Age and guile, so the saying goes, beats out youth and speed by a long chalk. (As does possession of generous insurance policies.) Age and experience also build up an overflowing reservoir of cynicism about a lot of things; protestations of enduring love, promises by politicians campaigning for election, and belief in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, among a long, long list of other things.
So it is with heartfelt convictions when it comes to media and academic protestations of “OMG, The Earth Is Gonna End and We Are All Gonna Die!” Sorry, if you’ve been around long enough (as I have been, long enough to collect Social Security while it still exists) you have been to this rodeo before. And to a good many performances, usually championed by the national media with their hair on fire; Existential doom – how many are there, shall I count the ways? The biggie when I was myself in grade school and for a goodly few decades thereafter was Immanent Nuclear War and Annihilation. Nuclear Winter afflicting any of us fortunate enough to survive that! Then there was the catastrophe of Global Cooling – the New Ice Age descending on us all! (insert extraneous exclamation points here.) We were all gonna freeze!
Then it was the Massive Hole in the Ozone Layer! Followed by something called Future Shock, which somehow involved our inability to cope with technological innovation; a development which bogus futurist Alvin Toffler solemnly assured us would send us all back to our beds in the fetal position under an electric blanket turned to the highest setting. Then there was something about massive global overpopulation and subsequent mass starvation. Followed by Global Warming! (assisted apparently by a massive bit of unreproducible academic fraud) and then by the fallback position of so-called Climate Change! (insert additional exclamation points as required.)
I believe that this is why the most current most prominent spokes-idiot for the cause of countering Global Climate Change is a sixteen-year old spoiled child of Euro-privilege and bad parental/educational practice. And I will maintain that it is bad parental practice to allow teachers and mass media to scare the snot out of your offspring on a regular basis. Responsible parents are supposed to stand in the way of cranks, busybodies and propagandists, all of whom apparently get a great deal of satisfaction leaping out of metaphorical closets and yelling “Boo! Yer all gonna die!” just as they are supposed to stand in the way of their kids doing stupid things like getting neck tattoos and STDs. Well, I suppose that not all those people getting a rise out of scaring the snot out of kids can make horror movies, be Stephen King or even organize neighborhood haunted houses.
Seriously, having lived long enough to remember all of those dire world-ending, human-terminating prophecies – none of which ever seemed to come to pass, I refused to be moved to a belief in human-caused global climate change just because a pig-tailed Scandinavian Scoldilocks insists that I do, and to take her concerns to heart. It’s just another scare, sweetie – which your hippy-dippy parents should have told you in the first place. In Roman times, it was warm enough in England to grow wine grapes. In early Medieval times, it was also warm enough for Viking settlers in Greenland to do subsistence farming. In the seventeenth century it was cold enough for the Thames to freeze solid enough at London for frost fairs to be held on the ice. In pre-history, enormous glaciers covered our American Midwest, and once the Sahara Desert was an area of lush grass and lakes. That human beings had anything to do with these fluctuations is unlikely in the extreme – and that if anything we do at present will affect earth’s climate is likewise pretty remote.
Yes, I’m a climate-change denier. Make of that what you will. And I also disapprove of deliberately setting about to frighten children in order to further a social or political cause. Comment as you wish.