The thing about science is that it’s there, resolute and immutable, whether or not you agree with it. It can be neglected in a corner, told to take a time out, or it can be misunderstood, but it doesn’t go away because we stick our fingers in our ears and hum really loudly.
Science is in our everyday. It is there when we breathe; it is literally in the pulse under our skin; it is there in all life, in all things, resting just under the surface.
The truth about silence is that when corporations and governments try to place a gag over it, it doesn’t actually stop it from happening – we just stop talking about it. You should also know that a gag order is akin to admitting the science is right. It is admitting to fear. Hypatia was killed by an angry mob. Bruno was killed at the stake. There is always someone who is willing to kill a thinker for rattling the thoughts of the time and suggesting a scientific thought that rattles our sense of superiority.
Not for the first time, a government is placing greed over the needs of the people. Let’s be stark – desperately, amazingly, haplessly stark. We are killing the planet. This is not a metaphor or an exaggeration.
We are killing the planet.
Our pollution is creating unprecedented global warming. Global warming, you say! Isn’t that a ridiculous conspiracy by left-wing hippies who like to hug trees, people who are doped up and endlessly obsessed with silly things like equality?
Science says it’s not. You can shake your angry fists at science, call her a slut and a lying liar who lies, and an outlier just looking to stir up trouble, but the truth of the matter is that the world has heated up before.
So, you ask, if the world has heated up before, no bigs, right?
Well, if you consider mass extinction events, no bigs, yeah, sure. If you consider only the most basic of organisms surviving, yup. No problem! We’ll be finnnneeeee.
The kicker is that we have time to correct some of our habits, to put in commitment to energy that does not contribute to the pollution that can strip the ozone, turn over seas, and generally just make us bags of bones before the ink even dries on that new car you’re wanting to buy.
So why are we currently ignoring it in 2017?
Let’s circle back to the whole putting a gag order on corporations and government agencies that are talking about global warming and assume I don’t just write things to write them. The simplest answer, usually the best, is greed. The rise of the industrial age has created a shift in the climate – a shift in the way we make money. The world fluctuates with temperatures, as climate deniers will say, but this change has been steady. The world keeps getting hotter. Places keep getting flooded. The costs have been thousands dead.
When something floods or the ice cap melts we attribute it to the world being a crazy, wild beast that no man can contain. It’s out of our hands, or in God’s hands, or someone’s hands that do not belong to us. Shit does happen, and on a regular basis, but there are actual statistics that prove that the world is heating up, the seas are moving in, and we can do something about it. We have the ability. But in the industrial age, resources that burn and pollute have shareholders, CEOs, and people in government with a stake.
They fear a shift, because the shift might cost them money.
They aren’t doing it because of religion or beliefs. They’re doing it because they stand to lose profit in the short term and can’t see past those dollar bill signs.
I could toss out a bunch of facts that wouldn’t feel real to you because they are numbers and the weight of it cannot be carried by numbers alone; these are facts that don’t fully settle into your bones as BAD. Those facts matter, certainly, but the thing I want to leave you with is the truth and the science.
Science doesn’t lie. We don’t know everything yet, but we know about global warming. We have instruments to record the change. We have samples to show that it has happened before. This isn’t some untested idea that a guy had in the back of his van and we’re all just parroting him. We have DECADES of proof, data, and people with more education and intellect than the majority of us double checking. It is not a debate.
Let me repeat that – IT IS NOT A DEBATE.
It is a real thing that people are denying because they like their oil and their gas. So why are we not doing anything about?
Regardless of whether or not you support whichever political regime, it should worry you that a gag order has been placed on government organizations to talk about the real and lasting effects of global warming. It should worry you the government is currently trying to silence the scientists who want to keep you alive. It should make you fucking angry that people who take your future seriously, take the future of the world seriously, are being told to can it for the profit of a cool billion today. Those billions will not go to your or me. They will go to men in suits who lack the basic empathy, scientific knowledge, and forethought to give a shit beyond making their penthouses a little shinier and that their shoes a little better than the asshole next to him.
When the constitution was written, the forefathers didn’t know what a germ was. There was no concept of such a thing even existing. They wrote to the future, but they could not have understood the nature of vaccines, of preventing epidemics before they happened, of saving lives through understanding the very thing they did not know existed. They could write about liberty but they could die by a sneeze. We know global warming is real. We have data. We have proof. We have countries around the world coming together in an effort to prevent it from getting worse. We can contain the sneeze. We know how.
Except the United States, a political machine caught up in fossil fuels, doesn’t care. The United States is erasing history, stepping back away from the inoculation that could save lives.
Our country is the anti-vaxxer, convinced that it’s right until the moment its kid gets Measles and dies.
Even if you don’t believe in global warming, if you want to point at completely unrelated things like how it got cold today as proof that global warming isn’t real, fine. It’s your right to be an idiot. But the idea that anyone anywhere is putting a gag on the voices of science should scare you, should piss you off, should make you wonder what else is being silenced. Throughout history, silence has always been a symptom of repression, a signal of bad things ahead, of liberties being squashed for personal gain. It should worry you because the silence means profit for the select few, pain for the people, and can set us back decades in actually making a difference in our environment.
You like breathing? You like this world we live on? You like the idea of your children existing?
Then listen to science. Believe it when it tells you that we are in deep shit, and only active participation, regulation, and alternative energy can prevent a worldwide epidemic for a fight for air. Understand the silence that Trump has forced over NASA and the National Parks Service for what it is – a means to make a profit and a deliberate and malicious lack of understanding. Believe the scientists who are urgently telling you to pay attention.
We have time to fix this, but it’s running out.
Wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry? Wouldn’t you rather do something now instead of waiting until it’s too late? Believe the women and men who make science their career. Believe their urgency. No one is immune to this, but together we can hope to make a difference. Start with where you buy. Contact your senators. Speak out. Don’t let this silence go.
You’ll thank me when you’re older.