It’s becoming harder and harder to ignore climate change, even though spin doctors like Fox News and the Koch Brothers, to name a few, would like you to think otherwise. After all, acknowledging climate change means we actually have to deal with large — and often expensive — mitigation and adaptation measures and most companies and governments simply don’t want to go there.
It’s not just the conservative media that’s frequently omitting the phrase “climate change” from their vocabulary, however. President Obama recently signed an Earth Day proclamation, ironically leaving out any mention of climate change, and think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Heartland Institute systematically deny climate change science, pushing an agenda that’s often anti-environment.
So why the blatant mass-produced denial, particularly when many other countries are moving forward, realizing the grave impacts of a warming planet? Instead of investing in effective mass public transportation systems, increased fuel efficiency and a significant renewable energy portfolio, the United States remains fixated on fossil fuels (as seen with the recent fracking boom and continued push for offshore drilling) even though those resources are damaging and finite.
While certain states and cities are progressively moving ahead of federal environmental policy, it’s a tediously slow process that has as much to do with altering our everyday consumer awareness and behavior as it does with altering our political system. By acknowledging climate change, our current political and corporate mentality would need to shift dramatically and many stakeholders, particularly those who lobby for fossil fuel, don’t want any change to their bottom line.
Nonetheless, a record-breaking number of tornadoes in the middle portion of the United States, coupled with severe droughts in the South and one of the mildest winters in the Northeast is starting to make people feel more and more on edge about climate change, no matter what politicians or the media says. The evidence is clear and the problem is overwhelming, to say the least, but that is no excuse for inaction or inertia. Does climate change exist? You bet it does, and what we do next is what matters the most.
Photo Credit: Ansgar Walk