A whirl of activism about climate change hit this week. With everything from a young girl scolding the leaders of the world at the UN to climate change rallies with school children in various nations around the globe.
We’ve known about this stuff for over 30 years now. We’ve had an amazingly strong consensus of scientists for at least 15. Why is there any need at all for this kind of action? There is no doubt in the science, every argument put forward as to why man-made climate change is not a serious issue has been soundly rebutted as either using faulty math, faulty logic, not matching up to the whole of the observable evidence we already have, or, most often, combinations of all three.
Yet we still fight.
My mother is someone who denies climate change. Not that it’s happening, the evidence is simply too obvious to everyone now that something is going on with the weather. She denies that people could be responsible for affecting something as big as the global climate. She follows and reposts every blog, story, YouTube video, or article that she sees that tries to throw any question as to the severity of climate change or the need or efficacy of action on our part. She seems to truly believe that those pushing the idea of man-made climate change are doing so against reality, for their own narrow benefit. This view is no doubt helped by living in Alberta, where our government sets up “War Rooms” to put out war propaganda demonizing any who would question our concentration in the fossil fuel industry. And frankly, I simply don’t have the time or energy to rebut everything she puts forward. I occasionally will read a link to see if something new is there, but time and again it is the same type of material, cherry picked data, often using various types of fallacious arguments and sophistry with the evidence to suggest it’s not that bad, or at the very least that attempting to do anything about it is foolhardy. But trying to rebut everything is almost like fighting the tide, and I somehow expect that demonstrations like this will only harden her opinion.
But I understand why she believes this way. Pretty much the entirety of her career has been spent working for the oil industry, in one administrative capacity or another. And she’s not a terrible person. So for her, thinking that she might have been profiting from somehow enabling what could be a serious challenge to our entire civilization would be abhorrent. Far easier to think that somewhere, the science is wrong. That those who rise up and call the industry that supported her for so many years one of evil simply don’t understand what they’re talking about.
And I think those of us concerned about climate change here in Alberta need to take that into consideration: that when we call these companies evil, when we say things like their activities are dooming the human race, the people within those industries are taking that very personally, even if they were simply working a job. I wonder if we might be better served by not ascribing motivation, but, for many, simply an honest mistake. It’s something to think about anyway.