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To A Climate Change Denier

Coen van Wyk

Posted on April 5, 2019 09:18

1 user

A friend was engaged in a discussion with a climate change denier recently. I’m afraid I lost my temper, and walked out. Here is what I should have said.

You claim that humans do not contribute to climate change, and that 30,000 scientists said it is a hoax. Well, that claim has been comprehensibly debunked. And claiming that one volcanic eruption creates more carbon dioxide pollution than motor cars is equally wistful thinking: volcano’s cause less than one percent of the carbon emissions that humans cause

But this won’t change your mind. Cognitive dissonance is a thing. We tend to hear what we want to hear, and believe what suits our comfort zone.

I am not a scientist. I live in close touch with nature. I see plastic debris in my own garden, the product of my living over the past years. I see wild antelope in national parks munch on shopping bags. This plastic will never degrade, just break up in smaller and smaller bits, killing animals and insects. No volcano’s here.

Images of whales entangled in fishing nets, albatrosses on remote islands dead from eating plastic might be all too sad, but so what? I’m Ok, Jack. Well, probably not. Microplastic particles, by now, are in every living organism, every fish we eat. Sit back, pour a whisky with water, and think about it. The water has microplastic in it, and these probably remain behind in your liver and kidneys.

No volcano's here. NOAA


So what if the whales, turtles and albatrosses die? Well, simply said, the oceans will die, sooner or later. Whales fertilize the arctic waters, feeding krill that absorb carbon. And no, human poo is the wrong sort and in the wrong place to do the same job, if you were going to ask.

Do you want this on your conscience?


So less oxygen created by oceanic creatures. We just plant a few trees. Good idea, but people are actually deforesting the planet at an alarming rate. The Amazon is shrinking, vast tracts of indigenous forests in Malaysia and Indonesia are being clear-cut to make place for oil palms. The floods and landslides in Mozambique were caused by rampant deforestation. Not volcano’s.

And at higher temperatures trees are less able to absorb carbon. But no worries, mate, temperatures and carbon levels have seen swings in history. In fact, the ice melting at the South Pole shows that a while ago there were beech trees growing, global temperatures were 4 degrees warmer, and CO2 levels were about what we have now. There were no humans alive in the Pliocene era, though.

In the shadow of Everest inhabitants of Kathmandu wear facemasks due to air pollution. No volcano’s here.

Does the above describe the world you want to live in? Is that what we want to leave to the future generations? Not me.

There are few easy solutions. Wind turbines are bird killers and are massively polluting to build. Solar power has its drawbacks. Nature can help: restoring forests, rewilding degraded land can help.

Greta Thunberg said it: The solutions are there. It is up to us. But we need to panic now.

 

Coen van Wyk

Posted on April 5, 2019 09:18

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Source: Phys.org

This year, plastic pollution is the main theme of International Environment Day, celebrated on June 5.

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