Posted by: r.m. | October 8, 2013

too big to comprehend?

“Some things are so big you don’t see them, or you don’t want to think about them, or you almost can’t think about them. Climate change is one of those things. It’s impossible to see the whole, because it’s everything. It’s not just a seven-story-tall black wave about to engulf your town, it’s a complete system thrashing out of control, so that it threatens to become too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet, too wild, too destructive, too erratic for many plants and animals that depend on reliable annual cycles. It affects the entire surface of the Earth and every living thing, from the highest peaks to the depths of the oceans, from one pole to the other, from the tropics to the tundra, likely for millennia — and it’s not just coming like that wave, it’s already here.

It’s not only bigger than everything else, it’s bigger than everything else put together.  But it’s not a sudden event like a massacre or a flood or a fire, even though it includes floods, fires, heat waves, and wild weather.  It’s an incremental shift over decades, over centuries.  It’s the definition of the big picture itself, the far-too-big picture. Which is why we have so much news about everything else, or so it seems.”

…and when the crisis seems too large, we do what needs to be done: we resist in increments.

“The changes required to address climate change are colossal, but they are made up of increments and steps and stages that are more than possible.”

Read the full article on climate change and the media’s consistent disregard of the enormity of the scale of this crisis.



  1. Hello Dr. ,
    I really don’t believe we have that impact on earth because as we learned in climatology , the earth undergoes every certain period of time an ice age phenomena that regulates its climate rather than us as people effecting its own equilibrium. Maybe we might be accelerating this phenomena but sooner or later it will happen ..
    Thank you..
    PS : I’m not justifying our harmful activities towards the environment

  2. The article highlights an important aspect of the dilemma of climate change; the fact that it composes a big image. For one to appreciate how critical a climate change is he/she needs to have a fair amount of information concerning the many fields that would be affected by the global event.

  3. As an answer to your question, I will certainly say: yes. It is indeed too hard to comprehend. Actually, it’s something clearly seen and clearly understood but we, humans, care less about the consequences of this climate change. We live “day by day” with this human selfishness: we’re only concerned in what is happening now, and will happen 50 years later ( IF we -even- ever think of the future of our sons and daughters and our homes and lands!). And 50 years ago, climate change was not a frequent issue so we were used to ignore it. But to our surprise, it is now The Issue of the world. However, did this even change our perspective? I doubt it. We are still living with a lie that hides the fact that our beloved Earth is one step closer to destruction, each day. And what are we doing? we are actually helping in the process of degradation and collapse. The problem is definitely us. We have the solution though but the easiest way is always chosen. And this is why it is really too big to comprehend.

  4. “To grasp this involves a feat of imagination and, I think, a leap of faith: a kind of conviction about what matters, about living according to principle, about understanding what is too big to be seen with your own eyes, about correlating data on a range of scales”, a statement that pretty much displays the situation. You see, we live in a world where we are fooled by what we see, and what we see is never the “bigger” picture. The daily news we get is not necessarily accurate, and even if it were, sometimes there are missing links that we fail to put together. Collecting a general understanding about climate change requires accurate scientific data of what is happening today, here, and around the globe. It is very important that we get the image understood and imprinted in our minds. We need to know the truths, and we cannot keep our eyes shut after all. Action must be taken and the sooner, the better of course. “The Age of Inhuman Scale: On the ‘Bigness’ of Climate Change” must be some sort of awareness to all of us to do whatever it takes to reduce the change in climate, starting from exploiting renewable resources, energy-efficient tools, recycling, and others..

  5. The article describes climate change as “man-made violence”, however it does not involve any gunpowder or bombs which is probably the case why it has not yet captured the attention of the world. Climate change has now become an inevitable reality and I find this article truly inspiring in how people have not yet understood how horrendous the impact is and will continue to aggravate, if we do not act. Just because it is too big for us too handle does not mean that turning a deaf ear will make things better. The writer partially blames the media because it does not address the issue with the weight adequate with its impact. We as citizens also do little and rarely act. Given that the IPCC report has said that “it’s not too late” and given the urgency of the climate change issue immediate actions should take place. I believe that alarming people about the gravity of the situation by campaigns, acts, and through the media may at first probably make them feel helpless but at least they will start constantly living under the this significant threat. Even though the changes required to lessen to intensity of the danger ahead are massive and require national collaboration, with proper awareness we can do it “Brick by brick”!

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