Climate Change Scare

Source: Giphy

“How dare you!” exclaimed Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, before the United Nations Climate Summit in September 2019. In December 2019, Time magazine named her the Person of the Year. Moving from obscurity to the global scene during 2019, she “inspired 4 million people to join the global climate strike on September 20, 2019, in what was the largest climate demonstration in human history.”

When I first heard Thunberg’s speech, my response was, “How rude!” A person, especially a young person, ought to show more respect to government leaders, even if she profoundly disagrees with them. If she hadn’t been speaking on a hot-button politically correct topic, she might have been rejected by the UN.

Greta Thunberg commonly uses strong emotional language.

“I want you to panic. …“I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”

“People are underestimating the force of angry kids,” she said. “We are angry and frustrated, and that is because of good reason. If they want us to stop being angry then maybe they should stop making us angry.”

Time Magazine December 23/30, 2019

So, what scared Greta into displaying such passion? Why does she, and others around the world, believe we’re going extinct and that entire ecosystems are collapsing? Are your children frightened as well?

Environmental History

To start off, I want to make clear that though I’m no tree hugger, I care about the environment. I’m all for reducing pollution and litter. I recycle, compost kitchen scraps, and try not to waste resources by turning off lights and avoiding unnecessary car trips.

Throughout my lifetime, environmental concerns have been a significant issue in America—or at least in the Pacific Northwest. In the 1970s, people fought against pollution and animal extinction. The 1973 Oil Embargo led to energy conservation.

People also spoke of global cooling in the 1970s. Over time, this idea shifted to global warming. Now, activists have rebranded the issue as climate change, and public enemy number one is carbon dioxide.

That’s crazy, I thought when I first heard that idea. How can CO2 be harmful when it’s what all people and animals naturally exhale and what plants need to live? Moreover, carbon dioxide represents only a small fraction of the elements that make up our atmosphere. Why worry?

My Research

In the past, I saw the need to study climate but not the urgency.

Now, as climate-change alarmists have gained political clout and are molding local, national, and international policies—and the minds of the young—I feel compelled to understand better the issue to be an informed citizen.

I started by asking, Why are today’s youth so frightened about climate change? Besides Thunberg’s fear and rage, I heard a radio show host describe a conversation she had with a young man on an airplane. Though in his mid-twenties, he had no plans for the future. Why make any plans if there won’t be a future due to climate change?

Have students not been introduced to both sides of the issue? In perusing conservative news, I’ve read a few articles from the skeptics’ point of view. So, I had a rudimentary knowledge of the subject before I began my research. I understood that differing opinions, even in the Christian community, existed.

But apparently, many teachers do not. It makes me angry when academia frightens their captive audience—children and young people—into believing the sky is falling without discussing the pros and cons of an issue such as climate change. It’s even worse that they don’t vet out misleading information.

For instance, the frequently quoted 97 percent consensus for Anthropogenic Global Warming is fabricated. Yes, nearly all scientists agree that the climate is changing, and has always been changing. However, many question the degree of change and the primary cause of it. But the PC crowd has declared the skeptics’ points of view as nonsense and refuse them any time in school discussions or in the media.

Student Resources

To learn what students might be reading on the subject, I checked out a few books from the library, two juveniles, one teen, and one adult book (which I may discuss later) with the pro-alarmist climate change point of view.

Climate Change: Discover How It Impacts Spaceship Earth
by Joshua Sneideman and Erin Twamley
White River Junction, VT: Nomad Press (2015), ages 9-12

This nonfiction picture book explains how the climate works, how it is changing, how scientists collect data on the climate, and gives a call to action to combat climate change.

These topics seem straight forward; however, the authors lead the reader to their point of view with comments such as

“The statistics on global climate change may seem glaringly obvious” (20).

“Whatever our attitudes now, climate change is a fact and it is already happening…and we need to work together” (44).

These authors fail to mention the existing controversy among scientists.

Analyzing Climate Change: Asking Questions, Evaluating Evidence, and Designing Solutions
by Philip Steele
New York: Cavendish Square (2017), juvenile nonfiction

Similar to the above text, this book speaks of the dangers of extreme weather—floods, droughts, superstorms— and human misery—famine, disease, and death—climate change will cause if we don’t act now.

But unlike the Spaceship Earth text, this book attempts to acknowledge some disagreements with a few pro-and-con sidebars. Still, author Philip Steele clearly leans toward the political-correct side of the arguments. For instance, in the section on fossil fuels, he gives this argument:

  • Pros: powered modern way of life; used to make plastics; made travel easier.
  • Cons: emit carbon dioxide; pollute land, sea, and air; major cause of global warming.

All can agree with the pro statements. The con statements that fossil fuels produce carbon dioxide and pollute our environment can be proven empirically. Yet, whether CO2 is genuinely a problem and that fossil fuels are a significant cause of global warming are not “settled science.”

Analyzing Climate Change also features the well-known hockey stick temperature graph, which skeptical scientists have shown it to be a fraud.

Climate Change: A Groundwork Guide
By Shelley Tanaka, revised edition
Berkeley, CA: Groundwood Books (2006, 2016), teen

This teen book covers the same topics with the same viewpoint as the others but at a greater depth. Disaster is coming.

“And all over the globe there would be a battle for the world’s arable land, energy and, especially, fresh water” (63). The book contains much of the same doom and gloom as the children’s books.

