Thursday, January 9, 2014

Polar Vortex Debacle

If you haven't been paying attention, over the past few days a "drunken" Polar Vortex (is it just me, or was that JPEG not all that funny?) wandered down south and freaked everyone out and started LOUD chatter about how climate change can't be real because, well, COLD, and if the weather is cold, then WARMING cannot possibly be happening.

There's no denying the cold was ferocious - implacable - terrifying, even.  But disproving global warming/climate change?  NOOOO.
Once again, we have a failure to communicate.  The lesson is easy - local weather conditions are not climate change.  Local weather conditions may, in fact, be COLD in some spots.  In the meantime, while Chicago is freezing its collective a$$ off, Australia is apparently baking in its own unprecedented weather - a heat wave.

Both local conditions, as I understand it, can be happening at the same time, while climate change continues unabated as we distract ourselves with nasty Twitter rants and insulting cartoons about how "stupid" the climate change deniers are.
This is getting us nowhere.  NOWHERE.  It's only making the discourse more and more toxic. In turn, I believe this hardens doubters into entrenched positions that might NOT have calcified so badly if the climate change left hadn't insisted on insulting and belittling them!
Do you like being told you're stupid? Do you like being insulted and called out as a mouth breather in public?
No, you do not. Neither do Jane and John Q. Public, who might not have thought about climate change all that much up until now, but are DAMNED certainly not retreating from their position now.
It's freaking COLD in Chicago right now, yes. That doesn't mean that average mean temperatures worldwide aren't climbing dangerously higher. That doesn't mean that we've magically stopped spewing out C02 emissions like they were going out of style. That doesn't mean that we might not LOSE our coastal cities by 2100, if NOAA's predictions are accurate.
The challenge of those of us who care and blog and tweet (and sometimes act against) climate change is to tell that story to people who don't understand, aren't sure, or haven't checked in yet. And we need to do that without insults and shaming and hurling invective.
The golden rule. Never thought I'd quote it, crabby old atheist that I am, but if the shoe fits.