Climate Change: a predictable shock

May 7, 2015

TEDx Yerevan Salon

Here, our very own Diana Harutyunyan, UNDP in Armenia’s climate change expert, shares her thinking and concerns on the similarities between humans and frogs

There is a famous anecdote about boiling frogs. It goes that if you place a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will leap out right away and survive. But, if you put a frog in a kettle that is filled with water that is cool and pleasant, and then you gradually heat the kettle until it starts boiling, the frog will not become aware of the threat until it is too late.

A sad story for Frogkind, undoubtedly – but also a useful metaphor for human beings? We use it to pitch the importance of school performance to children, resilience to adults, or healthy lifestyles to teenagers. We scare at the future image of being boiled alive.  We could even use novelty postcards as proof of these terrifying, nightmarish frog experiments.

But where do we stand today, in the Froginess scale? Most people would consider themselves to have an awareness higher than that of a Frog.  We believe that we can luxuriate in the bliss of warm water and still jump out before it’s too late. Can we?

In a few months, 196 countries will come together to (fingers crossed!) sign a new global agreement on climate change in Paris. How likely it is that we will set clear rules in this new contract? How likely it is that the rules will be respected by all? Can we face up to the difficult questions that are being posed?  In short, will we jump out of the water while we still can?

Last month UNDP in Armenia held Yerevan’s very first TEDx Salon. Speakers of all shapes and sizes – environmental experts, civil society leaders, government ministers, and academics – spoke in front of a packed audiences on the perils of climate change and what we need to do to combat it.

p.s. no frogs were harmed in the making of this blog. 

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