In response to the recent letters from Mr. Stivrins and Mr. Reid regarding the presentation by Gwynne Dyer (on March 2) and the subsequent comments regarding climate change made in the letters to the editor last week, I feel that a few points should be made.
Climate change is happening. Virtually all climate scientists and researchers (not sponsored by the oil and gas industry) acknowledge that climate change and overall global warming is occurring. Just this week a group of scientists from around the world issued an open leader to governments asking for a moratorium on fishing in the arctic until we can better understand what the impacts of this activity will be.
The reason for the lack of information is simply that the arctic has never, in recorded human history been ice free long enough to support a commercial fishery. It is now.
There may be debate about what is the cause of global warming and subsequent climate change and what the outcomes will be but there is no doubt that it is happening.
While it is true, as Mr. Stivrins (Warmth better than ice age: writer published in the April 4 North Star) pointed out, that some European countries experienced a colder than normal winter this year, using such a small sample size to try and refute climate change is as ridiculous as opening your door in the morning and deciding that because it is a little chilly, that global warming must be a myth.
The overall evidence of trends over the past few decades indicates that the planet is warming and global weather patterns have shifted and that is what you use as proof, not a day to day or month to month event. While it is true that the planet has cooled and warmed significantly over the course of time, it usually takes centuries for the planet to warm or cool even one or two degrees.
The speed at which the climate is now changing is what is unprecedented and is clearly being caused by humans and our use of fossil fuels. The impact of this is potentially devastating as we are conducting an experiment on which the results are not yet fully known and won’t be until it will be too late to change our course.
Mr. Stivrins may be correct and things may turn out just fine. Indicators are that this will not be the case and the results of global climate change will be devastating. I hope I am wrong but if I am not, the consequences are unthinkable. I also think it is quite funny that two people (Mr. Stivrins nor Mr. Reid) who never attended the talk by internationally renowned author Gwynne Dyer, are both so sure about what was said and how it impacted the students. I wish I was so sure of myself that I could so clearly judge people from such a distance and without even hearing their words.
I am also quite offended that both Mr. Stivrins (Education, rather than indoctrination published March 14 North Star) and Mr. Reid ( ‘Teacher, leave our kids alone’, parent quotes song in the climate change speaker debate published in the April 18 North Star) seem to think that our youth are so easily swayed that all it takes is a presentation of an idea to completely indoctrinate them into a way of thinking.
I will suggest quite clearly that I have much greater faith in our youth. I can assure both Mr. Stivrins and Mr. Reid that our students are very thoughtful and make up their own mind and, in this day and age, our kids have access to a huge array of information sources and yes, they do formulate their own opinions. I have a great deal of faith that, at the end of the day and to quote a song lyric from the Who (instead of Pink Floyd), “the kids are alright.”
By the way, I do drive a Prius. I am surprised that this is a source of concern for Mr. Reid. I am not sure why trying to reduce my fuel consumption when gas is at $1.40 a litre is so offensive to him?
The hybrid though is an excellent example of what boggles my mind when we fight attempts to mitigate our contribution to climate change. If we made hybrids readily available and easily affordable, most people would drive one resulting in a large decrease in carbon dioxide emissions and we would all save lots of money at the pumps. Why shouldn’t we do this?
How could this possibly be seen as a bad thing by anyone? I am also at a loss to understand how, as Mr. Reid suggested, the type of car you drive is related to how good of a teacher you are?
I guess there are some things that even science can’t explain.