Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Is this guy cute or what?

This Magazine Staff

In the posting below, Mason wonders why people need to be reminded not to litter. Don’t you just want to hug the guy?

Dude, there are people visiting this blog who don’t believe in global warming. The other day I got off the streetcar and the grandmotherly type in front of me let her paper transfer go into the wind, right in front of her grand-daughter. Shopkeepers in Toronto still clean their sidewalks with a hose. Someone told me the other day that, during a garbage strike in New York city, rich folks were wrapping their garbage like expensive presents and leaving it on their cars in the street. Human insensitivity to the environment knows no limits.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to make a difference. Anyone actually interested in starting down the road to positive environmental change might do well to read Sweeping it Under in the latest THIS magazine. Or try Chris Woods’ article Melting Point in the latest Walrus magazine, which takes global warming theory as a given (imagine that?) and theorizes a new water map for Canada. Fascinating and scary stuff.

And for those still struggling with the question of how to integrate a “theory” into their consciousness, you might want to ask the good Dr. David Suzuki, who has this to say to the nay-sayers:

The world’s most prestigious scientific bodies—the U.S. National Academy of Science, the Royal Society of the U.K., the Royal Society of Canada and others recently signed a declaration warning about the “clear and increasing” threat of climate change and urging our leaders to act. An analysis in Science of all 928 peer-reviewed climate studies published between 1993 and 2003 found that not a single one disagreed with the general scientific consensus on climate change.

To ignore such evidence and insist on “proof” flies in the face of the way science actually works. Science does not progress in a direct, linear path. There are no straight lines from discovery to discovery to enlightenment. When I tell university students today about some of the ideas we had about genetics when I was their age, they burst out laughing. A recent analysis of scientific papers found that 50 per cent of them are probably wrong. But that’s not entirely unexpected. We learn from our failures as much as from our successes. That’s the nature of the scientific process.

To demand absolute proof in science before acting on a threat is to ask the impossible. It’s not just anti-scientific; it’s anti-science.

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