Why You Should Care: Selective science and climate change denial

by Caleb Schrock-Hurst – Horizon Guest Columnist

Climate change is bearing down our society at an ever accelerating pace. The world is united to fight this challenge and is led by the greatest nation on Earth, the United States of America!

Nope. Instead, we wear the badge of being the only western nation to have a political party that still denies climate change.

If this was the scariest bit, I would be happy.

We Americans, just 4 percent of the world population, produce 25 percent of the world’s emissions (according to our very own astronomy professor Jim Yoder). This is a problem. I would like to start fixing it. I would like our nation to start fixing it. But unfortunately, many people still deny that waste matters, let alone consumerism.

I could talk all day about climate change and get nowhere. I could rail against the Tea Party all day and get nowhere, and man am I always tempted to.

But today I want to get somewhere. I will ask just three questions to those of you who think acting against climate change is wrong.

1. Science is accepted when it comes to all things medical and technical, (for example, we do not doubt pharmacists ability to create antibiotics or chemists ability to chemically create aspirin) so why do we question scientists on this?

Let’s say you break your arm. Well, you think so. Could be strained. The doctor orders an x-ray and says it’s broken. You say “Well doc, let me go check with 100 other doctors. As long as one says it’s fine, it’s fine.” No one would ever do this. The fact that even one (and in this case we are talking about as close to consensus as science ever comes) doctor says it’s broken would be more than enough to get you in a cast. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Science.

2. Even if somehow the scientific community is wrong (they aren’t), what will you do when oil runs out as it literally undeniably will?

Fossil fuels simply are not renewable. They formed over millions of years and we are using them up in decades. We are, according to almost every estimate, going to reach peak oil production within the next 15 years. What will we do after that? We will be forced to switch to renewables. Why not start now? What is the worst thing that happens if we switch to renewable, clean energy sources? I would venture, nothing. Maybe we accidently make a better world.

3. As college students at a ‘liberal arts institution’ we are being taught to look at who benefits from given scenarios. So, the question to ask is, in this case, who benefits from climate change denial?

The surprising answer is, everyone.

In the short term, that is. We have pest-free fields, previously unimaginable crop productivity, incredible travel capability, et cetra, et cetra.

Satire!

But in the long term, it benefits no one. Rising temperatures will force huge human migration and by 2100 climate change will have threatened the life patterns of 70 percent of Earth’s species and within the next 40 years up to 10 percent of humans will need to migrate because of rising sea levels.

Why would we possibly take this risk? Any small loss of economic viability is more than worth potentially saving our planet.

For those of us who do acknowledge Climate Change, it’s important to always be looking into some ways the Earth is being exploited. There are countless things everyone should know about when working to cut down on their energy consumption, but here are three crucially important examples of climate exploitation.

  1. Mountaintop Removal. Electricity seems fine, right? It’s kind of magical, comes out of the wall and no one gets hurt. Wrong. We are literally moving mountains in order for you to be able to leave that light on overnight. The effects of this mining also has dramatic economic and health consequences.
Just one of many mining cites across Appalachia. Check out more pictures here.

2. Fracking. To get natural gas to heat your home and cook your food we pump some lovely carcinogens into the water table, destroy the bedrock, and then walk away. Sounds fine. This Sunday, a documentary on fracking called “Groundswell Rising” will play down the road at Bethel. Check it out if this issue hits home.

3. Water waste. Water is being consumed far faster than it is reentering the natural water cycle (ie we are contributing to droughts). In fact, those who study the issue say the US is about to enter a full blown water crisis. Here in one of the most developed countries on Earth we also fail to provide our own citizens with clean water (cough cough Flint Michigan). Our next war might not be over oil (though our current and last one was), it might be over water.

These three issues barely scratch the surface of the major issues tied up in the growing environmental brutality of the world. Our continued inaction–both as climate change skeptics and those too afraid to offend to speak out–is allowing the clock to tick down toward the end of modern civilization. We must engage every member of our global community in a fair, logic based and rational discussion of what needs to be done. Only then can real change occur.

Friends: We are the last generation that has a chance to preserve our modern lifestyle. If we want cars, planes, trucks, out of season fruit, pesticides, antibiotics, and so much more, we must seriously invest in solving our climate dilemma. Without a change, we are headed for catastrophe.
Peace.

Caleb Schrock-Hurst is a Sophomore at Hesston College where he works as a Writing Assistant, Ministry Assistant, and Horizon contributor. He would like to study everything, but when forced to choose selected English, History, and Music. Outside of academics his main interests are tennis, Bernie Sanders’ political campaign, the global church, and Arsenal Football Club. Feel free to contact him at caleb.schrock-hurst@hesston.edu or find him on campus if you wish to exchange verbal or physical blows. (Editor’s note: Caleb Schrock-Hurst’s opinions are not necessarily those of the Horizon staff or Hesston College.)

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