What About This?

By Wayne William Cipriano

It was such a good idea to laminate every page of each week’s edition of the Douglas County Herald with clear plastic. Now, when reference is made to a previous week’s article in the paper, I can just flip back to that week and read what’s being discussed.

Take, for example, the back-and-forth that has been going on over the last few weeks in the “Letters to the Editor” column (October 3, 17 and 24, 2019). 

As you know, there has been the presentation of two differing views of “Global Warming”, or “Climate Change”, or whatever they are calling it now. I went back and re-read the “Letters to the Editor” and it all boils down to two questions:

Is climate change happening more quickly than it should?

If so, do humans have a significant effect on it?

Lots of rhetoric, statistics, history. All of it seemingly credible. “Experts”on one side seem to be in the very large majority. BUT, as we all know, simply being the majority opinion doesn’t make that opinion TRUTH, maybe just attractive.

So how are we, who are not experts, supposed to evaluate differing positions? Besides bringing to bear whatever facts we possess, how do we decide?

Most of us know next to nothing about Environmental Science so we make our decisions based on the confidence we have in the experts who study it. We expect experts to know what they are doing so we don’t have to.

So, how do people who “know what they are doing” differ so widely? Not on the rate, or the danger, but on its actual existence?

One says the environment is decaying at such a rate that within 5 or 10 or 20 years a tipping point will be reached. Nothing we can possibly do once that tipping point has been surpassed will save the environment we need to survive. We are doomed.

Others say the earth is so big, so self-sustaining, and people are so technically adept that no real danger exists. If people really could change the climate, they say, they’d figure out some way to fix any problem that might arise. Tipping points, they declare, are hysteria.

And there are a lot of people in the middle somewhere.

Me? I’m somewhere north of the middle, closing in on Climate Change and that human beings have something to do with it. My life experience tells me it’s getting warmer. But that may be just weather,  not climate. I’m just not that old. I understand many, many experts agree that climate is changing at an “unnatural” and accelerated rate, more than agree it is not. And almost all that do think it is changing believe that human habitation, particularly in the last 250 years or so, has something at a significant level to do with it. So, until the weight of scientific investigation shifts, I’m going with the tide of experts, realizing that I may be participating in mass hypnosis.

A bonus to the position that humans are affecting climate in a detrimental way is that if steps are taken to ward off or ameliorate the problem, and it never would have been a problem, all it costs us is some redistribution of our assets within our species. Whereas if we do nothing and a problem is bearing down on us…

The exchange of opinions in “Letters to the Editor” got me to thinking about Climate Change and I enjoyed reading the conversation about it. I hope to see more “Letters to the Editor” in the Douglas County Herald from people who have something to say and more responses from others. Don’t you?