Jeff Kane: ‘Climate change’ isn’t about climate change
Facts don’t matter much in regard to climate change, because we adopt whatever opinion we jolly well please and then cherry-pick rationales to back it up.
Let’s face it: we’re beings of emotion who often favor feeling over fact. For example, many Americans who supported invading Iraq despite little or no evidence of WMDs are the same ones who choose to disregard the massive evidence indicating human-caused climate change.
If that evidence is correct, a warming planet plus mitigation efforts will shatter our comfortable lifestyle. We won’t be able to burn all the gasoline or use all the electricity we like. Food production and transportation will be deeply impacted.
Energy-intensive manufacturing industries will lay off multitudes. Coastal lands everywhere will be inundated, creating millions of desperate, homeless migrants. The aggregate changes will stress mental health nationally, resulting in horrifying social disorder.
These are such unpleasant prospects that we’re understandably reluctant to consider them. Little wonder that we rush to deny the situation. Denial, though, is less refutation than, “Give me a break. I’m not ready to look at that right now.”
In her landmark book “On Death and Dying,” Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross noted that when we’re faced with any significant threat, we tend to respond with certain emotions, the first being, “No. That can’t be so.” Maybe the doctor got my chart confused with someone else’s. That layoff notice was sent to me by mistake. Life on Earth can’t possibly be threatened by something we’re doing.
When we finally allow ourselves to see the menace’s reality, we tend to get angry. It’s the corporations’ fault! Obama’s to blame! String up the lawyers! Then we bargain and get depressed.
We’ll accept the truth only after we finish our emotional acrobatics, and only then will we be in a condition to respond effectively.
If, after reading this, you feel the urge to recite studies by the few outlying scientists who encourage denial, please ask yourself if that’s simply the way you want to see it since the consequences of a warming planet are too painful to contemplate.
Jeff Kane lives in Nevada City.
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