Jared Miller – March 17, 2017
Let’s make a few things clear right out of the gate:
Is climate change real? Yes.
Is it man made? At least a little.
Is it harmful? Depends who you ask.
Should we base policy on it? No.
Ten years ago I would have said (in order), “depends who you ask, no, doubtful, and no.” Ok, the last one’s still the same.
The climate change debate bugs me not because it isn’t or can’t be true, but because it’s hysterical. It’s not about conservation. It’s about signaling to your group that you’re the same as they are, and everyone else is an asshole.
Because of my background, one group in particular comes to mind when I think about the climate change debate, and I’d like to present them as an example. I grew up in a Christian household. We were always taught to be “good stewards” of everything that God has given us. In that light, even Christians are called BY GOD to a life of environmental concern and conservation. Of course the stewardship the Bible refers to is more than just environmental, but it is not less. Then comes climate change and its “with us or against us” false dichotomy. Even the most environmentally conscious Christian who thinks climate change is nonsense is assumed not to care about the environment at all! What an ignorant fool that Christian must be!
This is one of the most damaging aspects of collectivism, and is one reason the blunt club of government is such a terrible tool for environmental protection. If your individual motives do not line up perfectly with the collective, you are ignored at best and criminalized at worst. There is no room for individual motive or creative problem solving. There is no place for the concerns of the few. What arrogance it takes to convince yourself that your solution and your concerns are the only ones worthy of engagement! When we eliminate individual opinions, we also eliminate their potential contribution to a cause.
Is it anyone else’s business why I do or do not care about climate change? Why would it matter what my motives are if we are both working towards the same goals? Can we all agree that pollution is bad? Can we also agree that higher efficiency and better conservation of natural resources are good?
So what has happened since our obsession with climate change? Environmental conservation is no longer a nuanced issue with lots of different points of view, a broad array of motives, and many different interests working toward the same endgame. It’s treated as black or white. This or that. 100% with us, or 100% against us. Those of us who are not 100% get lumped in with a group we don’t belong to, and our concerns and contributions are lost.
Some people are concerned about the environment because they care about nature.
Some are concerned about climate change.
Some are worried about conservation of natural resources, economic stability and sustainability, and efficiency.
Some just enjoy clean air and not having cancer.
Climate change hysteria reduces those concerns and possible contributions to an overly simplified scare tactic. That is the true legacy of the climate change debate: division and impediment of progress. We need to acknowledge this destructive attitude and move past it. If we do not, we will continue to do irreversible harm to the cause of conservation.
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The author’s views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the entire Ask A Libertarian Team or its followers.