Name an issue that is more polarizing than global warming.
OK, well, abortion and immigration. Anything else?
Each year, the Pew Research Center does a poll on the “Public’s Political Agenda.” The results were announced on January 25, 2010. It’s September now, and I realize things change, but they only do this poll once a year. Of the twenty-one items, global warming came in dead last. Immigration was ranked 18th, health care was eighth and abortion didn’t scratch. Now, to be fair, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico didn’t happen until April and “the environment” ranked 16th in the Pew Poll. It will be interesting to see how the ratings change in the next annual poll. Maybe it’s a bit early for Al Gore to pack up his Oscar and go home.
Regardless of which side of the global warming issue you find yourself, have you been successful in converting anyone who doesn’t agree over to your point of view? That might be as easy as getting Michelle Obama to become a Methodist Republican — or getting Rush Limbaugh to become a Zen Buddhist Democrat! So, I did a poll. It’s un-scientific, completely random, voluntary and surprising in results. BUT, I didn’t lie about the results to add drama or to attempt to change the public’s sense of urgency. Frankly, the results were surprising. Over ninety per cent of the respondents said they were open to change. Up until now, my experience has shown that people have been very closed minded about global warming — once they’ve made up their mind.
People on both sides of the issue have put forth reams of published data to support their position. Both sides have stated emphatically that “the scientific data is in, it’s conclusive, and our side is right.” Then they attack each other’s data. “Our scientists have more accurate data than your scientists.” “Your scientists have sold out and published data to support the position of their benefactors.” and blah, blah, blah. Who can you trust? Which set of data is correct? I like what Carl Sagan said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
Michael Crichton, author of State of Fear says in his “Author’s Message” at the conclusion of his book, “I have more respect for people who change their views after acquiring new information than for those who cling to views they held thirty years ago. The world changes. Ideologues and zealots don’t.” The late Dr. Crichton had some good advice for us on many issues concerning the environment.