Outside your office window, snow begins to gently fall.
You hear the familiar sharp, clipping steps making their way through the office toward your desk, but it’s okay at first because you tell yourself the water cooler is right next to your cubicle – he’s probably just thirsty. But the footsteps don’t slow down and stop, and you don’t hear a paper cup being pulled out of the dispenser. He keeps coming. Oh, he’s thirsty alright, thirsty for an argument.
Cue the sweat-beaded forehead, the elevated pulse.
Dear. God. How many times can one fend off his twisted politics?? I don’t want to talk about it, sir! I can’t be nice about this anymore but I also need to keep my job! Global warming is real, middle-aged, white, male Tea Partier, but I understand that your ‘data’ says otherwise.
The reality of this is all too tangible for me. And since these jags are literally everywhere, I’m guessing that most of us have at least one that we actually have to deal with in our real lives. They’re not just some phenomenon we can turn the channel to avoid.
Maybe it’s your neighbor with the Trump sign in his yard.
Maybe it’s the regular at your restaurant who basically holds you hostage once a week to talk about the ills of the LIEberal media.
Maybe it’s the choda boy at the back of your poli sci class (because, of course, he already knows so much – oh my gawd, kid, I did not drop serious coin on this lecture to have you run the class. Get back on Reddit and let the professor do the teaching, thnx).
They usually share a specific set of common beliefs (they call them values), but today we’re here to talk about how none of them think global warming is real.
Their evidence for this is generally that Obama is a liar and also the liberal media (by the way, is the ‘liberal media’ just anything that’s not on Fox News? IS THAT WHAT THAT MEANS?) is trying to pull one over on us all.
They will invariably tell you that our climatological records only go back about a hundred years or so – it’s just not enough of a sample size for there to be an accurate picture of how our climate is changing.
Lord help you if it starts snowing in January – see? snowflakes! irrefutable proof that our capitalist-industrial complex is not responsible for changing the environment.
Look, guy, I know I’m just a ‘young lady,’ but I can science and math, too! I’m pretty confident that you do not possess an advanced degree in, well, actually anything?
No, there’s not a hoax. No grand-scale conspiracy designed to – wait, can we just stop for a minute and ask why it’s so important for them to believe that global warming isn’t real? I mean, I have to believe we are not entirely fucked, but we’ve got some serious problems to deal with. Why is it a problem for so many people to accept its reality? They get really heated (yes, pun intended) whenever it comes up. They go out of their way just to make sure and address it with you whenever it could possibly be relevant.
There is lots of actual evidence pointing to climate change. There is lots of evidence showing that it is probably (at least mostly) our fault. On the flip side of this conversation – there’s zero evidence of it being a hoax. I would at least need to be convinced that there happens to be sufficient motive for a gazillion academics to make it up.
Money? Fame? What?
I’m going to go out on a limb here with an armchair diagnosis and say these folks who want to deny climate change really just don’t want to be bothered enough to change their lives (not even a little bit, not even at all). And maybe they don’t want to be afraid. I mean, I’d be scared too if I knew firsthand that there are highly qualified folks holding private panels (no, they don’t have an agenda) talking about how we are definitely all fucked.
I’m not saying I have a solution.
It might help if we stopped consuming fossil fuels so ravenously. It might help if we put pressure on corporations to improve their environmental practices. It might help if we tried to undo some of the ills of factory farming. Any of those things might help. Maybe they won’t, who knows?
But all I can tell is that anyone who needs to so vehemently deny the existence only has one thing to gain: a justification for their continued complacency.
And for some people, that’s all they’re looking for.