The other day I saw a post on Facebook that showed a U.S. senator giving a speech to his fellow senators. He was holding a snowball in his hand and the topic of the speech was a general denial of global warming since there he was, holding something that resulted from cold weather.
At just about the same time I received two magazines-National Geographic and the monthly Audubon issue. The lead article in the National Geographic was "The War on Science". The Audubon lead article was "Climate Change Hits Home".
First, let's note a slight shift on how scientists are talking about the issue these days. The use of the term 'Global Warming' is no longer in vogue. Rather, the preferred term is now 'Climate Change'.
Why the switch? Because the public in general and politicians in particular misunderstand and therefore use for the wrong purposes the term global warming.
The fact is the globe is warming. There's no question about it. So why the especially cold winter in the northeast? Simply because the warming trend has caused the jet stream to change direction thereby ushering in cold air from Siberia to the northeast U.S.
The National Geographic was especially interesting because the focus included other misunderstandings, i.e. evolution, the moon landing (yes, some still think it was faked), vaccinations and genetically modified food. Conservative politicians in particular have ranged from doubtful to downright hostile. Whatever the case, their pronouncements are shrouded in complete ignorance. Especially troubling are those conservative republicans who serve on the House Science and Technology Committee. Shouldn't they be better informed than their colleagues or even the public? One would think so.
So what's the solution? Education-pure and simple-starting in kindergarten where I'm headed this afternoon to do my part and then continuing throughout a student's public school career-every day, every year.
Am I hopeful? What do you think? With all this emphasis on Common Core these days, not a whole lot of attention is being paid to science.
Sad. Very sad...but what's worse, it's dangerous.