Thongchai Thailand

Harrison Ford and Climate Change

Posted on: April 24, 2019










  1. Point#1: The destruction of nature accounts for more global emissions than all the cars and trucks in the world. We can put solar panels on every house, we can turn every car into an electric vehicle, but as long as Sumatra burns, we will have failed. So long as the Amazon’s great forests are slashed and burned, so long as the protected lands of tribal people, indigenous people, are allowed to be encroached upon, so long as wetlands and peat bogs are destroyed, our climate goals will remain out of reach and we will be shut out of time.
  2. Point#2: If we don’t stop the destruction of our natural world nothing else will matter. Why? Because protecting and restoring forests, mangroves, wetlands, these huge dense carbon sinks, represent at least 30% of what needs to be done to avoid catastrophic warming. It is at this time the only feasible solution for absorbing carbon on a global scale. Simply put, if we can’t protect nature we can’t protect ourselves.
  3. Point#3: Stop protecting people who don’t believe in science – or worse than that, pretend they don’t believe in science for their own self interest. They know who they are. We know who they are. We are all, rich or poor, powerful or powerless, at risk. We will all suffer the effects of climate change and ecosystem destruction and we are facing what is quickly becoming the greatest moral crisis of our time – that those least responsible will bear the greatest cost.
  4. About Harrison Ford: The author, once a famous Hollywood actor is now Vice Chairman of Conservation International, a large and well funded ecological activism group. Their view of the world and their ecological activism goals and methods are described on the CI website [LINK]. This text indicates that CI is in the business of protecting nature (specifically identified as forests, wetlands, primitive human communities, and animals perceived as endangered by activities of technologically advanced human communities such as the Western industrialized civilization.
  5. Statement from the CI website describing their organization: ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​For more than 30 years, Conservation International (CI) has been protecting nature for the benefit of all​. Humanity is totally dependent on nature, and by saving nature, we’re saving ourselves. To that end, Conservation International is working to build a healthier, more prosperous and more productive planet. We do this through s​​cience, policy and partnerships with countries, communities and companies. We employ nearly 1,000 people and work with more than 2,000 partners in 30 countries. Over the years, we have helped support 1,200 protected areas and interventions across 77 countries, protecting more than 601 million hectares of land, marine and coastal areas.​​
  6. CI Activities: Human drugs are polluting the water and animals are swimming in it. Pharmaceuticals are flowing from homes and factories into freshwater rivers, streams and lakes, harming aquatic species. The story: Medication is entering freshwater ecosystems worldwide through our toilets and sinks — and its trip through the human digestive tract isn’t dampening its effectiveness, According to recent research, a platypus living in a pharmaceutical-contaminated stream in Melbourne is likely to ingest more than half the recommended adult dose of antidepressants every day. The big picture: While symptoms from exposure depend on the species and dosage, scientists have already observed a measurable effect on wildlife. Atlantic salmon smolts that are exposed to anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax and Valium migrate twice as fast as unmedicated smolts, which causes them to arrive at sea before they’re fully developed and harms their chances of survival. Scientists estimate that if humans continue releasing pharmaceuticals into waterways at the current rate, the concentration of these drugs in freshwater ecosystems will likely increase by two-thirds in the next 30 years.
  7. CI Activities: Invasions of indigenous lands: Emboldened by President Jair Bolsonaro, armed invaders are encroaching on Brazil’s tribal lands in the Amazon. Invasions of indigenous lands have increased 150 percent since Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil in October. During his presidential campaign, Bolsonaro condemned federal protections for indigenous peoples, whose lands make up about 13% of Brazil’s territory. In response to Bolsonaro’s antagonistic statements against indigenous rights and in support of development during his campaign, attacks on indigenous reservations rose and deforestation rates climbed almost 50 percent.Brazil’s Amazon rain forest is home to 850,000 indigenous peoples. The president’s incendiary remarks have been viewed by many as approval or even incentive to invade indigenous spaces and “stake their claims.” Not only does this put people at risk, it threatens generations of traditional knowledge that are key to fighting climate change.
  8. CI Activities: Ocean heat waves threatening marine life: Ocean heat waves, defined as at least five consecutive days of warmer-than-usual ocean temperatures, are more severe and longer-lasting because of greenhouse gas emissions, a new study finds. Oceans have absorbed more than 90 percent of the heat from greenhouse gas emissions since the 1950s. This excess heat translates to an uptick in heat waves. These marine heat waves can kill off fish, coral reefs and vital coastal ecosystems such as seagrass meadows and kelp forests that store “blue” carbon. For the approximately 3 billion people dependent on oceans for their protein, these heat waves pose a serious threat to their food security.
  9. CI Activities: Komodo dragons: Komodo Island in Indonesia may temporarily close its borders to tourists to enable dragon populations to recover. Komodo dragon numbers have been dwindling due in large part to smugglers. A temporary tourism ban would help protect the dragons from smugglers and let authorities replenish the dragons’ food supply by planting native vegetation. Komodo dragons are an endangered species. There are only about 5,700 in the wild and they’re being trafficked for food and traditional medicinal use. The dragons are an essential part of the food chain on the island, and could be significant to science, too: Antimicrobial peptides in their blood give them the ability to recover from the venomous bites of other Komodo dragons, which scientists believe could provide the foundation of a new antibiotic for human medicine.
