As a scientist I have a passion for information (data) that shows me a picture, however dim and fragmented it might be, of the reality of our planet. For the last two years I’ve been using the news services of our nation, BBC and others to see what was being said about global climate change and our response to it.
The United Nations has been issuing some excellent work (IPCC) on this topic for the last several years along with many universities around the world. The major new services argue back and forth creating a lot of contradictory ‘noise’ which the mass of non-science educated people can’t figure out or choose to ignore. In the confusion of information and thought people focus on what they see that is of immediate concern and utility – not what may or may not happen in the next ten, twenty or thirty years.
Those organizations and governments which stand to gain from public inaction caused by this ‘noise’ either sit by doing nothing or add to the confusion.
All this reminds me of an old ‘Twilight Zone’ episode from 1960 called ‘The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street’. I won’t bother you with all the details but just maybe there is wisdom for all of us in the narrator’s closing words:
‘The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices — to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill — and suspicion can destroy — and a thoughtless frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own — for the children — and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is — that these things cannot be confined — to the Twilight Zone.”