Climate Change isn’t a hoax, but it also isn’t an emergency

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Climate Change isn't a hoax, but it also isn't an emergency
Climate Change isn't a hoax, but it also isn't an emergency
Kate Stuzin

Climate change is real and we must stop its progression, but we do not face any imminent danger. Though the media wants to motivate people, they have done so in a way that has put people into a false panic.

Recently, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez commented at an NAACP forum that if we do not pass climate change legislation, Miami would be underwater within a few years. That type of “sky is falling” rhetoric may help in drawing attention to the issue, but this inaccurate information has spurred unnecessary fear and anxiety.

Global warming may seem like the biggest issue of our time, but humans have previously faced threats to our survival. My parents’ generation had to deal with the constant threat of nuclear war between U.S. and the Soviet Union. People believed missile strikes could hit them any minute, yet with more time to solve the climate crisis, people still remain scared out of their wits. The difference in reactions can be traced to the prevalence of social media nowadays.

Social media has helped to popularize teen activist Greta Thunberg’s #FridaysForFuture movement. Thunberg gave a recent speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit addressing climate change and her weekly climate strike. In the speech, Thunberg scared today’s youth by describing the “bleak future” ahead of us, but the emotion and urgency expressed in her speech must not be mistaken for scientific credibility.

From there, Thunberg’s fear mongering speech led to a flood of social media posts about her climate strike on Sept. 20. In theory, a climate strike seems like a great way to help rally support, but in practice it’s not pragmatic solution.

During the climate strike, many of the posters seemed to have political agendas. Because of this, climate change is no longer a bipartisan issue, and politicians will use it as another wedge issue to motivate future voters. Abortion and gun control protests have had similar effects on politicians. These controversies have barely progressed and seem to have little chance of compromise.

Moreover, millions of teens worldwide participated in the climate strike a few weeks ago, and the momentum has immensely declined since then. Some teens simply joined the protest because it was the trendy thing to do at the time, not for their genuine concern for the environment. Even those who genuinely support Thunberg cannot attend because they cannot afford to miss school every Friday.

Thunberg has become the face for ending climate change. People young and old alike, look to her as a knowledgeable person on the topic of global warming. However, she even acknowledges her lack of credentials by asking her followers to “listen to the scientists” in her speech to Congress on Sept. 19. Because of her newfound influence many have decided to blindly follow her lead and panic. While we need to solve the issue of climate change, it should be a calm, rational approach not an emotional, fear-based one.

Kate Stuzin is a student at Palmetto Senior High School


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28 COMMENTS

  1. Oh, yeah? So climate change is not an urgency? We are already seeing the oceans rising, the Arctic ice melting down and the glaciers retiring, stronger and more frequent hurricanes, extended droughts, and insular nations going under water! If we let global temperature to rise 2 degrees (and that will happen if we keep burning fossil fuels) by 2100 (or before!) many coastal cities around the world will be flooded by the rising sea level, including Miami. That’s not a hoax and it is an urgency! It is the scientific consensus. It is scientific data and conclusions. So please don’t give me that optimistic and misleading pep talk, which is music to the ears of irresponsible investors who want to make fast money and don’t give a darn about global warming and the welfare of future generations, and the politicians and media who dance at those investors’ rhythm.

    • Given that the author is a high school student I doubt she should be classified as an irresponsible investor. However you pretty much make her point. 2100 is 80 years away. The world will not end in five or ten years as many have claimed. Climate change is a serious problem but we do not need to unnecessarily panic about it. There is still time for reasonable solutions

  2. I am appalled by this irresponsible article on climate change. It IS a crisis, and the things we implement now will either preserve our quality of life on this planet, or ultimately destroy ALL of the “upper” species that now inhabit it. Japan has just suffered a Category 5 hurricane, a storm that was so large that it covered the entire archipelago, followed by an earthquake. Many cities along the Atlantic coast are taking matters into their own hands to preserve our coastlines. 25% of the birds of North America are facing extinction….and the author of this article says slow down? Really? I say WAKE UP! I have grandchildren who may actually be in wars between nations for potable water, arable soil, and land that is not threatened by ever stronger storms, tornadoes, floods and drought.

