A Warming World, A Warned World-A Short Appeal For Listening To Facts And Reason

After the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the latest findings of ongoing scientific research in that field the response was about what I've come to expect. Large heaps of apathy, spikes of outrage and outright contempt, and fortunately small pockets of understanding and reason whirling around the facts from the report for the last month. Yes, facts. Those terribly inconvenient truthful tidbits of information that too many equate with opinion and belief, because it is personally or politically advantageous or because they are just plain lazy.

Don't get me wrong opinion and belief have their places. Beliefs help to keep our personal foundations solid and help us to get through difficult circumstances when all else fails. Opinions allow us to voice what is inside of each of us; they are the noise inside all of us fashioned into finely focused talking points. Unfortunately, neither comes close to being equivocal to fact. Beliefs are most often based on intangible notions and opinions don't even have to be based on that much. All human beings have beliefs and opinions, but facts are actually quite rare in comparison, because they require tangible evidence behind their existence. Scientific facts are even more rare, because they not only have to be worked out through the scientific method they also have to be peer reviewed. Opinions and beliefs  have to undergo neither of those tests. Like it or not facts are substantive and carry much more weight than the other two.

So where am I going with this? It's pretty simple. If I am hurt I go to a doctor. If I need financial wisdom I hire an adviser. If my daughter gets engaged, pretty soon I'll be looking for a wedding planner. If I'm depressed I talk to a counselor or psychologist. If I need a porch built I pay a carpenter. If I need a watch fixed I go to a jeweler. If I'm being audited by the IRS I'd likely talk to an accountant or attorney for advice. My point is that we are used to entrusting information gathering and complicated tasks to trained people within specific fields and rarely do we ever question the information they give us, the decisions they make in our stead, or the outcomes, mainly because we do not have the education or experiences to effectively carry them out ourselves. Scientists are highly educated, creative, innovative people so why is science treated so differently?

Mainly greed is the answer. Scientists are warning us about what will happen and those warnings don't fit well with the plans of industry and the most wealthy individuals on the planet. Our wealth is concentrated with them, so any infrastructure changes, preparations, or reactions will naturally have to come from them. Sometimes I feel really bad about how deeply people are conned by cooperate interests. Conned into trading our future for the immediate pleasures of a very elite few and not even getting a return for themselves.

With that being said, no matter how much money is thrown to twist facts, no matter how much we don't want to hear scientists, or how much we deny what they say, the facts from the IPCC report aren't going to change. Our world is. It already has. And it will change much more significantly over the next two hundred years and not toward being more habitable for humanity. Closing our eyes and singing "Pompeii" at the top of our lungs won't change that. Unlike the citizens of that doomed city we have clearly sustained warnings. We can mitigate this. We just have to listen and act.

My favorite version...

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