by ecoAmerica’s Special Projects Director Judy Mills
“Situational awareness” is big among the military, pilots, spies and survivalists. In a nutshell, it means keeping all senses open to all information around you at all times while remaining open to the unexpected, unheard of and unimagined, all of which are always changing. It’s basically what America did not have in the lead up to September 11, 2001.
It’s what America is collectively lacking with regard to the climatic metamorphosis underway as we speak.
What might we do to remedy that, given that discussing “climate change” is about as politically correct as bringing up human population control or trepidation over Muslim passengers on airliners?
I looked for guidance in A Primer on Situational Awareness on the website of the slightly spooky STRAFOR Global Intelligence.
“An important element of the proper mindset is to first recognize that threats exist,” writes primer author Scott Stewart. “Ignorance or denial of a threat… makes a person’s chances of quickly recognizing the threat and avoiding it slim to none. This is why apathy, denial and complacency can be (and often are) deadly.”
Research by ecoAmerica and others shows that a majority of Americans don’t believe a climatic threat exists − not for them and not in their lifetimes. Which leaves our nation’s ability to recognize and avoid climatic threats “slim to none,” possibly “deadly.”
We all know what happened to those Chicken Littles in U.S. intelligence who warned that Al Qaeda might use airplanes as weapons of mass destruction on American soil. They were ignored. “Highly unlikely,” the Federal Aviation Administration declared. The FBI took no action. In retrospect a year later, Sen. Bob Graham, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said “collectively I think there was enough there that we should have done a better job of seeing what was coming and hopefully, with luck, stopping it.”
Is this where we are headed? Again. On climate? How can we promote the basics of situational awareness, which continue to be embraced and refined by our military forces, fire fighters and others who mind our collective security, to mind our national climate security?
Our military uses situational awareness to maximize safety and minimize losses. Ditto for our airline industry and other safety-first sectors. Aren’t these things all Americans want and value? Let’s help them understand that situational awareness of climate fluctuations will maximize safety and minimize losses for of all Americans in the near and long terms.