On a fairly regular basis, I get people saying I’m a kook, an extremist, nuts, and recently an eco-fascist, all because of my writings on climate change. I prefer to think of myself as well-grounded in reality. Why the disconnect?
Many people simply refuse to accept the reality of climate change. They come up with any number of reasons, none of which make much sense. A global socialist conspiracy? Come on. That would mean thousands of scientists colluding to fudge their data in order to take over the world. People actually believe that. Or they believe ex-mining-stock promoters and economists over scientists working in the field. That’s like going to your banker for advice about a brain tumour. And I’m the nut.
What made me ‘nuts’ is reality. One of the things I used to do to combat climate change was co-host a radio show called Breakin’ Ice – the Climate Change Reality Radio Show, with Rick Habgood. We regularly interviewed scientists – real climate scientists who are researching and publishing – and every one of them has said that climate change is dangerous to humanity. The ones who look into impacts and adaptation tend to be especially bleak in outlook. I was on the show for about a year; Rick hosted it for over ten years, and the prognosis has been getting steadily worse.
No World for Young People
Another thing that made me an ‘extremist’ is the number of young women I’ve heard from who have decided they probably won’t have children because the future looks very bad. The first one that I remember was at a David Suzuki talk in Victoria, Canada. A young women got up and asked Dr. Suzuki – famous environmentalist and host of The Nature of Things – if he thought it was wise to have children. He didn’t really answer, except to say that he has five children himself. Of course, David Suzuki is in his seventies, so he had his children long before we realised how serious the crisis would become – and how obstinate we would be in evading it.
Then, on the radio show, another young woman said she would not have children because climate change was going to wreck the world. This woman was a student at the University of Northern BC and a climate activist, so is well aware of the scientific prognosis. On that show we had another young woman, a student at the University of Victoria but not a climate activist and not nearly as well-versed on climate change – and we asked her. She also said she would probably not have children. She would like to, someday, but the world seemed to be falling apart. And although she was not fully up-to-date on climate change, she knew enough to see that it would make a dangerous world for her children.
This is terribly, terribly sad. It is the most natural thing in the world for young women to want children, and here were three who looked at the world and said, “I don’t want to bring a child into this world. It will be wrecked by climate change, and my child would have no future at best, and be destroyed at worst.”
This is so obviously wrong. We are destroying the natural world in every way, from nature to nurture. This is why I am an ‘extremist.’ Sometimes doing the right thing puts you outside the mainstream. I’m OK with that. I wish more people would catch up and we could get serious about the climate threat, and I’m doing what I can that way. But whatever others think, I choose reality.