    • Barbara

      Your grand children will have much more pressing issues to deal with then global warming. We have real urgent issues to solve right now such as a lack of funding for Medicare, social security and a huge national debt not to mention gun violence , an opioid epidemic and international terrorism. Global warming is only one of many issues and its urgency is no greater than any other problem we face

  3. You are down playing something very real. Without strong support, nothing is going to be done to ward off a major mess. It’s interesting to me that no one is given credit for this article. I suspect that the writer doesn’t really want to make changes in his/her life, because it would be uncomfortable and inconvenient. And, anyway s/he has enjoyed the beauty and plentiful-ness of her/his place in the world and expects to die before any real ugliness happens. In addition, s/he plans to sell his/her property soon, so s/he doesn’t want anyone worrying about the fact that much of greater Miami will be covered by polluted water. Oh, let’s cover our eyes to what’s happening already on Miami Beach!

  4. This article is like saying: “you have a cancer and it is spreading slowly, so it is not an emergency, no need to do anything for the time being”… very smart !!!

    • That is a terrible analogy. How can you compare someone dying of cancer to people addressing the threat of global warming. The author does not deny the importance of the global warming threat just that we need to take reasonable measures to address it.

  5. The real problem is capitalism and fascism not climate change. The capitalism system is about corporations maximizing profits at the expense of the environment and the health and quality of life of the people and other species of animals living on the planet. Under fascism Transnational Corporations and Government act in collusion to enrich themselves at the expense of the working class, peasantry, and small local businesses while keeping the people under control and enslaved by oppressive, totalitarian institutions that serve the ruling class and have no accountability to the citizenry. Government controlled mass media and other influential institutions are used to keep people in a state of fear and manufacture polarization in society to create endless divisions in society to prevent the citizenry from uniting against their ruling class oppressors. You can’t solve any problems within a corrupt and oppressive system. Miami Beach and other coastal cities have always had problems with flooding. That has to do with location not climate change. The only way to protect against flooding is to build properly designed infrastructure. Extreme weather events are being caused by geoengineering not by “climate change”. Geoengineering is the manipulation of atmospheric conditions used to control the weather by governmental authorities using advanced technologies to wage weather warfare. http://www.geoengineeringwatch.org

  6. Kate, I think your article was well written. But it’s poorly reasoned and lacks the kind of foundational information that would support your arguments. It’s basically a long series of assertions. Your English teacher gets an A, but your Science teacher gets a D and your Civics teacher gets an F.

    • Todd. I am not sure what Civics has to do with this article. Your Reading Comprehension teacher gets an F. In case you missed it the article was not really about the science of global warming but the media hype surrounding it.

  7. Three cheers for Kate Stuzin who confronts the irrational and extreme statements about climate change. Of couse there will always be climate change. The grandiosity of humankind to think that they can compete with Nature is absurd. In time technology andthe market place will impact positively the concerns of those who are fearful that life on Earth will end soon. For example, more people are buying battery powered cars. More trucks and buses use natural gas or batteries. Solar panels are installed on more roofs. More windmills are being put in place, despite their inherent inefficiency. Energy companies are working to reduce pollution from creating energy. Eventually, there will be hydrogen powered vehicles, which will eliminate all pollution from vehicle exhaust pipes. While nuclear power eliminates carbon based energy, it has a disposal and other problems. If those problems could be fixed, nuclear power electric generation would become universal.
    Instead of using crying towels to scare people, especially the young, let us be optimistic that there are a lot of smart people now and in the future who will find solutions to the carbon footprint.

  8. Exxon’s own scientists informed executives in the 1970s of the fact of a warming planet with the use of fossil fuels. To downplay this situation is foolish and thoughtless. It IS urgent, obviously, or scientists would not be sounding any alarms. James Hansen and Bill McKibben, among many others, have made the very precise information regarding a rapidly warming planet CLEAR, beginning around 30yrs ago. I can see that most of us do understand the gravity and are making lifestyle changes. It will take the massive corporations, the enemies of nature that they truly are, to make drastic changes in their methods of providing energy. It is our duty as consumers, to make the right choices. Plastic, which is a product of petroleum, is another enormous pollution that is destroying life as we know it. We must, I say MUST, change our lifestyles and habits in order for the planet to continue sustaining life for generations to come. We must protect, and live in harmony, with nature (upon which all life depends).

