Authors, particularly science fiction writers, often warn us of impending doom. In an odd little twist, if we believe doomsayers and act accordingly, the doomsayers then sound a lot like Chicken Little.
Remember Y2K? Airplanes were going to fall out of the sky, the power grid was going to collapse and we wouldn’t be able to see cats on the Internet. That didn’t happen, so the doomsayers were wrong. Right?
In that case, we listened to the doomsayers. Government, businesses, and citizens took steps to assure that computers would be able to get through the dreaded date safely. There were a few glitches, but no one died. Hardly anyone was inconvenienced. As a result, those warning us about Y2K were roundly ridiculed. People forgot that the reason technology did not collapse on a date certain was because those who recognized the problem worked day and night for months to see that disaster was averted.
Enter those warning of myriad disasters associated with climate change. Many in the general public are ridiculing the predictions of scientists. Meanwhile, many governments, businesses, and citizens are quietly taking measures to avert the disaster. We’re already seeing negative effects, so the chances are slim that we’ll come out of this one as cleanly as we did Y2K. But if the measures taken, combined with the positive impacts of new technology, do substantially forestall the worst effects of climate change, you can count on the ignorant to laugh at those who worked so hard to warn us.