I think I was in grade four when I first learnt about climate change. I remember leaving school that day fearing my inevitable doom by way of poisonous fumes, engulfing sea levels or a zombie apocalypse. Over the years however, I have been consistently reassured by others that all that stuff is ‘like a 100 million years away’ and ‘we don’t even really know for sure’. Let’s call these people the Unbelievers.
These are the people who refuse to accept the opinions of 97% of scientists that climate change is caused by human activity, as stated by NASA. They refuse to accept the warming of our planet despite its blaringly obvious effects, for example: floods, hurricanes, droughts, landslides etc.
The Unbelievers state a number of reasons why climate change is all a big hoax. Most notably (and bizarre, in my opinion) is the idea that global warming is purely a way for the government to gain greater control over society. It is true that to create a more sustainable way of living there is a need for a radical governmental movement, however, the way the future looks, without this change its likely to involve an even more extreme government. With limited water and arable land, tight restrictions will have to be in place to ensure an even distribution of recourses.
They also seem to enjoy reminding us all of the warming period that occurred during the middle ages. However, this is only a hypothesis and if it did occur it was predicted to have risen only 1-2 degrees Celsius by climatologist Hubert Horace Lamb. Our current situation is not simply ‘summer being a little bit sweatier than usual’. Unbelievers need to understand the whole picture and the subsequent effects of our extreme industrialisation within the last century.
Climate change ‘realists’ are worried that modern values they hold dear, eg: shopping, burning of fossil fuels, globalisation and so on, are being targeted by the environmental movement. This is true, and it is necessary that these practices be altered. Other favourite pastimes include dismissing the value of today’s youth in society (a fun activity enjoyed by most old people), and highlighting that a move towards sustainable living will be too expensive. Because how much money you have in your bank account will be very important once our earth is destroyed.
Even the fact that reports suggest some of our most populous cities, such as London and New York, will be the first to be affected by rising sea levels doesn’t seem to shake their beliefs. Professor Anders Levermann from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research predicts sea levels rising by 2.3 metres per degree Celsius. Ben Strauss from Climate Central predicts that by 2100, more than 25% of Boston, Miami, New Orleans and Atlantic City could be under water.
The only explanation I can come up with for these Unbelievers is that they’re so terrified by this threat that their only option is to deny it. Unfortunately, it is these very people who are hindering any chance we have of making drastic changes, changes which are necessary if we want our children and children’s children to enjoy the quality of life we have.