Dannen: Climate misinformers seek to divide us
Thanks to William Stride (Citizen's View, Feb. 13, 2020) for making time to further his understanding of climate change.
I recently took a class at Pacific University entitled "Our Global Environment" and I must echo the points he made in his piece. Climate change is a deeply complex issue, one that requires an understanding of how our global systems are interconnected. The stability of ecosystems is dependent on a myriad of interdependent biological processes which sustain life on this planet. It is only through education that we will fully grasp this.
Unless we understand what we are doing to accelerate the destabilization of our environment and realize what's at stake, most of us won't have the initiative or willingness to make the changes required to avert further devastation.
I recently joined a group of people at the Capitol in Salem as they visited with senators and representatives. In an effort to make a point that climate change isn't "real," an individual in a legislator's office asked a question about why at one point in history "the Vikings lived in Greenland and grew carrots." I was deeply troubled by this question as it indicated a simplistic viewpoint and a profound lack of knowledge concerning the history of Earth's climate.
We must understand the difference between climate and weather, between extinctions and climate events that have happened in the past and what is happening now. We are fortunate to have access to a number of books that clearly explain the history of our planet and the complexities of our climate (e.g., "The Sixth Extinction" by Elizabeth Kolbert). Classes are available. Numerous documentaries have been produced (350 Washington County features a film every quarter at the Vault Theater in Hillsboro). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) spells it out in its reports.
It's unfortunate that we believe we are at odds with one another on this issue because everyone will be affected, not just farmers or loggers, but all people from every socioeconomic background, regardless of race, religious or political beliefs, age, or where you call home on this beautiful but ailing planet.
It behooves us to work together to address this issue and to realize we are all going to have to make sacrifices and pay the price for our ignorance. It is only through education that we will realize we are being manipulated into believing our fellow humans are the enemy; they are not. Lack of awareness is the enemy. Big corporate interests exploit that and spread misinformation, fueling division.
It is only through human change that we can deal with climate change.
Let's wake up before it's too late.
Maureen Dannen is a Forest Grove resident.
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