Only one side to climate change

To the editor,

“(Climate change) is not fear mongering. It is science.” – Time magazine

Durango School District 9-R could learn a lesson in courage from Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish student activist who was awarded Time magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year. Ms. Thunberg, who has Asperger’s syndrome, has spoken before the U.N. and many other international conferences on climate, calling out world leaders who are jeopardizing her generation’s future by ignoring the seriousness of climate change.

That climate change seems debatable, that there exists both pro and con positions, that it could become the next evolution/creationism schism in schools, with deniers demanding equal representation from politically manipulated school administrators, is a horrifying possibility. Climate change has been steadily accelerating since the advent of the Industrial Revolution with its vast increase in energy consumption. Moreover, since the mid-20th century, the rate of change has rocketed forward at an unprecedented rate. In 2019, 40 billion tons of CO2 were pumped into the atmosphere by human activity. In 2020, with all its opportunities for change in front of us, it’ll be somewhat more. In 2021 even more.

Climate change’s connection to burning fossil fuels is not casual. It is cause and effect, a direct and clear connection. There is no “alternate” version; deniers do not have a right to their own set of facts. We, all of us, the world, are falling off a cliff.

District 9-R claims there is no curriculum that does not present both sides of climate change. Then make your own curriculum. There is plenty of source material. Kudos to 9-R for allowing students to make up their own minds on this critical issue. Thumbs down to any suggestion that climate change is not human driven or deadly serious.

Courage is facing your fear. Courage is also speaking truth to power. Greta Thunberg’s courage is humbling. District 9-R needs to borrow a little of her backbone and teach climate change for what it is, the 21st century’s greatest global challenge. It is a challenge we cannot leave for the future, but one that must be confronted today. It is a challenge not to be faced by our children, but by us.

– john van becay