23 October 2011

Which Tombstone Will They Choose for You?

I have always been a "nice girl." Thoughtful, kind, avoided trouble. But enough!

Is being nice (calm, understanding, compassionate towards wrongdoers) really more important than safeguarding the future for all children? Am I supposed to sit idly by while armchair "pundits" with no climate science qualifications bamboozle their audiences with cherry-picked data, misinterpretations and outright fabrications, the future bedamned? We are all entitled to our own opinions — but not to our own facts.

And which is worse? Calling someone a selfish %$#@ or being the someone who promotes an attitude that condemns all future generations to climate hell?

I know which side I come down on, but I'm just wondering, because it seems things are a little skewed in my community these days. (I won't call individual climate change denialists "selfish bastards" anymore — even though I didn't actually name anyone. They don't like it. Too close to home perhaps. Nor do others. Apparently, being nice trumps integrity and truthfulness and caring about the children. But it doesn't mean that the entire denialist campaign isn't made up of them. What kind of adult is it who puts their own creature comforts ahead of the needs of children for health and safety and security? And I'm a bad person because I called someone a name? Sheesh!)

It's pretty obvious to me that most people don't realize how grave the threat of the climate change emergency is, nor how profoundly their (grand)children's lives will be impacted. If they did, they wouldn't be upset with me for calling a spade a spade. They'd be railing against those who spew misinformation and continue to drag down any possibility of political change in the right direction.

Now, just to be clear about which side the truth lies on ... a new study shows that "global warming is real." Contrary to what my local climate change denialist is sharing in print with my community ("Average temperature appears to have slightly declined over the past decade," he tells his readers — which doesn't include me anymore. Wrong.)

Though not yet officially peer-reviewed or published, the authors of this study are sharing the preliminary results together with the programs and data set "in order to invite additional scrutiny as part of the peer review process."

Robert Muller, a known climate change skeptic, and his team (the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, sponsored in part by the Koch Brothers, deep-pocketed climate change denialists extraordinaire) headed up the project. Here's what he has to say about the results so far:
"When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn't know what we'd find. Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been very careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that. They managed to avoid bias in their data selection, homogenization and other corrections.

Global warming is real. Perhaps our results will help cool this portion of the climate debate."
Please remember that I take no delight when climate change denialists are proven wrong. I wish they were all right! I wish global warming were all a hoax and a myth. I want to wake up from this nightmare. But that's not going to happen. "Global warming is real." It's only getting worse. And it's the children who are going to suffer.

Because it's real, we've got to get going on solutions. And because it's real, you're either, to borrow from Dubya, for the right of future generations to a safe and stable climate, or you're not. Which makes you a selfi ... no, wait, I said I wasn't going to go there anymore.


So, which tombstone would you want for your gravesite? Can you guess which one I want for mine?

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?