At What Point Should You Start Really Freaking Out About Climate Change? Right Now

Lauren Bogholtz
At What Point Should You Start Really Freaking Out About Climate Change? Right Now

Last week, Andrew Wheeler, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said climate change is not his top priority. “Yes, [the] climate is an issue and we are working to address it,” he told Reuters, while nonetheless downplaying recent findings by EPA scientists that detailed the size and time-sensitivity of the problem.

But

, author of the new book , wants you to panic about climate change. He compares how people often talk about the health of the planet — as a vague, far-off risk — with what inspires people to actually take action in their own lives. “Imagine going to a doctor who says, ‘If you keep eating like this, some day your cholesterol will be too high.’ If you’re like most people,” he says, “you don’t change a thing. Bring on the cheese. But if the doctor says, ‘Your cholesterol is already in the zone where people have heart attacks — in fact, it looks like you may have had a mild stroke already’ — Well, that’s when you say, ‘What pill do I take?’”

McKibben says that the planet is already in that zone today — contending that, because we don’t worry enough about climate change, we don’t move to fix what’s wrong at the speed our planet requires. Watch his full argument in the video above.