I was raised in a pretty conservative family, and I am currently the liberal black sheep of the family—it’s a role I’m ok with, and mostly politics don’t get in between our relationships. The first thing that I remember vocalizing in descent was about climate change. The truth is at that point, I began hearing from family members, “oh you believe Al Gore.”
Unfortunately because An Inconvenient Truth was made by Al Gore, in many people’s minds the message itself was tainted. For a long time I heard that dismissal of climate change as a concept—more importantly as an overwhelming scientific consensus— because they didn’t like the person who presented it to the public.
Eventually the dismissal shifted slightly, to “well, Al Gore flies around in a private jet.” I’ll admit, I never bothered to fact check this, I assumed it was accurate. He’s a former Vice President with a staff, and I just assume that anyone at that level uses private jets, whether it’s necessary or not. I don’t know if he should or shouldn’t be using it, and frankly I don’t care, at least in the sense that it doesn’t change the facts surrounding climate change.
In politics, where they were less likely to dismiss Al Gore, they turned to a much more sophisticated form of dismissal, bringing in snowballs, and pretending like any cold weather negated the concept of ‘global warming.’ In some of their cases, I think there was genuine misunderstanding, but more often than not, I think it was a deliberate play at the ignorance surrounding the topic among a large portion of the citizens.
The last dismissal that I’ve heard is biblical. The basic idea that I’ve heard is that it is “supremely arrogant to think that man can ruin what God has created.” For those who believe in God, there is some truth in this statement, but there is again a fundamental misunderstanding. First—in my understanding—climate change will not destroy the Earth, it may however make it uninhabitable, thus killing us off, before it is able to repair itself. Secondly, there are numerous Bible verses in which we are referred to as ‘shepherds of the Earth,’ and basically stating that if God gave us this planet he wants us to take care of it.
I bring up these dismissals, because I think that there is a fundamental issue at play here; people want to believe the opposite of what makes sense. Many people seem determined to deny science, deny logic, because of ridiculous bias. I used to use the example that if President Obama said pizza was awesome, that a significant amount of the population would be boycotting pizza. I know it’s an exaggeration but the point stands, and Al Gore and climate change are the best real world example.
Today, I heard that there is going to be a sequel to An Inconvenient Truth, and I’m while it looks as if we NEED the information in it, I do worry that it is going to turn off those who are starting to come around.
So if you are reading this, and do not believe in climate change, or don’t believe that humans are significantly contributing to it (probably the most recent dismissal), please consider this:
If climate change isn’t real, but we behave as if it is, and try to fix it, what do we lose? Conversely, if climate change is real, and we act as if it isn’t, what do we lose?
Please let me know what you think in the comments.