November 2, 2019


Joel Nodelman

Climate Change – The Death of 1000 Cuts

About the author

Joel is an engineer and risk management specialist with over forty years of professional practice. He is committed to helping his clients achieve climate resiliency and sustainability.

As I have said many times, we need to celebrate each success along the way, small as it may be.  If we demand perfection before we act, we never make progress. 

So, every step in the right direction is a good step.

We need to remember that climate change is the death of a thousand cuts.  It results from the cumulative effect of all of our carbon use, not just that of a few large emitters. 

This is an old story.  Lingchi was a form of torture and execution used in China from the year 900 to 1905, when it was finally banned.  It was variously called:

  • Slow process
  • Lingering death
  • Slow slicing
  • Or, death by 1000 cuts

The victim was subjected to small cuts over their body, none of which were fatal.  But, over a long period the total number of cuts mounted, and the victim eventually died from blood loss and shock.

The biggest issue we face with climate change is that, like Lingchi, it is a slow, lingering problem that, if left untreated, accumulates leading to death and destruction.

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