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“People Who Believe In Climate Change Should Have Their Heads Examined”

2011/08/17

I’m off canoeing in beautiful Canadian Shield country again this week, so while I’m on holiday I will be reposting articles from the 350orbust archives. This article was first published in July 2010.

An acquaintance I recently bumped into told me, loudly and emphatically, that “people who believe in climate change should have their heads examined”.  He went on:

We’ve just had the coldest Florida winter ever, and we’ve had two cold summers here in northern Ontario. Anybody who thinks global warming is happening is out to lunch.

When I pointed out to him that “weather weirding” is exactly what climate scientists have been saying would happen if we continued to warm up the atmosphere with our burning of fossil fuels, he dismissed it out of hand.

So what is it that makes intelligent, other-wise responsible people dismiss out-of-hand the predictions of over 97% of scientists who study this for a living? If nine out of ten pilots told you a plane you were about to board was going to crash, would you get on anyway? I think not! Yet this is our planet, our only home, that we are talking about changing irreversibly because we won’t listen to the experts!

Is it because we can’t see the carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane gas in the air that we can dismiss these emissions as being insignificant? It is true, that based on our experience for the last 200 years since the beginning of the industrial revolution and our love affair with burning carbon began, we have gotten away without significant global consequences. Only when the air or water pollution in specific locations becomes a problem do we sit up and pay attention, at least if it’s close to us. However, tell the people in Chernobyl or the Love Canal that because you can’t see something it isn’t significant and can be dismissed!

Now, this acquaintance has two daughters, just like I do, and I know he loves them just as much as I do mine. If only he – a pilot and businessman with no scientific training – would take the time to consider what their futures are going to be like if he is wrong and the scientists are right. The crazy thing is, humanity is up to this challenge. We are innovative, intelligent creatures who unfortunately have let the destructive side of our nature run rampant with the environment recently. But it doesn’t have to be this way – we don’t have to be this way. The solutions are myriad, and are not the same for every community, or country. But they are achievable – if we start before we reach the tipping point. As Kelly Blyn wrote recently on 350.org:

The truth is, there is no silver bullet to stopping the climate crisis, no single technological solution that can fix everything at once. We don’t just need solar power, or wind power, or efficiency. We need all of these things and more. What we need, in a word, is diversity.

For example:

Germany’s energy could be 100 % renewable by 2050

Cool roofs save money, save energy, cut pollution, and directly reduce global warming

New Mexico Village uses sun-power to help fight fires

How the world can (and will) stabilize at 350 to 450 ppm: The full global warming solution

Still not convinced that this issue is important? Maybe this will change your mind:

How hot is it? Masters reports that 9 countries smashed all-time temperature records, “making 2010 the year with the most national extreme heat records.”

Photos Reveal Receding Himalaya Glaciers

The New Normal? Average Global Temperatures Continue to Rise

And, because the town I live in has a thriving tourism industry based on hunting and fishing, here’s a new link I’ve found, Target Global Warming, for and by hunters and anglers confronting climate change.

For a more examples of how climate change is changing the world here and now, go to Father Theo’s recent blog posting, Climate Change Notebook, July 2010.

We can do this – let’s join together and build a better future for all our children. I’ll quote from 350.org again:

Looking over the list of campaigns above, it becomes clear: there actually is one silver bullet to solving the climate crisis, and it’s not solar power.  It’s people power.

We can’t do this without you. Let’s keep building this movement.


Take Action to become a fossil fuel abolitionist:

  • Join or start a Citizens Climate Lobby group in your community
  • Participate in the global day of action on Sept 24 to demand solutions to the climate crisis and accelerate the move away from fossil fuels
  • Become part of the Transition Network, which supports community-led responses to climate change and shrinking supplies of cheap energy, building resilience and happiness.



2 Comments leave one →
  1. Keith Elliott permalink
    2011/08/17 8:23 am

    As much as I hate to say it, your friend is the one who needs his head examined.

    Here he is giving you perfect examples of climate change, but cannot seem to see the forest for the trees.

    Just one example from out our way…environment Canada was loudly warning us about the hottest summer that was to descend upon us this year. We listened to the warnings right from the early spring.

    Not yet Josephine…it has been nothing if not cool and even damp. Only in the past couple of weeks have we been getting what you could call summer weather. But the blazing hot temperatures are nowhere to be seen. Still firmly stuck in the bottom 20’s.

    Good for the garden though, we don’t need to consume so much water.

  2. 2011/08/17 10:28 am

    You might like to read about ‘Galileo Movement’ Fuels Climate Change Divide in Australia and the rebuttal by Gavin Schmidt.

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