It has been 24 years since the topic of Climate Change did not surface during presidential debates. So Mr. and Mrs. Climate sent their child Sandy to make a statement: you can avoid the topic all you want, but I’m not going away. Denial can be deadly.
This pre-Halloween trick inspired NYC Mayor Bloomberg to give the treat of endorsement to President Obama, because, as he writes in his news service, “our climate is changing.” So now we have to ask: why did you need to be hit over the head to admit it?
Climate change is a fact that we will be dealing with our entire lives. Like learning you or a loved one has cancer, you may want to pretend that the doctor is lying, but that will only hurt you in the long run. Same thing here. We need to get past this denial stage before climate change metastasizes.
If you think the media is to blame, check out this presentation by FIU professor Juliet Pinto. While a shift occured in 2006 towards greater acceptance of scientific consensus, the story that got the most traction in the past decade was a scam in 2009 that involved the hacking of emails of climate scientists in the UK’s East Anglia. The media loved the possible scandal, but when it was debunked, very little coverage ensued. Right-wing nuts hold onto the “scandal” episode as it were real, while denying the evidence of climate change hitting them in the face.
In time, most people will come around to reality, but that approach didn’t work too well for the Holocaust.
Individuals need to raise their voices, take to the streets, vote, and get informed from reliable, verifiable sources. We need our politicians to lead the way, but right now they need us to point them in the right direction. Look into the sky, into your heart, and into the eyes of a child. Listen to what they are trying to tell you. The debate is over. Hurricane Sandy won.