Question: “Does this outfit make me look fat?” Response: “Not at all. You look great.” Question: “Did you really like my mother’s meatloaf?” Response: “Yes. It was the best meatloaf I think I’ve ever eaten.” Question: “Are you sure you’re not mad I dropped your iPhone in the lake?” Response: “No. I’m glad. Now I can buy a new one.” Question: “Are humans causing climate change by burning fossil fuels?” Response: “No, no. Climate change is happening because the sun is getting hotter.” Comment: Whew. Good news! I was starting to worry. Sometimes people tell little white lies so as not to offend or worry others. And sometimes people tell lies to profit from others.
We like to be reassured. Whether it’s about looks, relationships, or performance, it feels good when your worries and concerns are assuaged. But when the emperor has no clothes on, well, then there are problems. Years ago a supervisor gave me sage advice when he said, “Surround yourself with people who will tell you what you need to know, not what you want to hear.” What wonderful advice. After all, don’t we all want to know the truth so we can do the right thing? Usually, but sometimes the truth hurts. I don’t think anyone wants to hear they’re trashing the planet, and it’s not pleasant knowing that burning gasoline to get places in our cars contributes to climate change, or that our dietary choices have planetary ramifications. And who can bear to think they’re leaving their children and future generations a planet that may have lost the climatic conditions necessary for a healthy biosphere? Sometimes it’s just easier to believe the lies.
Big oil, coal, and natural gas know this, and just as with the tobacco fiasco of yesteryear, they are working hard to tell little white lies so we idle along as the planet gets hotter and the future bleaker. The recent news about Willie Soon is yet further evidence of Big Fossil Fuel funding “scientific” studies designed to cast doubt and little white lies about anthropogenic (human caused) climate change. It’s so much more assuring to think changes in the sun, not human activity, are causing climate change. We like to hear the things we want to hear, and the fossil fuel industry is happy to whistle sweet nothings in our ears. Be honest with yourself and dig deeper for the truth which 98% of all climate scientists know and will tell you: Humans are changing the Earth’s climate. Then go out there and do something about the problem.
Two 5-Minute Climate Change Mitigation Action Item for the Week:
If you want to change the world by making a difference in the climate change battle, check out The Climate Mobilization and consider taking the pledge.
Want to support renewable energy, then push divestment of fossil fuels. Go to Fossil Free to learn what you can do.