Perspective is an interesting concept insofar that it can change the entirety of the human experience - even when dealing with an objective reality. The weather provides a great example. Take this past Tuesday morning - where those going out for morning
Perspective is an interesting concept insofar that it can change the entirety of the human experience – even when dealing with an objective reality.
The weather provides a great example. Take this past Tuesday morning – where those going out for morning runs or dog walks might have bristled as they stepped outside into the brisk, 50-degree air. An entire season of waking up to balmy, humid days in the 70s and 80s has made us extra sensitive to the cold.
Now if you were to deliver that same 50-degree morning to a Rhode Islander who has been eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring in late February – having just endured another harsh New England winter – 50 degrees would feel like reason enough to strip off the layers and whistle while basking in the relative warmth of the sun. It’s all a matter of perspective.
Unfortunately, acceptance of climate change and our manmade impacts that have exacerbated it has also been a concept that for far too many has been a matter of perspective – and certain sheltered perspectives have enabled those who may otherwise yield the power to do something to help halt its heinous progression to instead shove their heads firmly in the sand and ignore the Earth-sized train bearing down on our society.
We understand that we are preaching to the choir in Rhode Island to say that climate change is real. However, we must unfortunately continue to preach due to the fact that some of the most influential people in the world – including the President of the United States and some of his top appointed aids who are supposed to be in charge of preserving the environment – have taken the perspective that our impact on the planet is over-exaggerated or entirely falsified, and chosen to peel back environmental protections at a time where a vast majority of experts agree we are on the precipice of unavoidable calamity unless we act with rapid impunity to protect the one planet we have to live on.
Even as Air Force One descended through a cloud of smoke in Oregon, President Trump had the audacity to claim that “I don’t think science knows, actually,” when pressed by Governor Gavin Newsom to admit that climate change has contributed to a record-setting wildfire season that has burned large swaths of his state to the ground and displaced hundreds of thousands of Americans across the West Coast.
That’s the best that we have at this moment of unprecedented importance regarding the health of our planet? That because Donald Trump doesn’t think “science” – as if science is one person sitting in a dusty room somewhere with large spectacles on – understands precisely how much climate change is affecting our natural order, that it’s best to not worry about it or do anything that might make a difference?
Despite what the president may want to believe, or who he listens to on the subject, “science” is quite clear on how climate change has created a drier, warmer environment that experiences more droughts, all of which has made the frequency and intensity of wildfires more likely. Better forest management may mitigate some of the damage in the short-term, but it is akin to treating a patient’s cough when they suffer from pneumonia – it won’t solve the problem causing the visible issues.
It is more than frustrating that even with visible, visceral evidence of climate change, some will deny and deflect from its consequences – preserving their own narrow perspectives for as long as possible. When will the evidence be enough? When Mar-a-Lago begins to submerge beneath the Atlantic Ocean?
The fact that something as scientifically objective as climate change has become such a politicized concept in America is not a promising prospect for our future. If we can’t agree that we should try our best to not forever alter our environment in an irreversibly damaging way, no different perspective will shelter us from the harm yet to come.