  10. CI Activities: Save the Mangroves: In one of the most biodiverse regions of Colombia, the national government has proposed building a port within the protected area of the Tribuga-Corrientes cape, on Colombia’s northern Pacific coast. This port would destroy mangroves and the ecosystem services (that is, the tangible benefits that nature provides) that local communities rely on. A new study puts an exact price tag on the cost of destroying those mangroves: If the port is built, it would cost US$ 230 million per year in lost ecosystem services such as providing habitat for fish, protecting the coast from storms and storing carbon. Plans for the port have been discussed for close to a decade, and local organizations have been trying to stop it for just as long with little success. To prove the detrimental impact that the port and by default, the destruction of the mangroves would have on the economy, the researchers analyzed the value of the mangroves through three distinct lenses: monetary (the economic value to fisheries, other natural resources), sociocultural (the value to surrounding communities); and ecological (storing carbon, biodiversity). By putting a price tag on mangrove ecosystem services, researchers are able to show the mangroves’ economic importance not only to surrounding communities, which rely on fishing, agricultural and tourism that the mangrove forest provides, but to the country at large. The data from this study was presented to the president of Colombia, senators and the Ministry of Environment with the goal of stopping the construction of the port. “Mangroves are vital for human well-being and provide valuable ecosystem services to the country as a whole. The port will harm the country economically more than it would help it. Hopefully this is enough to stop the progression of the port in Congress and save the mangrove forest and all of the benefits that it provides.
  11. Summary of CI activities: It is clear from the above that CI is an environmental activism organization with the generic purpose of saving nature from human impacts and from its own complexities. The role of climate change in these activities is mostly in terms of protecting nature from climate change impacts that have been claimed by climate science. In addition there is some concern that nature’s ability to store carbon should not be disturbed lest natural emissions of carbon from natural storage sinks exacerbate climate change. We can now understand the Harrison Ford lecture in this context as follows:
  12. Context for Point #1: The context is that the CI priority of protecting forests ties in with climate change because protecting and preserving forests can prevent release of carbon stored in forests. His reference to Sumatra is relates to the large forest fire there in 2015 that involved the combustion of peat in the forest floor seen as climate change causing carbon being released to the atmosphere. These fires have recurred several times since then and are thought to be natural. His concern for the preservation of the Amazon also relates to the release of CO2 if the forest is “slashed and burned”. His reference encroachment on indigenous lands is mysterious in this context. Here is a link to more information about the Sumatra peat forest fires  [LINK]
  13. Context for Point #2: In Point number 2, the control of carbon release to the atmosphere by preserving forests is generalized to protecting “the natural world” from destruction by human activity. It should be mentioned that the Sumatra fires are thought to be natural and so the CI goal of protecting nature applies both to protecting nature from humans and protecting nature from itself.
  14. Context for Point #3: Here he appears to have identified national leaders such as President Trump (USA) and President Bolsonaro (Brazil) as enemies of nature because they “don’t believe in science“. It is understood that CI activity extends to opposing and neutralizing world leaders who do not believe in science and who therefore pose a threat in terms of the CI priority of protecting nature from destruction. It is common among environmentalists to think of science as a belief system such that whatever scientists say become biblical truth that must not be questioned although science itself works in exactly the opposite way.
  15. CONCLUSION: The theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) relates to the use of fossil fuels by the industrial economy of humans in which large quantities of carbon are dug up from under the ground where they had been sequestered from nature’s carbon cycle and climate system. The concern is that the carbon that is released into the atmosphere when these fossil fuels are burnt does not belong in the current account of the carbon cycle. It is feared that such external carbon is a perturbation of nature’s delicately balanced current account of the carbon cycle and that such perturbation can cause an unnatural accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere such as to cause unnatural man-made and therefore dangerous global warming and climate change. This aspect of AGW theory is not addressed in the Ford lecture and surely plays no role in CI priorities. Instead, AGW theory is seen only in terms of CI goals and priorities. The sources of carbon mentioned are all natural and the exchange of carbon between these sources and the atmosphere and oceans is also natural and not foreign to nature and therefore not a perturbation of the carbon cycle. They are instead the carbon cycle itself. The only unnatural role for humans in terms of deforestation is the encouragement given to Indonesia by climate science to clear forests for palm oil plantations and the production of climate friendly biofuels that can be derived from palm oil. The climate change presentation given by Harrison Ford is derived completely from the CI agenda and its priorities with little or no understanding of or relevance to the theory of AGW. This climate change presentation serves as a high profile example of an unusual aspect of the climate change movement in that it has attracted and become kind of a “promised land” for environmental, ecological, and new age activism groups of all colors. They all talk about climate change but in the details what they are talking about are really their own agenda placed into a climate change context.

















6 Responses to "Harrison Ford and Climate Change"

Hi Jamal, Curious, are you supporting Ford’s claims or just forwarding them for info?
Cheers, John

No sir. The post is critical of those views

Sorry but as I age I seem to be less able to grasp more complex written dialog. Bothers the crap out of me, too.

How are you mr cool?

[…] Harrison Ford and Climate Change […]

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