I recently met for coffee with an acquaintance in the media world. She wanted to know more about film editing and had a clip to work on. It was for an environmental activist group she volunteers for.
Listening to the content of the video, I turned to her and asked tongue-in-cheek, "Do you believe all that?"
"Well, sure," she answered emphatically. "Don't you?"
I didn't know what to say.
I don't mean I was stunned. I mean I actually didn't know my thoughts on the topic of the climate crisis. Aside from the folks who do a fair amount of research, I'm not sure how anyone can.
It's no surprise that the climate issue--like immigration, gun control, etc.--has become polarized and is thus difficult to move forward. Polarization in the U.S. is just how things are today. But perhaps because of the grand scale of the implications (we only have one planet), this particular issue has been especially messy.
In fact, it's gotten this radical: The climate movement, which has long stated the need to stop denying the science and address this crisis, has gone so far as to have a faction within showing signs of a religion.
-prophet figures who scold the masses for their sins
-a desire for penance: avoiding talk of technological solutions and advocating ones that require societies to sacrifice
-the warnings of the end times
-and now ritual elements like dance
I'm not saying the climate change movement is a religion. Naysayers reacting radically are doing so, which only further polarizes the conversation, ensuring stagnation. I am saying some climate change activists are exercising their inherent religiosity through the climate movement. Religion has seeped into this scientific movement much like pesticide runoff tainting the water supply.
And while religion has compromised the radical factions of the climate movement, ideology has done so to less radical members. The most reputable sources of information have been caught up in this. In one example, I recall a recent BBC nature program saying all life in the oceans may be gone by 2050.
"What?!" I though to myself and wondering if I heard the narrator correctly. I actually listened to it again to make sure I heard him right.
In the face of such incredible statements, how can a thinking person know what (and who) to believe anymore? How many predictions from academics and professionals and scientists must fail to come true in one's lifetime before one becomes cynical toward all related discussion?
Yet for all the reason for cynicism, the belief in the climate crisis carries on perhaps stronger than ever--and with an almost theocratic acceptance, that despite the cracks in the belief system, one must not dare question it. (Hmm, maybe the movement itself is kinda religious.) Nonetheless, I do want to be an informed, responsible resident of Earth. I do want to know what the actual concerns are. I do believe there must be something serious afoot for all these intelligent leaders to be promoting actions in the name of helping curb this crisis.
But I'm not a scientist and I'm probably not going to pour over pages of data. What I want (what I think we all need) are trusted leaders to guide us on this issue. I do know one environmentalist named Michael Shellenberger, who, in my opinion, seems reasonable on this topic. He's also disliked by many environmental activists (a heretic?)
I'm wide open for others' suggestions here. Do you know any reasonable environmentalists and perhaps a paper or video from them?
One thing I am completely on board with: We do have just one planet. And since I've moved out to the edge of my metropolitan area, I've reconnected with my love for nature. I grew up in the countryside, and I recognize that deep part of me (hmm, spiritual?) that awakens when connecting with that which exists outside human contact.
Just as I don't want pollution in my parks and forests, I'd like to see the mental/emotional pollution taken out of the climate debate--so that we can see the problems, identify the solutions, and maintain a pristine planet.