Roger Marolt: The kids are right
In reaction to a worldwide walk out of students pleading with adults to take notice of global warming, I read of some indignant parents demanding that schools start giving equal time in science class to the theory that mankind has had no effect on the heating of our planet. My sympathies to educators.
It is true that what is taught in schools comes down to a vote, but it is not a democracy. Not every vote carries the same weight in knowledge. The people with more credentials have votes that count more. It is not political campaigning that carries that day, but an examination of the preponderance of the evidence. In short, not every cockamamie idea gets legs to run around the school campus on, not even in gym class.
The preponderance of evidence is heavily weighted toward the existence of global warming and mankind’s impact on exacerbating it, if not being the predominant cause of it.
Yet, one honest to goodness truth about global warming is that few of us know much about the data and scientific study behind it. We have not examined the evidence. We have not conducted studies. We don’t posses much data to base our opinions on. When we are out in the field, it is usually for a picnic. What we are left to rely on are boiled down analyses that appear in media. Many of these are, thankfully, dumbed-down explanations just detailed enough so that we lay people can get the gist of what is going on. Some is pure BS. Most is not.
The best proof we can offer others to support our personal views, no matter what those are, end up being hand-picked bits to support conclusions we arrived at before coming up with the evidence we use to support them. We are armchair academics. That’s why they call us “lay people.”
We are left with making sense out of all this by comparing news with our own observations and experiences. If you think that one of the biggest snow years ever in Aspen following one of the driest winters on record is odd, it is normal to want to explain that. Is it an anomaly or is it related to the shifting of the seasons you have noticed? Do hurricanes seem bigger? Did that glacier on Mount Rainier really disappear since you were last there 10 years ago? Go ahead and figure out which theories best fit with what you see.
My personal observation is how could human-caused global warming not be occurring? One of the sure-fire ways of killing one’s self is to drive into the garage, close the garage door, keep the motor running, and wait, not very long.
Now, extrapolate. Isn’t our atmosphere like a giant garage with about a billion and a half cars running inside of it? Throw in a bunch of factories, power plants, trucks, planes, ships, and we are sure to eventually poison ourselves. If there is any doubt, we can roundup a humungous herd of cattle in here and let them pass massive volumes of methane to insulate the planet so that we can roast ourselves while suffocating. It makes logical sense to me and jibes with what the experts say.
And, because people like to bring faith into this, I will simply say that god is truth. In as much, science, mathematics, physics, literature, and any other exercisers of the intellect, if engaged in with sincerity of heart and vigor of mind, will lead to truth. (This holds with creationism likely being linked to evolution, too.)
And, yes, god can get us out of this mess, but one of the greatest gifts he has given us secondary to love and inseparably a part of it is our own free will. I think this means he will let us destroy the world, either through maliciousness or just plain inattention.
Ultimately, it doesn’t even matter who or what caused global warming. Debating this has actually become a distraction from finding a solution. Man did not cause polio, but we recognized it as a problem and then eradicated it from planet. Good for us! I’ll bet god was proud we used the intellect he gifted us.
As part of the educational process, science teachers should mention the alternative theory that mankind has had nothing to do with the heating of the planet and that some deny that global warming is even a thing. It is critical to the scientific method to demonstrate that alternate hypotheses have been considered and tested. But, at this stage of the game after massive amounts of research have already been performed on the subject, in the interest of not wasting anymore time, I think this should be mentioned in the same breath as the flat earth theory.
Roger Marolt thinks the kids have it right this time probably because they have a more vested interests in the outcome besides party politics. Email him at email@example.com
The Snowmass Village Transportation Department is licensing the city of Aspen’s Downtowner software to upgrade the Village Shuttle’s ride request system.