BY MARK Y.A. DAVIES
If a person ate fast food and drank sugary drinks every day and 99 out of 100 cardiologists told this person that this diet was contributing to this person’s heart disease, and if that person chose to listen to the one doctor instead of the 99, the vast majority of us would say that this person is in denial about what is contributing to their heart disease.
If a number of CEOs of fast food chains and soda companies encouraged this person to listen to the one doctor versus the 99, that would unlikely make us change our assessment that this person is in denial. We probably would remind this person that the fast food companies and soda companies have a bit of bias on matters such as this, and we would strongly encourage this person to listen to what the 99 cardiologists are saying.
But for some reason when 99 out of 100 climate scientists tell us that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are the primary contributor to increases in global average temperatures, many of us want to listen to the one versus the 99.
Many of us in denial about the reasons for our climate crisis repeat the same arguments against the 99 that are promoted by CEOs and paid surrogates of fossil fuel companies and industrial agriculture companies and fail to see the bias that they have on such matters.
In the case of individual persons denying the reasons for their heart disease, the consequences could be tragic for them. In the case of persons denying the reasons for our climate crisis, the consequences will be tragic for us all.
Wise persons and wise societies will listen to their doctors and climate scientists who base their diagnoses and conclusions on sound scientific method rather than listen to the propaganda of the companies that profit off our denial of reality.
When we have heart problems, we should listen to our cardiologists, not to McDonald’s and Coca Cola. When we have a climate crisis, we should listen to our climate scientists, not to ExxonMobil and Koch Industries.
– Mark Y.A. Davies is the Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics and director of the World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility at Oklahoma City University. Click herefor more of his essays.