I’m a fairly mellow guy, I think. I’m not one to fly into rage when I read something online.
I have been known to scream “Oh, come ON” at my screen, though, and this CNN opinion piece on climate change made me do just that.
It’s not because I think it’s wrong. What Jane Velez-Mitchell, the writer, wants is for media to openly advocate that climate change is real and we need to do something about it. If our media can do that factually and objectively, fine. No quarrel. Knock yourselves out, folks!
What made me facepalm, multiple times, was her use of May tornadoes in the Midwest as evidence that climate change is a real, immediate threat to us all.
OMG. O, M, G.
Excuse me, Your Humble Blogger said, currently living in Kansas and having lived in Indiana, two parts of the country known as Tornado Alley, for virtually all of his life; having childhood memories of April 3, 1974, having read stories of Palm Sunday 1965 and the Tri-State Tornado which occurred well before that; just because a couple of towns in Missouri and Nebraska got blown to bits as has happened every year in the Midwest since at least when they started keeping records of this stuff–I’m supposed to consider tornadoes evidence that all of humanity is in danger unless we do something about climate change?
OMG, AYFKM? The “F” standing for “fully,” of course? 😉
I made myself read the rest of Ms. Velez-Mitchell’s article in spite of my immediate visceral reaction to that… that… well, that; but I’ll tell you right now, I didn’t want to.
See, there’s this thing about human nature: If in an argument an example used to make a point demonstrates ignorance of reality as a human being sees it, that same human being will consider the point itself equally ignorant.
And from there, from that, most human beings will read all kinds of things into the motives of those trying to claim it fact, most if not all of them, unkind.
Why is there debate about whether or not climate change is really happening? Right there is your answer.
What people have grown up with, have heard about and perhaps dealt with all their lives, is being presented as evidence not only that climate change is happening but that it’s an immediate, high-level emergency that must be dealt with right now. A crisis.
Normalcy doesn’t equal crisis in most people’s minds.
I don’t consider a bunch of tornadoes proof of anything other than life in the Midwest has its risks. My wife considers wildfires in California proof of nothing more than that Santa Ana winds fan flames quickly. She grew up there. She remembers it having fires every year.
If you tell either of us it’s proof the climate is changing and unless we do something fast we’re doomed, most likely we’ll ignore you. Your fear doesn’t equate with our facts. We think you’re trying to manipulate us. We resent it. Thoroughly.
Just so you know, this is from someone who believes climate change is real.
How much of a threat it is, is hypothetical at this point. But it is happening, and it’s wise to apply thought and resources toward determining why it’s happening, if it’s natural or man-made–I don’t buy that already being settled; little people, big Earth–if it can be stopped, if it can’t, how best to deal with it; if it can, whether or not it should be. All this should be done.
But it should not be done with fear.
It should not be done with ignorance.
Manipulating people through fear and ignorance is a guaranteed, time-tested, historically-proven way NOT to get something done in the long term. Anything good, anyway.
Yet it seems today for any cause, any belief, any action, they’re the very first things our so-called leaders go for.
No wonder we’ve become so polarized as a country. No one knows what to think anymore because no one appears to know how.
I would love to see a new age of reason in this country.
Just once–let’s use climate change as an example–I would love to see someone in a high place say, “Look, whether or not we believe this is real or not is irrelevant. It’s beside the point. If there’s evidence that it is happening, wouldn’t it benefit us all to take the time and the research necessary to know how best to deal with it? Surely we’re smart enough we can do that without it costing anyone his way of life, if we think about it, if we apply ourselves to it. Why, we might find ways to improve everyone’s lives along the way whether it’s really happening or not. This doesn’t need to be a crisis. It’s simply a challenge, and any challenge we’ve faced together before, as one, we’ve met successfully, the record proves it. Nothing makes this one any different. So let’s just deal with it, as one, together. What say you?”
I’d be a lot more receptive to that approach. Wouldn’t you?