Based upon wild temperature swings, an uptick in natural disasters, the rise in glacial melt and the aftereffects of manmade pollution, it’s painfully obvious that the Earth is undergoing climate change at a brisk pace. A vocal minority, whether acting strategically or from a genuine place of ignorance, disagrees with the notion that climate change, enabled mostly by humans, poses a significant threat to our livelihood. However, the general population’s sentiments in this department appear to be trending in the right direction, with more Americans than ever believing that climate change is a major concern. There’s a rather interesting dichotomy between those who deny the merits of climate change evidence and those who use it to foster informed beliefs.
The downpour of denial against climatology’s solid foundation persists for several reasons. Politically and economically speaking, those who are invested in the oil and coal industries, for instance, benefit from decrying the merits of climate-based studies. Although said industries have profited tremendously in the past, their preservation is more trouble than it’s worth given that it enables pollution (e.g. land, water and air), international conflict and drastic withdrawal of nonrenewable resources. Other climate change deniers display willful ignorance. Honestly, I can’t for the life of me understand how anybody can take pride in not knowing something (although I can understand indifference a little more, despite my frustrations with it). They act like it’s a badge of honor or the hip new trend to sound uneducated instead of appreciating these scientific breakthroughs and potentially life-saving knowledge.
While it may be tough for some to confront their fear of climate change’s effects or admit to their incorrect line of thinking, their unwillingness to do so screams of hypocrisy, especially on the heels of cries such as “FAKE NEWS!” and “facts don’t care about your feelings” that are projected onto climate change advocates. Having said all this, however, I pity those who truly lack access to knowledge that would point them in the right direction. As irritating as it is whenever prominent public figures mix up “weather” and “climate,” we’re all so used to hearing about global warming that some don’t even consider that frigid conditions may also be an indicator of climate change. And, of course, it doesn’t help that mass news outlets place limited focus on such a critical issue, depriving millions of viewers from becoming well-informed about climate change.
Fortunately, Americans seem to be turning the tide concerning their belief in climate change. NPR’s Ian Stewart states that “the proportion of Americans who said global warming is ‘personally important’ to them jumped from 63 percent to 72 percent from March to December of last year,” and that “there has also been an eight percent rise in the number of Americans who are ‘very worried’ about global warming.” The majority are also taking responsibility for their role in the matter, as “62 percent of those surveyed said global warming is mostly caused by humans.” Now that we have attractive alternatives (e.g. hybrid and electric cars, wind and solar energy, etc.) to antiquated energy sources and are witnessing rising ocean temperatures (I guess no more “March of the Penguins” films, sadly) and seasonal extremes, the evidence in favor of climate change is growing incredibly tough to dispute. Of course, I can’t delve into a climate change discussion without mentioning ‘ManBearPig,’ “South Park’s” metaphor for global warming. The comparison is rather fitting in that each is a lurking threat that many don’t believe to be “super serial” at first, but years later these skeptics have come to their senses and recognized the dangers that each pose if left to its own devices (and perhaps now Al Gore has some friends, too).
Ultimately, we must turn up the heat on our discussion of climate change and freeze away any dubious claims with ice-cold facts. Only then can we progressively resolve one of the most viral epidemics on planet Earth.
Michael Katz is a contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email email@example.com.