Celebrity culture has “won.” The opinions of ill-informed or misinformed people have carried the day. Evidence is irrelevant to the masses. Far too late, I realize my time has been misspent.
Beginning about five years ago and continuing until 2 August 2016, I committed thousands of hours of my time and expertise to an often-updated essay, “Climate-Change Summary and Update.” In response, I was criticized daily for what I ate (nearly all of which I grew, hence I ate near the bottom of the food web), what I drank (really, people?), how I traveled (seldom, and never via mule or Concorde), the size of my house (fewer than 600 square feet), how much energy I used (living off-grid), and various other aspects of my lifestyle.
I opted out of the monetary system because I realized the monetary system was driving us to extinction, so I attempted to serve as an example. I failed. A few years after I began the process of parting ways with industrial civilization and the monetary system supporting it, Professor Tim Garrett pointed out that civilization is a heat engine, a discovery that was nearly as welcome with academicians as my work on abrupt climate change.
Upon moving to western Belize, where stunningly poor and outrageously expensive telecommunications infrastructure precluded updating this 31,000-word essay, I was no longer able to add information to this long essay. The criticism kept coming, although I was still living in much the same, off-grid manner, albeit in a lesser-developed country.
Shortly after moving back to the United States in late 2018, I created and frequently updated another essay on the topic of abrupt, irreversible climate change, “Extinction Foretold, Extinction Ignored“. This essay grew to about 3,000 words, and almost exclusively cited peer-reviewed literature. Occasionally, it cited the corporate media or governments when they surprisingly admitted abrupt, irreversible climate change was under way. The critiques of my everyday decisions did not decline.
In addition to being blamed and shamed for other aspects of my life, I was frequently criticized for collating, organizing, and distributing information about abrupt climate change. After all, according to the sources of these accusations, I did not author the papers upon which I relied to “make my case.” As a result, and due to an invitation from the editor of a peer-reviewed journal, I began my journey back into publishing peer-reviewed papers in May, 2019 with a paper published in Clinical Psychology Forum. A follow-up paper in the same journal explained why climate scientists and counselors fail to present the evidence about abrupt, irreversible climate change and grief recovery, respectively (hint: retention of privilege plays a significant role).
By the end of 2013, 4 years after I left active service at a major university, I had authored or co-authored 54 peer-reviewed papers. Almost all the papers were based on data collected in the field (i.e., they represented primary research). My nearly 6-year hiatus from publishing peer-reviewed articles ended in 2019, and led to the publication of 9 additional papers between May, 2019 and December, 2020. These papers were based primarily on research conducted by others (i.e., they represented secondary research).
Writing and publishing these articles generated no monetary benefit for me. As is customary, there were significant page charges attendant to having the papers published. I contrasted the publication of peer-reviewed papers with the publication of conventional media in this space more than two years ago.
Late in the process of having my recent peer-reviewed articles published, I realized that I had made the same mistake I had committed during my years of freely delivering public presentations: I failed to focus on habitat. As a conservation biologist, I assumed everybody knew about this fundamental pillar of conservation biology. Of course, few people actually understand habitat and its importance. My minor, too-late correction came with publication of what is likely to be my final peer-reviewed paper, “Near-Term Loss of Habitat for Homo sapiens” (pdf). It was recently published by the Journal of Earth & Environmental Science Research & Reviews.
Between peer-reviewed publications focused on (1) the psychological response to abrupt, irreversible climate change and (2) habitat for human animals, I wrote and had published articles about COVID-19, the inability of tree-planting to slow or reverse climate change, the myth of sustainability, and the importance of Arctic sea ice for keeping Earth cool. Links to all papers are included below. As with my earlier attempts to positively create societal change, my publication of peer-reviewed papers has had no measurable impact.
After more than two decades spent within the academy attempting to change lives for the better through teaching at (in chronological order) Texas A&M University, the University of Arizona, the University of California-Berkeley, Southern Utah University, and Grinnell College, I focused my post-campus life on the same pursuit. As with my life on various campuses, I largely failed to reach the masses, although I succeeded in a few, individual cases.
In short, I gave it my best shot. Try as I might, I did not move the proverbial, societal needle in life beyond the academy. My inability to significantly influence the direction of society resulted in no small part from an organized defamation campaign that effectively removed me from public service (also discussed here, via podcast interview, and also here, via interview with a credible journalist). Defamatory acts continue daily, further indicating my inability to induce a positive change at the level of society. Thus my recent decisions to opt out of social media and spend more time pursuing a full life.
Rod Serling’s “new citizenry” has arrived. My inability to change the course of human society is not surprising, although it remains disappointing. Given non-existent choices, I would make different selections regarding my personal history. However, my privileged life is not privileged enough to allow a time machine.
Recent peer-reviewed journal articles:
McPherson, Guy R. 2020. Near-Term Loss of Habitat for Homo sapiens. Earth & Environmental Science Research & Reviews 3(4):216-218. doi.org/10.33140/EESRR.03.04.07
McPherson, Guy R. 2020. The Means by Which COVID-19 Could Cause Extinction of All Life on Earth (pdf). Environmental Analysis & Ecology Studies 7(2):711-713. doi.org/10.31031/EAES.2020.07.000656
McPherson, Guy R. 2020. The Role of Conservation Biology in Understanding the Importance of Arctic Sea Ice (pdf). Earth & Environmental Science Research & Reviews 3(3):147-149. doi.org/10.33140/EESRR.03.03.03
McPherson, Guy R. 2020. The Myth of Sustainability (pdf). Earth & Environmental Science Research & Reviews 3(3):77-82. doi.org/10.33140/EESRR.03.03.03
McPherson, Guy R. 2020. Trees Cannot Sequester Enough Carbon to Slow Abrupt Climate Change. Modern Concepts & Developments in Agronomy (pdf) 6(4). doi.org/10.31031/MCDA.2020.06.000641
McPherson, Guy R. 2020. Earth is in the Midst of Abrupt, Irreversible Climate Change. Journal of Earth and Environmental Sciences Research 2(2):1-2.
McPherson, Guy R. 2020. Will COVID-19 Trigger Extinction of All Life on Earth? (pdf). Earth & Environmental Science Research & Reviews 3(2)2:73-74. doi.org/10.33140/EESRR.03.02.04
McPherson, Guy R. 2019. Going Halfway: Climate Reports Ignore the Full Evidence, and Therapists Ignore Grief Recovery. Clinical Psychology Forum 321:28-31.
McPherson, Guy R. 2019. Becoming Hope-Free: Parallels Between Death of Individuals and Extinction of Homo sapiens. Clinical Psychology Forum 317:8-11. The full paper is linked here (pdf).