It’s amazing to me that people who so earnestly believe in things they can’t see and cannot validate in any physical manner are so easily convinced not to believe in what can be tangibly experienced.
There are those among us who are convinced that the physical data that strongly suggests that what we do as we burn fossil fuels and destroy natural carbon sinks really doesn’t impact the record increases of global warming. I can’t count the number of people who have made the unbelievable claim that they don’t believe in global warming.
Data has been accumulated by a body of science under the field of climatology for decades and each year more information from newer and more improved technology continues to support and strengthen the theory that man-made global warming is real and a threat to the ecosystem that sustains us – and yet there remain the deniers of all this for reasons that seem to defy logic.
There are those few of course who are paid to cast doubt on the climate science. Being financially rewarded is a logical reason for denying what seems apparent to most. Coupled with the unfounded view that sees conversion to cleaner renewable energy sources from fossil fuels as a threat to the free-market system, getting paid to challenge the view of a consensus of climate scientists is despicable but understandable. These people are usually intelligent and capable of critical thinking. Some can even legitimately claim to be climate scientists themselves. Most if not all do believe the earth is warming but deny that humans have any influence on this.
Take away the incentive given them by the fossil fuel industry to dispute the science and their irrational fear of change, many would disappear from the scene. Some of course would remain simply to save face. To deeply mire oneself in a fiction and then separate yourself from it means you have to concede that maybe you were wrong. Prideful people will not bend to this necessity easily.
These people do not concern me however as do those they influence. The multitudinous layperson who is our neighbor and who regularly watches and reads self-serving sources that are unflinchingly and fervently pro-capitalist pose the real concern about this critical issue that has needed our attention for some time now.
These people are motivated not by money but by ideological choices that pits them against their perceived enemies. This “us vs. them” mentality is constantly evoked by sources who serve special interests. Easily distracted, the poorly informed lay person tends to go along with professional climate deniers because their main focus is usually on more mundane concerns they can handle rather than higher order, more complicated matters that seem beyond their reach.
This type of conflict between ideology and the realities of today’s world is evidenced with fundamentalists and evangelical Christians. There remain many who adhere to tenants of a religious faith first construed by an ancient culture and designed for a people who were convinced they were hand-picked by an unseen supernatural force.
This has created friction between them and a world of people who have had their lives balanced with strong doses of empirical science and see the interconnectedness of all humans and nature itself. The only source of knowledge that earlier generations had to guide their views on life and morality – the King James version of the Bible – has now been aptly challenged by physical evidence that makes such belief in the supernatural and any “moral” laws that are attributed to them suspect.
There still remains much the human brain has yet to comprehend and may never know with any absolute certainty. But compared to an earlier belief that held that the earth was flat and sun revolved around it, religion is now relegated to the spiritual needs of people to feel secure in their being. Letting go however of what was once considered reliable is easier said than done for people who flinch at most change
They’re aided in their continued disbelief of today’s realities with the new age media that compartmentalizes information which tends to serve specific views. With little or no critical thinking skills many people gravitate to the expressions and ideas that feel comfortable to them – notions and beliefs that they have grown up with and seem to satisfy their curiosity. Any correction of these habits is often too troubling and perhaps too painful to consider. Better to remain with what we’ve been assured of from an earlier time than consider things in the newer light of changing conditions.
Today, those who put their faith in the fossil fuel industry to meet our energy needs find themselves in conflict with the growing realization that oil is no longer king and poses more problems unbeknownst to us during its heyday. Resistance is automatic for many and encouraged by industry operatives to fight the new age energy sources that will ultimately have to replace oil, coal and gas. Familiar with what they have had, the future is scary to them. Unlike the supernatural world however that eludes our human senses, we can literally see and measure that which says adding CO2 to the delicate balance in the atmosphere dangerously plays with conditions on earth we need to survive.
Correcting old habits and ways of thinking is often too troubling and perhaps too painful to consider. How much easier it is then to simply deny belief in something that forces you to reconsider just how valid those views are you have never questioned before.
It is our nature to advance at rates that ensure future survival as much as it is to remain stuck in our comfort zones that served us in the past. The real problem always becomes when should we make that move to advance before it becomes too late.
Thus far we have succeed in achieving this though often after many have suffered needlessly. The Enlightenment period took us out of the dark ages and as a result democracies have taken us into a world that challenges the old forms of rule where people were subject to one person or a handful of powerful self-interests. It seems clear to me we are at that crossroads once more.
Those who choose to believe that man-made global warming is a “hoax” risk halting our forward progress unlike earlier times when those obstacles had to be overcome. Because we live in a world now that is more global socially than local or regional and information is more accessible, necessary actions to benefit humankind can get bogged down in divisive minutia.
If we fail to act in a timely manner or make the wrong choices we not only risk setting ourselves back to a condition that will take decades to bring ourselves out of but because of the runaway train effect of cumulative CO2 in the atmosphere we likely will not be able to stop what we have caused once the right decisions are made.