  9. What’s next, article from a kindergartener on whether Solar is good for the Earth? Really responsible on placing an article as anything other than an OP-ED by a high school student without any valid credentials to m make her statements as facts.

    Great to see all the opinions being expressed. Climate change is real and that is not from opinions but from scientific evidence. It’s effect on the planet are facts and constantly being proven. It does not matter whether we caused it or not but we have a responsibility to mother Earth to ensure we do what we can to steer the ship in the other direction.

    Keep on cutting trees, laying asphalt, and creating hot exhausts from air conditioning, cars, planes, factories and so on. The heat produced by all those don’t cause any effect on the environment just like a room filled full of humans isn’t the cause of the room getting warm. Neither does a black car get hotter than a green or a white car. Now say to yourself that the earth is not going to change nor that we are the cause when we have shaved it of all its protectant layers.

    See if you can find a nice canopy of trees on a hot day and say to yourself it’s not humans that are destroying the earth. Continue saying to yourself it’s a natural cycle that’s existed in the past. While part of that may be true, if you really expect this to not be urgent and think we can rely on the Earth taking care of itself when we have stripped her of her tools, you are sadly ignorant and selfish. Turn a blind eye to all the cultures already being affected by the rising waters.

    Anyone who understands Physics can see the truth. Too bad we don’t respect our scientists today like we did in the past. Now we idolize influencers, you-tubers, and anyone who can portray the American Dream via a viral video that turns into an overnight success story. Teachers are not underpaid or overworked, CEOs are not overpaid, Global Warming is not urgent, Solar and Wind are not solutions because they are not efficient.

    Keep on trying to rationalize your ignorance. You are right on it is not a hoax. But you are absolutely wrong on it not being an emergency.

  10. The reasoning in the article is scary, and it coming from a young person, who in their lifetime is going to feel the dire effects of climate change, is extremely sad. I agree, we need to act rationally and I agree this shouldn’t be bipartisan. But highlighting the urgency of the issue, which is what Greta is doing and the media is doing to an extent, is entirely rational when climate change could quite literally mean life or death for mankind.

  11. What a boomer take. Playing the “both sides” card to make yourself look smart doesn’t work on an apolitical issue such as climate change. Sorry, but saving future generations isn’t a political agenda

  12. For those commenters throwing shade at a high school student for expressing an opinion you do not agree with — shame on you. You are criticizing a young adult for opining that while climate change is real it should not be driven by fear tactics, politics and/or media sensationalism. How or why is that a problem.

    Should we not want the global warming discussion to be led by actual scientists as opposed to the hysterical claims of politicians or media selected figure heads.

    The author should be applauded for her pragmatic and fresh approach. So many high school students today can barely get away from their iPhones long enough to form a thoughtful opinion let alone one that was not spoon fed to them by a school system incapable of anything but politically correct thought.

    Way to go Kate Stuzin. We need more writers like you not afraid to freely express themselves.

  13. Y’all are targeting this girl for finally saying what everyone else is thinking. Climate change isn’t going away but people don’t need to drastic measures.

  14. I think some of these commenters are missing the point. The author acknowledges that global warming is a threat but is concerned about the media and politicians overhyping it. Are we really so naive to believe this is not a real possibility.

    It’s great to see a high school student think for themselves and not just regurgitate what they read on social media

  15. Omg finally another high schooler agrees with me! All my friends went to the climate rally last month and acted as if global warming was so important, but now they don’t rly care. So many teens just do things because it’s trendy, not for their genuine concern. Even then, global warming will be here in 50 years, so we have time to find a solution.

  16. Well done, Kate.

    Don’t let the others who disagree discourage you from sharing your opinion. You’re an American, and that’s why our country is great…it allows people with differing opinions to express themselves.

    Keep up your great work!

    Chris Pearson

  17. From the very beginning of times,( when our planet was just a ball of gas)maybe about four billion years plus !? ever since then our planet earth has gone through a serious of transformations, through earthquakes,tifóns,floods,name it , it always been, it will always be, our planet is in a constant change in partnership with the greater Universe that belongs to. (3.000 years ago disasters will just be local news, however with 21st century‘ technology….there is not distance and the impact of any disaster belongs to all.)

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