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Sunday, September 27, 2020

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Politics and Personhood | Listen to the scientists

<p><em>Graphic by Carissa Gurgul/The Collegian</em></p>

Graphic by Carissa Gurgul/The Collegian

Editor's Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of The Collegian.

Even though scientists spend years researching their field of study, it is politicians or internet bloggers whose words tend to be heard. And it’s a tricky matter, because I understand that politicians are meant to represent the people, and there are quite a few people whose beliefs don’t align with the scientific community. At the same time, though, it’s dangerous to ignore the warnings of experts.

The climate change debate is a prime example. Even though scientists have been warning us about the catastrophic effects of climate change for decades, politicians and citizens alike simply refuse to believe them. Despite the proof we have seen, through the increased fires and natural disasters, many remain skeptical.

There are several issues, like abortion, where religion plays a part in people’s beliefs -- a concept I completely respect. But there’s a difference between conflicting beliefs and believing lies or misinformation. 

It’s hard to even pinpoint where so much false information comes from. Despite all of the scientific evidence at people’s fingertips, many still refuse to accept it.

Of course, people can say politicians aren't scientists or strike issue with specific policies against climate change. But there is a huge difference between having a different approach to these issues versus choosing simply to ignore them. Evidence shows that we are in dire need of strong action aimed at the worsening climate crisis yet many continue to live in denial.

There are many leaders telling us that climate change doesn’t exist, while the earth around us is quickly burning. And the climate change debate is just one example of willful ignorance. There are those who continue to rebel against facts regarding vaccinations, the curvature of the earth and many more subjects.

When we believe gossip over experts, problems arise. This has gone all the way to the White House. 

President Donald Trump refuses to tackle climate change. At first, before taking office, he insisted it was a hoax. Now, even after rescinding his “hoax” comment, he has done nothing. 

Instead, he has made things worse by rolling back environmental protection policies while his administration spreads misinformation about the severity of the climate crisis. And when he gets on stage and claims it to all of America, too many people agree with him.

Of course, for some, denying climate change is simply a way to continue making money without interference. Companies like Google and Amazon have been accused of pledging to embrace renewable energy while supporting organizations that fight against climate reform behind the scenes.

I’m not saying any of us have to be scientists; I certainly am not. But when experts are telling us about problems and solutions that they have studied closely for years, it would be in our best interest to listen.

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Contact columnist Reda Ansar at reda.ansar@richmond.edu.

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