As people who care about the Earth, it’s understandable to be impatient for action on climate change. For most of our lives, we’ve been hearing ever-stronger warnings about the danger. And yet somehow, we encounter people who oppose taking action to protect society and ecosystems. Progress, when it happens, seems too slow to meet the urgency of the situation.
I’m an engineer who uses math every day. And math is what helps me feel hopeful about addressing climate change — even when the outlook seems bleak.
I remember the first time I was able to model reality with laws of physics. It was a very simple “reality,” made of a block and gravity, but I still felt as if I was being let in on a secret, and could see a little clearer. Now, I see math everywhere. I see it in the rocking of a leaf on its stalk, in the rolling wheels of a passing car. And in the way a door sticks and suddenly breaks free when you push a little harder.