Shortly after the Director of Utah Climate Centers Robert Gillies’ speech on Sept. 3 at Weber State University, student Sadie Braddock was reminded of a comic strip that talked about climate change.
“This guy is presenting to this audience great things for the environment, like renewable energy, green jobs and anything sustainable — and this man was like, ‘Hey, what if this is all a hoax and we make the world a better place for nothing?’” Braddock said.
There’s no heated debate among opinion leaders in the world’s scientific community regarding whether climate change is real. In fact, among the world’s scientific community, the word “debate” has long since ceased to be relevant.
On the other end of the spectrum, when it comes to certain politicians and media influencers, they’ve been consistently displaying their aptitude for leadership and understanding by exercising use of some atavistic — or, regressive — attributes. Politicians stick to the age-old position of scratching their heads while looking for answers in all the wrong places.
Recently, some important public figures seem to have taken to staring directly at the sun for the answers, as if at any moment some climate change fix-all will fall out of the sky and kick-start the reversal of the increasing inclemency the world has been watching unfurl before its eyes.
Climate change is looming over our shoulders. For some, it’s the monster that’s under the bed while others sleep soundly. When relating to climate change, take one simple consideration into mind: climate change is all of our collective problem, “One challenge that the whole planet has to face,” according to Gillies.
Others view it like Braddock: “Even if it’s not true, why not try to make the world a better place?”
Climatologists categorize climate change by using the model of a spectrum with polarized ends. On one end of the spectrum are the Climate Change Deniers; on the opposite end of the spectrum, naturally, are the Climate Change Alarmists; and, then there is everyone in between.
Kathy Wilson, an enrollee in Weber State University’s Lifelong Learning courses, helped shed some light with her thoughts, giving some insight on the matter of climate change from a WWII Generationer’s perspective. She said that people in her age group “Never” talked about climate change, suggesting in most cases, both locally and globally, the elderly generation are not concerned about climate change. Wilson doesn’t fall into that category herself, holding firm to her convictions, stating, “We as human beings are not inconsequential to the environment and are affecting it adversely — and it’s time we wake up and smell the flowers.”
Stances like Wilson’s are considered crucial to the scientific community because the data shows that the earth is warming up, especially with a man-made sharp incline in recent years. The ice caps are melting, and there’s increased danger for more intense and destructive weather patterns. Currently, the earth’s temperature has increased by 1.5 degrees Celsius, and once we bridge the 2 degree Celsius tipping point, it will take 1,000 years to recover from those ramifications.
According to Gillies, over the next 10 – 20 years, “The effects of Global Warming in terms of sea level rise could destabilize areas like Asia, Bangladesh, India and China—to a certain extent. And, then, if you get that destabilization, what do you get, right? You get population movement, and, potentially, you get conflict.”
It can be easy to fall into destructive mindsets about climate change, and there will always be “we’re already too far gone” or the “what difference can one person really make?” mentalities, while the proactive approach is just that: proactive. It takes action, both individual and group initiatives. Overall awareness and communication will keep climate change under control. Clearly, we’re getting extremely close to the tipping point of the earth’s temperature reaching the 2 degree Celsius mark.
“Don’t be too pessimistic,” Gillies said, “There are optimistic aspects out there. You look at the development of energy going to renewables, you look at cars going towards electric vehicles. They are just as good as our cars that have combustion engines. The human race can adapt.”