It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Sunday, June 22, 2008

My Little World Revisited

Sometimes I think that I do some good that never gets formally associated with me.

Anyway, I have to wonder whether my essay "My Little World" had some effect on this graphic from a BBC report on the state of the planet that came out a few months later.

Mind you I didn't come up with the facts of the matter, just the way of presenting them. The shrinking planet graphic seems to draw upon that. I'd have liked it better if they explained the analogy a bit and emphasized how very small your planetoid really is getting to be. Still I am glad the Beeb ran this image and I urge you to think about it.

Though I'll confess that the vertical axis on the third graph is perhaps overprecise, the rest of the article should be part of any thinking person's world view too.


George Darroch said...

Perhaps. But the concept was also expressed in UNEP's Fourth Global Environment Outlook.

Your blog does do good, however. I read it and come away more informed about the issues. I really do appreciate your comment and analysis.

tidal said...

I've mentioned before how much I enjoyed that gristmill piece, Michael. There is something visceral and personal about the way it communicates the dilemma. The BBC graphs, and others like them, lend support, but for certain audiences the raw graphs/numbers don't come with any contextual way to personally communicate the starkness of the issue. I think the "your little asteroid" metaphor/piece did a beautiful non-quant job of doing that... And it would encourage people to then flesh out their understanding by looking at more in-depth data.

To George Darroch. Fwiw, the UNEP GEO4 report is actually linked to at the BBC url that mt points to.