With Floridian leaders declaring the term “climate change” taboo and United States Committee on Science, Space, and Technology members claiming that climate change is not real to the face of the White House Science Adviser (Dr. John Holdren) simply because they don’t believe it, our country and world seems to be facing an abysmal fight against ignorance and the funding of pollutant energy companies such as Peabody Energy and Koch Enterprise. The issue that should be on everyone’s mind is the fact that our home is reaching unstable temperatures and undergoing a considerable climate shift, but unfortunately this issue now has little to do with actual science and more to do with politics. However, Naomi Oreskes, a published author on this issue, has introduced a compelling argument for the acceptance of climate change science, for those who have a hard time reading the thermostat.
While hard science will do little more than aggravate big money oil and coal corporations, bringing awareness to the public is a necessary battle if we are to awaken a national frenzy of action to help decrease the damage done by humans. Approximately one fourth of the U.S. population claims that they don’t believe in climate change. This number is much too large. What can we expect from a country where most have access to school, but one fourth still fail to realize the implications and the realities of the problem? We can’t just tell them that it is happening, we have to convince them by showing them.
Oreskes spoke to the reality of the situation, though, in a more roundabout way. We may ask: why should we trust climate science? She will answer: because we should trust science in general. Someone will always argue that scientists have been wrong before and they will be wrong again, there is no denying that only because it is true, but what many fail to realize is that science is all uncertain. The only reason we are ever certain about any science is because we have proof and consensus, and above all else we have time. No theory is accepted the first time someone hears it. People thought Galileo was out of his mind for believing that the sun was the center of the solar system, until more and more people saw things his way. Every sound theory or law undergoes testing and refining by thousands of scientists. The same goes for climate change; in fact, we knew enough to see the problem in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Climate change is not a new idea.
So why don’t people believe or act to abate this problem? Oreskes brought up that climate change threatens peoples’ lifestyles, not because they are afraid of the future, but because they are afraid of giving up the luxurious life they have now. Simply eating less meat, buying a green car next time you are shopping for one or recycling can shrink your carbon foot -print. Consumers have the power to change what is made, Walmart even sells organic food. It is all supply and demand. But everyone puts climate change at the bottom of their priority list, of which buying a new pair of Nike shoes is at the top.
“We have to take a step,” Oreskes says, “We have to make some progress.” And there is no reason why we shouldn’t. There is no two- sided argument with this issue. We are in a situation in which there are solutions, but those who have to enact them are in denial. The one thing we have to realize is that, yes, nature will change, but it will not die. Nature will live on, because we cannot kill it, but we are destroying our own future. We are extinguishing the only flame that humans care about; our own.