However, Shelley Tanaka does expose the uncertainty of climate change predictions to some extent.

Computer models “are far from perfect—critics say their results are so broad as to be next to useless—because no matter how sophisticated the model, it can never factor in many complexities that affect climate.”

p. 66

But she still clings to the idea that climate change is bad.

“Nobody knows for sure precisely how high carbon dioxide levels will rise, or what exactly will happen as a result. But climatologists are certain about one thing. … global warming will bring more harm than good to humans. The problem is not just the fact of global warming—something the planet has experienced many times before. It is the speed of the warming, and the impact this will have on a crowded planet.”

p. 77, emphasis mine

YouTube Offerings

As a bibliophile, I’m drawn to books, but younger people prefer video over long text. So, I investigated a few shorter climate change videos on YouTube. With ominous music and footage of destructive storms and parched deserts and voice-overs that speak of extinction and collapse of civilization draw a stronger emotional response than books do. No wonder our kids are freaked out. Here are some examples: “Climate Change Explained” and “Climate Change.”

Instead of using reason and valid scientific evidence, the alarmists use emotion, particularly fear, to motivate people to act on their worldview.

Searching for videos on climate skeptics, the only hits I found were politically correct responses to skeptics’ arguments. I found no videos that supported a skeptics’ point of view. Telling. You have to go to other platforms for those.

Critical Thinking Needed

In conclusion, student resources appear not to provide both sides of the story. Schools claim to teach critical thinking skills, which suggests they teach students to look at a controversial issue from several angles. Yet, the educational resources weigh heavy on the alarmist side of the climate change issue.

Parents of publicly educated children, keep this in mind. When popular leftist issues such as climate change come up in conversation, ask your kids if they know about the different sides of the problem.

Explain to your children that school may present specific ideas as truth but are actually controversial. Also, point out the difference between an emotional appeal and a rational argument. Parents must train their children in critical thinking skills when public schools neglect to.

One thought on “Climate Change Scare

  1. Something written in another place.
    In an effort to reduce pollution, locally and globally, we must encourage our youth and others to truly think for themselves. In school, I learned the scientific method, which in time, I better understood. In this process, understanding cause and effects, but also the myriad of other factors that might be involved and probably are, young people can begin to realize and conceptualize, but also test ideas which can bring forth some real results and understanding.
    If we are looking to reduce pollution and improve our health, also the health of animals, then much must be both taught and researched (by teachers and students). For instance, if I’m testing the idea that certain plants grow better in the sun, how did I come to that conclusion? Did I just think it, believing it sounds real, or did I test the theory, for we all know mushrooms do better in the shade?
    So, I take the plant in question, which I’ve observed outdoors, finding over time that the ones in the sun seem to grow better: taller with fuller leaves and fruits or whatever. However, perhaps I once saw one plant growing well in partial sun. So I test. I have a question. I test the soil the plants are growing. Perhaps the soil in different areas are different. Perhaps a tree nearby has roots taking water away from those other plants. Perhaps the insects in those areas, locally, have an impact.
    Therefore, I take several of the plants (seeds and partially grown plants) and test in the house and outdoors, in soils I select (And I select soils from the ground, different grounds, from the store, and make some of my own.). Over time, putting some plants in the shade, some in partial shading, and others in full sun, I observe. And over more time, testing over and over, I have a theory, which I then bring in other factors. Perhaps, in time, I have facts, but they have to be tested over and over to know.
    This sounds tedious, but to have real understanding, this is what it takes. If we’re after real understanding, then that’s what we have to do.
    Now, bring in the Earth. How do we test theories or beliefs? This is an excellent question. What a great opportunity to educate. Start with simple experiments to understand the scientific theory, read reports, have science fairs, and challenge. Discuss the myriad of elements on the Earth, but also include what we know of the solar system influences of the sun and other factors (The sun goes through cycles, which we can link some studies to show correlations.). Discuss different environmental factors in different regions, but also local changes including buildings and other factors. Discuss how the world has been changing since it began, where we have some understanding however needing of fuller studies they may be. Discuss the Coriolis effects. Learn about volcanoes. Discuss and read about groundwater and how seismic shifting can effect. And on, and on, and on…. Fascinating stuff.
    With time and as students age, they can continue studies. Of course, we don’t want to forget mathematics, grammar, history, not to mention physical activities. But with each succeeding year, the levels of education will rise, understanding too, also the realization that more information is needed (for that will have to happen as research, discussions, debates, and cross ideas and challenges occur.). And when students write papers, they should be challenged in their thinking. This is good. For if people are not willing to be challenged in their thinking, they will always be afraid to really research. Some research lasts a lifetime, but the next generation benefits. You came to this conclusion? What about this? Where are you getting your facts, and are you sure those are facts? How do you know? And how can you find the information you’re looking for? And can you? And more.
    If we teach our kids and teens about cause and effect, that there are multiple factors which must be accounted for, we encourage them to realize and the world of understanding grows. For this is the purpose of learning. To know, learn, understand, and see where more learning is needed. For some, this opens their eyes. Some will appreciate, but go onto other careers. A few will become scientists and further the studies. But when they all become adults, they’ll be better equipped to explain things to their own future children. What an opportunity for future discussions.

    Liked by 1 person

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