candidate Kyla Bruff will each speak for fifteen minutes and then invite the audience to join the conversation.

MUN’s Philosophy Department hosts a public lecture on the first Tuesday of every month with the goal of bringing academic discussions into a public space where people from diverse backgrounds can grab a pint and add their voices to the conversation.

“It’s really meant to open up an exchange of ideas,” Bruff said, because the ideas we have here at MUN don’t always get disseminated into the community and it appears that sometimes we might also be out of touch with the local community’s concerns.”

For this week’s lecture the Philosophy Department is working with For A New Earth, an organization that Dr. McGrath founded and co-directs with Bruff and Dr.Stephenson, with the aim of mobilizing, “knowledge in philosophy, science, and art, and make it available to communities in environmentally sensitive areas for the sake of opening up a public discussion about the future of our planet.”

Bruff explained that tonight’s lecture will look at the fact that many individuals, companies, and governments claim to be concerned about climate change but our actions as a society suggest ambivalence about the issue –begging the question how much do we really care about climate change?

“When we look at our lifestyles, our concerns, the culture of rampant individualism, and the capitalist drive for profit, we see that our concern about climate change is probably not as strong as we think it is,” Bruff said.

The organizers hope to look at the question from pessimistic and optimistic perspectives but ultimately the conversation will be shaped by the audience’s response to the three short lectures.

Bruff has been going to the Philosophy Department’s Public Lecture series for years and says the unpredictability of the audience response is what makes the long-running series so unique and engaging.

“When the discussion gets going it’s a totally open floor and the perspectives come from everywhere,” Bruff said. “Political figures come out and people who like to hang out at the ship tend to be around, so the questions and discussion can really go anywhere. That’s why it’s so exciting, you can’t anticipate what people are going to say.”

Bruff says the organizers would love to see representation from any level of government at the event, as well as members of university community with environmental concerns, and anyone who feels despair about the future of the planet.

The whole point of For A New Earth is to get the discussion going in the community with the hope that maybe we can prompt some ecological change by getting outside of the academic constraints of the university… We hope people come out even if they haven’t heard of us or if they’re a little skeptical about us,” Bruff said.

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Eva Crocker

Eva Crocker is a writer from St. John’s, her short story collection, Barrelling Forward, was published by House of Anansi Press in 2017.

7 Comments

  1. Don't Slip On Your Iphone on

    People claim to care yet show ambivalence for a simple reason. The left leaning media, social justice warriors, and loud mouths on social media will attack anyone who disagrees with them. People don’t wanna bother arguing with those who won’t listen, so it’s easier to just put up with it. It could also hurt someone’s reputation or livelihood to go against these groups of “intellectuals”, because they will attack and ostracize.

  2. All you left vs. right vs. left broken records skip in the same place. It never ceases to amaze me how people in positions of power can convince and mobilize people to go against some other group in so many different contexts. We’re all people with the same needs, but we identify with this group or that group based on our WANTS, not our needs, which is exactly why the climate change debate is being so dragged out, just like the “smoking causes cancer” debate, the abortion debate etc etc. Don’t be such a sucker and think for yourself, because someone in power on the “right” is just as capable of manipulating you as someone in power on the “left” is – and given the opportunity, they will.

  3. Don't Slip On Your Iphone on

    There’s no debate that smoking causes cancer. When you say think for yourself, does that mean ignoring scientific research? You’re throwing around a bunch of ideas but it’s not very coherent. You act as if nothing has influence over you.
    This article asks why people claim to want to fight global warming but their actions don’t seem to reflect that.
    My point is people talk the talk because it’s cool to do so, while inside they don’t give a shit.
    Most people won’t deny climate change in a public place, just like they’re afraid to admit they believe in things outside of popular opinion i.e amongst their friends, social circles. I don’t mean Fox news vs CNN.

  4. You seem to think that people yelling at you on Facebook (or something like that) is what’s prevent progress from occurring in the area of climate change, so you came here to cry about it. That’s what I’m reading from your little tantrum.

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