Australian bushfires

The ‘Catastrophic’ January Bushfires: Thinking of Creative Solutions

While Australia has always been a land “of droughts and flooding rains,” debate is once again raging over how climate change may be making our country’s hyperbolic weather more extreme than it once was.

As fires continue to burn across the south-east, the temperature has gotten so high the Bureau of Meteorology has introduced the colour purple to its rainbow of measurements and turned the world of interactive weather forecast maps up to eleven.

An article written by George Monbiot in The Guardian newspaper on Tuesday explains how extremes of weather in Australia are also clashing with the arguments of climate change sceptics like Andrew Bolt, who two weeks earlier argued on his blog that “the global warming faith has become just the latest haven of the closet totalitarian.”If Monbiot is right in saying that “Australia’s new weather demands a new politics”, but that “meaningful action on climate change would require a serious reassessment of the way life is lived,” it might be time to start thinking for solutions outside the environmental box.

During the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Matthew Liao, a professor of philosophy and bioethics at New York University explained how bio-engineering human beings to better adapt to climate change might be valuable way to reduce our environmental impact. His suggestions include pharmacologically increasing our capacity for empathy and altruism, engineering the human body to be smaller (big people consume more energy), and chemically inducing intolerance to eating meat, because our addiction to a well-cooked steak accounts for as much as 51% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Check out what he had to say here.