It’s not about facts, but how to change


I have read with interest the debate between Dean Enell and Rick Hannold concerning anthropogenic — human caused — climate disruption. Neither believes the other’s “facts.” Neither is going to change their mind.

Let’s say we imagine climate disruption has nothing to do with human behavior. What might happen? Perhaps nothing and the consensus of peer reviewed scientific study is just plain wrong. Great. We dodged a bullet. But what if those scientists are right? Doing nothing will cost us dearly. We’d plan for resilience and a low carbon future — wind and solar power, well insulated houses, organic agriculture. What if the scientists were wrong and we did all that. We are no worse off and probably better.

So playing the odds is one way to consider this yes/no debate on whether we need to pay attention and make some wise choices.

Or compare the attitudes of climate deniers to people whose doctors say if you keep smoking you’ll go to an early grave. You can argue with science, do as you please and take the risk. Or you can change and give yourself better odds.

Back to climate disruption. Why would anyone bet against the scientific consensus and be remembered for doing nothing to help the county adapt? Maybe it’s political survival. Look at Jimmy Carter. He suggested a small behavior change and lost the next election. Maybe it’s not wanting to alienate friends or backers or some interest group. Maybe it’s fear of looking like a fool. Or maybe it’s just playing roulette and risking our future.

It’s no longer about dueling “facts.” It’s about making prudent changes in case changing human behavior could change humanity’s future. What changes? Bring on your best ideas for making Island County climate safe. Just in case it’s true.

Vicki Robin


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