A climate movement or a cultural moment?

The ongoing issue of climate change is not hard to forget.

In the last year, brazen activist Greta Thunberg was named Time’s person of the year and climate action emerged as a top ballot-box issue in the Canadian federal election. 

Daily news stories and Weather Network clips remind us of the serious impact that human activity has on the global climate. As we step into a new decade, the subject can’t possibly be ignored.

This is why I am struggling to understand the climate situation. I undoubtedly believe that we have to live responsibly on this earth but with so many raised voices and loud warnings for action the noise levels are rising much faster than the oceans. 

 

Advertisements are more ethically informed than ever, and famous people are calling themselves climate ambassadors without restraint. All this is to say, I’m a die-hard skeptic, and I’ll show you why with a quick review of some climate predictions of the past.

In 1970, at the very first Earth Day, Stanford University Biology Professor Paul Ehrlich claimed that in ten years all important animal life in the sea would be extinct and that large areas of coastline would have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish. 

Since Ehrlich’s less than solid predictions the sensationalism hasn’t stopped. Popular news outlets jump on each and every natural disaster as proof of the impending doom. Just last September a Los Angeles Times editorial warned that 2020 could be our last chance to stop an apocalypse. 

I can’t help but be reminded of another turn of a decade when many were convinced of a global digital disaster. United States Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre said that the Y2K problem was the electronic equivalent of the El Nino and there would be nasty surprises around the globe.

 

Al Gore predicted in 2009 that the North Pole would be completely ice free in five years. A U.S. Navy scientist in 2013 concluded that the Arctic’s summer sea ice cover would all be melted by 2016. 

The great irony is that, the Maritime Bulletin reported that on September 3, 2016 ‘climate change warriors’ making a documentary film on the melting polar ice cap had to be rescued by helicopter from their ship because it was stuck in the ice halfway between Norway and the North Pole. 

I’m not saying that these questionable claims completely invalidate the climate change movement, but they definitely make it harder to take it seriously.

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