We Have To See it, To Believe It, Don’t We? Thoughts on Climate Change

Earth_on_Fire_Animated_global_warming

This isn’t a post about how you need to care about global warming and climate change, it’s about WHY you’re not caring about it… and maybe we (Yes, you America) should talk more about it…

Climate change is one of those debates that is based on facts. The juicy debates that get our attention in America are about emotion, faith, and personal experiences that have shaped our perspective. And climate change just isn’t one of them, because there isn’t much to debate, climate change is happening. If you believe in God, and the end times (as I do), climate change is still happening. This past Sunday, there was a “March for Climate Change” in New York City combined with numerous other cities across the globe grossing over 400,000 participants in this unprecedented movement to kick off the week’s U.N Climate Summit. Hopefully, you heard about it, but unfortunately there are still too few people who care (or believe) about climate change and many other issues, because of its intangibility. “The scope (of climate change) is just too large to grasp, and many of the most noticeable impacts are still too far removed from our daily lives. Climate change becomes easy to ignore.” (Source) 

So let me get this straight, there is clear scientific evidence to prove that climate change and global warming IS happening, yet, we still have a problem with support? Climate change supporters are often frustrated when faced with a person who doesn’t believe in climate change, because it is based on fact, not on emotion, faith or experience. For a logical person, it is ridiculous to not support something that is factually supported. I cannot think of the last time I was in or heard a debate about climate change, I mean who is really having that argument. But if we aren’t arguing about it, are we even talking about it? Not nearly enough. The reality is that facts are unfortunately not good enough for many Americans. The reason Americans care about other issues is because they invoke passion, happiness or anger – Climate change invokes a future pain or worry unless you’ve been hit by a natural disaster or live in certain parts of the globe where the effects are already present such as pollution. More surprisingly, only 48% of Americans believe that climate change is a major threat to the well being of the United States. (Pew Research Center/USA Today. Aug. 20-24, 2014)  48% is pretty low for something that can be like…. 100% supported.

I find this fact so very interesting, because speeches from the U.N. Summit, including Leonardo DiCaprio’s specifically stated that more drastic measures need to be taken, because we haven’t been doing enough to combat against climate change and global warming. In his 4 minute speech, DiCaprio said (paraphrased), “The problems that are occurring are bigger now, individual recycling that reduces your carbon fingerprint isn’t enough” (Source).  If true, this next statement that Leonardo gives is part of the problem, in regards to climate change and whether is fictitious or not, he states, “I think we all know better than that now”… And there in lies the problem. Americans don’t know any better, and there is not enough pandering to the “idiots” who don’t get climate change and global warming. Well, and first, we should stop calling people idiots.

Although pandering to some groups may seem anti-purist, people like, Katherine Hayhoe, a climate scientist and evangelical Christian, has made it a mission to find ways to connect one group of who find it hard connecting to the climate change movement, conservative evangelicals. Featured in Time, ShowTime, and in a number of other news sources, she explains why faith and a warming planet aren’t in conflict. “Her research today, on the impacts of climate change, flows from those early experiences. And of course, it is inspired by her faith, which for Hayhoe, puts a strong emphasis on caring for the weakest and most vulnerable among us. “That gives us even more reason to care about climate change,” says Hayhoe, “because it is affecting people, and is disproportionately affecting the poor, and the vulnerable, and those who cannot care for themselves.” (Source) And that’s the type of emotion that get’s America excited, unfortunately, because facts don’t seem to be enough.

As frustrating as it is, I find there isn’t a large enough movement working on the heart strings of America to get climate change in their head, if the community grows the urgency amongst cities, governments to change course will continue to happen. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying the are not people out the trenches making a difference about climate change, but more could be done. It can be challenging to bring people to believe in climate change cause it’s like “duh”, can you not read the facts. But let’s think about this, we live in a world where a video of a women knocked out cold laying on the floor admittedly by her husband wasn’t good enough to really “understand” or consider what happened in the elevator. The WHOLE tape was needed in order to find pure outrage. It’s almost as if American have to see it, to BELIEVE IT.

I am from one of the prettiest cities in the country. The landscape is blooming with beauty and the timeless thoroughbreds that graze the land make Kentucky a wonder; not to mention the rivers, lakes, and caves that make it unique. I have enjoyed the beauty of Kentucky my whole life, so the idea of pollution, global warming or climate change should invoke a passion, naturally. Well, not really. I remember learning to recycle, reduce, reuse at a very young age, but nothing stuck. Its not that I didn’t believe climate change was happening, but it was not an issue that I was innately passionate about. Through experiences that I have had, I’ve gained an appreciation for preserving my environment and try to do my part to reduce my carbon print. But everyone isn’t going to have those experiences organically.

Which brings me to this, it’s a good thing if you care or are active about an issue, but often times, we are so involved in our own initiative and involving ourselves with like-minded people that we can forget about how we can pursue and bring others into understanding and importance of the movement. Every cause or movement has its true champions, but you need more than your champions to move a cause forward. The fight for global warming, and climate change is just as important as the economy ,jobs, civil rights, and immigration, but if we don’t get people talking about it outside of the climate change circle, then our environment doesn’t stand a chance.

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