Letter to Editor: Independent thinkers

To the Editor:

Every day we hear about major fires in Brazil, Siberia and our West. Melting permafrost, sea ice and glaciers. Dying coral reefs. Record-breaking temperatures. Water shortages. More intense storms. Rising sea levels. Ocean acidification.

And every day the overwhelming majority of climate scientists tell us that our climate is changing due to human activity, primarily burning fossil fuels, and that on balance the impacts will be severe, harmful, and very costly. As they have consistently said for decades.

Yet every day we also see political leaders reject the science. Our President claims it is a hoax, pulled us out of the Paris Accord, and refused to even discuss it with other leaders at the recent G7 summit. He advocates for dirty, costly energy technologies such as coal, and denigrates cheaper, cleaner alternatives such as wind and solar power. His administration’s regulatory rollbacks will make our air and water less clean and our cars less efficient. Not only are they not trying to solve the problem, they are actively making it worse!

It is not just the President. Nearly 70 percent of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, want us to take “aggressive” action to combat climate change. Yet leaders in the Senate refuse to even consider House bills to address the problem.

And now I’m concerned that our local schools are feeling similar political pressures (“Teachers walk fine line,” Aug. 29). On issues where there is a clear consensus within the scientific community … whether it is climate change, evolution, or a round earth … I think science classes must teach the science. Debates on what to do about it or alternative opinions can be covered in other classes if needed.

Misinformation, logical fallacies, conspiracy theories, etc. permeate public discourse on many issues, not just climate science. So I also think our school system should help students develop critical thinking skills, and teach them how to separate facts from fiction. Hopefully then when they are old enough to vote they will support candidates who accept reality.

In the mean time, we know what to do to correct the climate path we are on: stop adding greenhouse gases to our atmosphere! We can do this without crippling our economy or way of life, but it will take decades. There is no quick fix.

Every day we delay just makes the problem worse. The time for action is past.

John Fehlauer

Mount Desert

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