Mid-way through week 7 (of 8) I reflect that I have learned a lot, mainly qualitative ideas and impressions. The task of making the planet habitable for my grandchildren seems harder than ever. Globally the necessary actions seem abundantly clear – reduce population, use much less fossil fuel, shrink the developed-world economies, act on several adaptation strategies …. However the prospect of action – either in the developed or the developing world – seems remote. The key question for the individual (e.g. me) is what is the most effective thing to do? I have already bored my wife and several friends by starting discussions on climate change and its impact. I publish articles pointing out the folly of growth and the burning of fossil fuels, but beyond this I feel helpless. I fear that things will have to get a lot worse – for a majority of individuals – before acceptance will win over denial (or simply inertia).
The content is relentlessly general, but contains about one issue per week which I have not previously considered. Several irritations persist: the huge numbers of similar postings in the discussion threads; the mind-numbing jingle at the beginning of each video; the difficulty of finding in formation again when you have finished viewing videos and reading web sites; the relentless hand-waving of the presenters; the feeling that one’s comments are not being read by anyone (and for the most part – why should they?); the frustration of not being able to quiz the lecturer face-to-face (or even email-to-email). I am a staunch opponent of the lecture, but I begin to realise that there are some advantages to taking notes and challenging the lecturer!
On the positive side, I think that the end-of-week feedback videos are excellent. They enable the team to recap important points in a viewer-friendly way.