It’s time for a little more writing about what I write. Since my motto is “all the things your mother told you not to talk about,” you may legitimately wonder why I often write about climate change, aka global warming.
As my motto implies, I focus primarily on topics that are too controversial for polite conversation, and such conversation can include talk about the weather. So why would it be impolite to write about climate change?
Climate Change: the Controversy
No doubt you are aware by now that climate is not weather, but the underlying framework of average conditions and seasonal changes within which weather occurs. If that framework changes, so will weather patterns. In Minnesota, the winters are generally cold and rather dry, the springs variably cool and wet, and so on. Winters have gotten warmer here lately, but not as much warmer as the global average. That’s the point: you can’t look at just one small area of the world, or one short period of time. You have to see the larger picture.
But why is that controversial? For some fairly obvious reasons it has become a politically partisan issue, which I have addressed here. Why on Earth is it a religious issue? Part of the problem is that, at least in the US, conservative Christianity has become entwined with conservative politics—to the detriment of both, I would say. Furthermore, the vulnerability of Earth’s climate over long time scales is incompatible with the worldview of fundamentalist churches, which teach that God is in control, not humans.
I should point out that there are religious groups that recognize the validity of scientific data, and are supportive of efforts to deal with climate change and the human costs associated with it. They tend not to get as much air time, probably because controversy sells better than good works. Don’t let my criticism of churches that aren’t so enlightened lead you to believe that I am opposed to religion in general.
It is a shame (although nothing new) that any religion should get in the way of public policy based on good science. In any case, that is why I consider the issue of climate change controversial enough to address here. Some issues are controversial, but not particularly important. Other issues are important but not controversial. Climate change is currently a hot issue that is also vital to life on Earth.