Forget Who’s Right – How ‘Bout Risk Management?

In the midst of the Truth Debate about climate change and global warming, one guy tries to spread the word using YouTube. Watch the first couple of minutes and see if his approach doesn’t grab you.

My first title for this post was “Bruce Morlan and YouTube’s Nerdy Science Teacher: Separated at Birth?” but then I thought the nerd might be insulted.


  1. BruceWMorlan said:

    Very cute. He is teaching everyone decision analysis … a truly powerful tool, and he does it so well. He may be insulted being compared to me, but I’m geeky enough to be happily compared to him.

    January 11, 2008
  2. Bill Ostrem said:

    As another nerd and as a resident of this planet, I really liked this, Tracy. I’m forwarding it to others.

    I’d like to learn more about the costs of addressing greenhouse gas emissions to safe levels. If I remember right, some leading sources (the UN’s IPCC?) have projected these would be a small percentage of global gdp; in the low single digits, I think. People tend to forget that many of the changes that are required have benefits: greater energy efficiency, preservation of land, etc. Let’s not forget the potential economic harm that is and would be caused by climate change.

    Judging from the presenter’s glasses, he’s about as myopic as I am – only in the literal sense!

    January 11, 2008
  3. John George said:

    Tracy- A very interesting link. I like his term,”climate destabilization,” but I don’t have any facts about it. The thing that stood out to me that I would like to comment on is in his last few seconds of presentation. He touches on some altruistic qualities of mankind. One of the things (not the only thing) that got us into this situation is simply our greed. In our quest to be bigger and better and richer (I include all mankind here, not just Americans), we have set in motion a consuming lifestyle that is basically self centered. I don’t see the possibility for any great changes being able to happen until this attitude changes.

    He goes on to say that we have “greatness” in us. Where does that come from? Is it somehow locked up in our genes and just needs the right chemical reaction to set it free? Is it something learned and expanded upon from generation to generation? Or is there an image in us that has been put there from the beginning? Hmmmm. Sounds a little like some religious overtones.

    I believe that any time we begin to deal with non-quantifiable qualities, science is going to come up short. The thread that stands out to me in the risk management approach is that a person has to start with what he believes. In this case, do you believe the evidence presented will lead to disaster or is it just indicative of cyclical patterns? His position of comfort is to believe in the majority of thescientific community. But if you look at human history, some of the greatest changes were brought about by small minorities. For instance, the world being round. That theory flew in the face of the majority of scientific thought at that time. Most recently, civil rights. That was a social movement born out of a minority. And to affect the effects of our lives on this planet, we will most certainly need social change.

    I don’t think I have a lot of hope in the majority of the scientific community at this time to be able to bring about this type of change. Science really has nothing to do with morality, but what we need to accomplish to deal with the lifestyles creating our global mess certainly has moral overtones to it. I would love to discuss some of these things if it is appropriate to do so in this venue.

    I do believe he has a point. We need to do something. No action is actually action. I believe the social change required to address this issue is a good place to start. The question is whose standard are we going to use?

    January 12, 2008
  4. Jerry Bilek said:

    I like his approach. Very entertaining and I agree with his risk management assessment.

    January 12, 2008
  5. Nick Benson said:

    Let’s see…
    – Big fan of risk management
    – Uses whiteboard with great enthusiasm
    – Crusading for the future of civilization through the use of pyrotechnics
    – Affinity for “unusual” hats

    If there’s any candidate for being an unknown relative of Bruce, this is the guy.

    January 12, 2008

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