Back in 1836, Houston said to Travis
“Get some volunteers and go, Fortify the Alamo.”
Well the men came from Texas, And from old Tennessee
And they joined up with Travis, Just to fight for the right to be free.
Those who defended the Alamo didn’t fight for their own freedom; they were free already. They fought for the right to be, for the right of others to be free. They died for that right.
Whether it’s about global warming or sexual assault, there are times we want to talk to people about it. Sometimes it’s because we think they’re part of the problem. How can we talk to people, fight for what we believe in? The question is, do you fight to punish, or do you fight to change things? As Gandhi said, “I for one have found that we’re all such sinners it’s best if punishment is left up to God.”
So how do we talk about anything, not to satisfy our need to “win the argument,” but to change things?
Not long ago Willis Eschenbach did a post at WUWT about USCRN, the U.S. Climate Reference Network. It’s the best collection of quality-controlled, properly sited, state-of-the-art instrumentation for weather data in the U.S. Its only drawback is that it hasn’t been in operation very long. If we want to form a nationwide temperature average (for the “lower 48” states), we can only do so using USCRN since 2005. With just a little more than 12 years’ data, that’s not nearly long enough to get a useful estimate of what the trend is.
The WUWT blog has recently had a spate of posts about Pacific Island Nations and the threat of sea level rise. Their common themes are that the threat is overstated, that the Island Nations are trying to swindle us out of money on false pretenses, and any data which show that there is a problem can’t be right. The level of “scholarship” in these posts is perhaps best illustrated by one about the current president of Kiribati, which had to add an “update” after it was published because when he wrote the post, the author didn’t know who the current president of Kiribati is.
I’d rather know what’s really happening with Pacific Island Nations and sea level rise.
We’ve been there, most of us. Thanksgiving dinner, lots of family including many you don’t see very often, and at some point somebody says something so terrible, you feel like you have to respond. Maybe it’s about global warming, and you’re a young climate activist (thank you!). Here’s my advice.
Yes, you do have a voice and you do have power — but only if you use it.
If you don’t, the world you grow up in will be a terrible place. If you do, there is no limit to what you can accomplish.
Don’t save the world for me, or any of us old folks. Do it for yourselves. I’ll do what I can to help … but don’t count on “adults” getting it right. We’re the ones who screwed it up.
Reader “Michel” expressed his opinion that when it comes to climate science, “… this mysterious beast you call a denialist. They don’t exist, at least not in the way you mean.” A bit later, he asked me “… if you really do believe informed disinterested good faith dissent exists, cite some examples …”.
The first two words of my response were “Here’s one:” I didn’t avoid the question, I didn’t ignore it and hope it would go away, I answered it.
Then I asked him about Martin Durkin, producer of the “film” The Great Global Warming Swindle. I pointed out his behavior and his actions, and I asked michel, basically, “Does this qualify as denial?”
We’ve heard nothing in response. There a many possible reasons. Perhaps he’s been so busy at work he just hasn’t had time to respond. Or perhaps, the example I cited was such a clear-cut case of denial in action, that rather than deny that it was (which would make him look foolish) or admit that it was (which would make his assertion that they don’t exist just plain wrong), he simply cut and run, ducking the question. This much is for sure: he hasn’t answered the question.
Michel, you don’t owe me an answer. You owe it to yourself. If you don’t, you will always know that when the going got tough, you got going — for the exit.
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After my last post, a reader asked:
What’s most noticeable about this is the massive change in variability since 2007. Could you do some analysis of that?
Since 1979 we’ve been measuring the extent and area of sea ice in the Arctic using satellites. This is what we’ve found (data from NSIDC, the National Snow and Ice Data Center):
I’m going to try a new policy. We’ll see how it works out.