As I’ve mentioned before, I was born and raised on a Montana cattle ranch. It should come as no surprise than many of my friends and family from that neck of the woods are quite conservative.
To be fair, I’m still fairly conservative on many issues confronting our great nation.
But renewable energy and climate change is where I part ways with my conservative base…
Not surprisingly, I had a few very interesting discussions over the holidays about climate change. I got the same tired arguments from old friends I’ve heard many times before like: “The climate has always been changing” and “There are still thousands of scientists who disagree”.
Despite my debunking their arguments with hard evidence, they were still perfectly comfortable dismissing said evidence and sticking with the conservative narrative, which as we all know, boils down to the idea that climate change is just a big hoax.
Here’s what I learned from those lively discussions…
For some, continually denying the existence of a scientifically proven phenomenon is easier than accepting information which could alter their perceived identity and/or worldview.
And it’s very important to note that such denial is dunked in an enormous pot of hypocrisy.
Why does climate denial go hand in hand with hypocrisy?
Let me explain…
As you’re aware, pretty much everyone in the developed world uses electricity. No one will argue the point that modern society is built on the back of electrons flowing from one point to another. Nearly every technical gadget you own; whether it’s a TV, cell phone, computer, or appliance in your house, uses electricity.
Fact is, electricity is ubiquitous with modern life.
So, where does the electricity we use come from?
Even though electricity is a natural force, it needed to be discovered and understood. Many give credit to Benjamin Franklin, but it was English physicists William Gilbert and Thomas Browne who made the initial discoveries in the 1600’s.
Over the centuries scientists figured out how to produce and control electricity, moving it from one place to another so we could empower our lives with it.
So to answer the question- where does the electricity we use come from? The answer is… science.
Science is what allows you to watch TV, talk on your cell phone, surf the web on your computer, and drive to your local supermarket to load up on groceries. You name it- every modern convenience we have is brought to us by science.
Isn’t it interesting that society doesn’t question science when it makes our lives easier and more enjoyable?
But when science brings us something that’s inconvenient, it’s a different story…
The same scientific method that gave us the modern life we embrace, is warning us of anthropogenic climate change.
That’s right, it’s the scientific method, used by thousands of climate scientists over many decades, that’s giving us this information.
Despite this, deniers are quick to discount the theory of human caused global warming. Even though there’s a huge and quickly growing body of evidence supporting the theory, many still refuse to accept the reality of the situation.
Don’t you think it’s enormously hypocritical to use and embrace science when it benefits you, but reject it when it doesn’t fit your beliefs, or it’s perceived as a threat?
Deniers will give you a number of reasons why they think climate scientists are wrong. Arguments like; “The climate has always been changing” and “not all scientists agree”, or my personal favorite- “It’s just a big hoax perpetrated by neoliberals who want to steal our freedoms.”
Here’s the deal…
Say what they will, deniers’ refusal to accept reality boils down to the fact that climate change really is an inconvenient truth. Despite the shortcomings and missed projections of Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth” the title of his documentary really does sum it up perfectly.
In order to address the climate change issue, society has to completely rethink how it does things. Out with the old energy and transportation systems that spew carbon into the atmosphere, and in with the ones that don’t.
If only it were that simple, right?
To a clean energy future…
***Note*** There’s actually an explanation for the process of denying facts that don’t fit your beliefs, and accepting others that do. It’s called “motivated reasoning”. Here’s a great article about its prevalence in climate change discussions.