Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
Climate complacency?
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 17 Jan 2007, p. 6

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Open a newspaper or tune in to a radio or television news program these days and you are likely to be exposed to a story about our deteriorating environment. With last year's release of former U.S. vice-president Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, global warming has become the "sexy" topic pursued by news gatherers around the world. From in-depth reports detailing the irreversible effects of climate change on glacial ice fields, to scathing reports detailing how Canada has fallen behind the rest of the world in taking action against the impact of global warming, the picture being painted by the world's scientific community and environmental organizations is bleak. While the media's role has been to report on scientists' fears that we may be headed down a path of environmental catastrophe, there's an inherent risk that information overload may cause some people to begin tuning out the message. Is it possible the flood of information could be having a Chicken Little effect on people who either don't want to be bombarded with so much bad news or simply don't believe the situation is as dismal as portrayed? There's no denying evidence of dramatic climate change is there for those concerned enough to seek it out. Statistically, the number of Category 4 or 5 hurricanes has doubled in the last 30 years. In the summer of 2005 a giant ice shelf, with an area comparable to 11,000 football fields, broke free from Canada's Arctic, forever changing a part of our country's geography. Complicating the issue is a push by a small, but extremely vocal group of oil and coal industryfinanced scientists who refute the threat of global warming and deny climate change is anything to fear. In the '90s some of these same scientists were employed by the tobacco industry to dispute the link between cigarettes and cancer. With so much information-- and disinformation-- out there it's easy to understand why ordinary people don't know what to believe-- or do. Perhaps the real fear should be that so much talk of impending doom for our planet may drive those who fail to see how they can impact this global problem into a state of complacency.

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17 Jan 2007
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Climate complacency?