I just stumbled across an article from a Salt Lake City high school newspaper entitled Global Warming, the biggest Hoax of the Century [sic]. And I have to say, it really bummed me out. For a variety of reasons. First, it shows that the young author already views climate change as an ideological issue rather than a scientifically-observed phenomenon. This student clearly has a very poor understanding of global warming (most teenagers do), yet he (or she) is confident enough to announce to his peers that it is a “moronic” hoax. Second, the journalism teacher that signed off on this (or who oversees the class in which it was drafted) should be requiring students to support such allegations with at least something resembling rigor. This isn’t the Washington Post editorial page, after all.
Here’s the beginning of the article:
Global warming is an issue that is highly debated by modern day scientists. Many scientists seem to think that our world is whirling to an end. These experts should probably double check their criteria because they are clearly mistaken.
Global warming is nothing more than a cycle that our earth must go through. Not only does the past show this warming in the atmosphere is completely normal, but so do modern day facts. Data collected from satellites show that over the last 18 years the Earth is cooling; not warming. According to scientist Robert Essenhigh, this cycle is due to “greenhouse gases” coming into and leaving the atmosphere through the oceans and vegetation, he claims the gases are mainly water vapor. If we are to be concerned at the moment about anything the facts show, we should start making blankets to keep warm for the cold winters to come, not taking the advice of bullheaded scientists telling us to stop using our cars.
I’m not going to tackle the many inaccuracies contained in the paragraphs above, and my intention is not in any way to attempt to embarrass a high school student. In fact, the student’s writing skills show promise, if I may say so myself.
I’m just hoping the example illustrates how deeply climate change beliefs are now rooted in ideology. If students begin attacking climate change before they even properly understand what the greenhouse effect is — whether egged on by nay-saying parents, media outlets, or authority figures — it’s all the more implausible they’ll be open to re-examining the science later on. A veritable culture of climate change denial has been erected, and it’s capable of convincing teenagers that global warming is a hoax. It’s going to take some serious work — and much-improved media coverage — to deconstruct that culture.
This post was originally published by Treehugger.
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