Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Global warming: let's let our children decide

Global warming does exists, and if we do not change our way of living we are going to send the planet to Armageddon. Global warming does not exist, and if we don't stop taxing and regulating American industries because of the hoax of global warming, we are going to destroy our economy.

Which sentence in the above paragraph is the most accurate?

I watched a news program the other night on ABC news about this one scientist who has gone public with his notion that global warming is a hoax. However, instead of the reporters on that news program showing us what evidence he has, they basically made an effort to discredit him, and make him look like a bumbling idiot.

While the show was progressing, my friend kept waving his hand through the air saying things like, "See? See?"

"That was a terrible report," I said to him.

"Why's that? Because it proved you wrong," he said, smiling.

"No. Because those reporters did not mention one piece of evidence that scientist has for why global warming is a hoax. All they did was provide quotes designed to make him look like a fool."
That was the end of our discussion. The mood was light, and neither one of us really wanted to get into an intense debate on politics.

I could hear the wind blowing this morning, and, upon looking out the window and noticing a fresh blanket of snow, said, "Wow, it's not supposed to be doing this in March."

"Yeah, especially with global warming," my son said.

That was the end of that discussion. I was not going to debate my son about global warming, particularly because I'd like him to make a decision on his own on what he thinks about global warming, or anything else for that matter.

The thing that concerns me is, and why I'm writing this post, is that I don't think my son is getting all the facts to make his decision. I think he is being inculcated with the idea that global warming exists, that man is causing it, and that is a fact.

And I do not have a problem with my children being taught about global warming, that's not the problem. The problem is that they do not teach my child about the other end theories that are out there, which, to me, seem equally as credible, and even have 50% of scientists convinced.

If I were a 4th grade teacher, this is how I would teach about global temperatures:

"Today, guys, we are going to talk about global temperatures. Basically, there are two theories, and I'm going to leave it up to you what theory you want to believe in. What I'm going to do is give you the facts, and you can decide for yourself what you think.

"About 50% of scientists believe in global warming. The basis of the global warming theory is that we humans are causing the planet to warm up. By our use of fossil fuels, we are causing CO2 to build up in the atmosphere, and this is causing a greenhouse effect, where the planet keeps getting hotter and hotter. Since about 1970, the global temperature has increased by about one degree.

The people who believe in global warming, that we are causing it, want to regulate businesses and, tax them, and make laws that force people to stop doing things that they think are causing global warming, like driving gaz guzzling cars, pollution from factories, etc.

"Any questions?" Now, here there would be an extensive discussion about global warming, and how it is important to develop alternative fuels, conserve, to work hard and together to keep our planet clean, and all that stuff that we all should be doing regardless of what theory we believe in.

Then I would continue the discussion:

"Okay, now I'm going to give you the facts provided by the scientists who do not believe in global warming. In fact, these scientists do believe in global warming, there is scientific evidence that the earth has increased by one degree since about 1970.

"However, according to scientific data, there is also evidence that from 1900 to about 1940 there was a period of global warming. This was a time when there was very little use of fossil fuels. Then, from 1940 to 1970, there was a period of global cooling.

"In fact, this global cooling became so bad that some scientists actually proposed melting the polar ice caps. They were never allowed to do that, but it was a proposition that was seriously discussed in Washington.

"What these people contend is that the global warming people, the people who believe that man is causing the planet to warm, are only using data from 1970 on. The truth is, if you use data from 1900 on, there is evidence to support a cyclical trend of global warming and cooling.

"Thus, while the weather is warming now, it will at some point start to cool again. Likewise, to add one more fact, global temperatures cooled in January in all five locations where global temperatures are measured.

These people believe that taxing and regulating businesses because of the fear of global warming is going to accomplish nothing more than economic trouble.

"Now, based on the facts I just presented, let's have a discussion."

Of course, now we would have a discussion. Then, later in the day, or perhaps the next day, I would tell my students that while I don't care which theory they decide to support, it is still important to work together to be environmentally responsible.

The nest discussion we'd have is regarding the middle of the road theories. People, like me, who believe it's good to fear the future, but to be happy in the present. To regulate some to keep the planet beautiful, but not to go overboard with taxation and regulation.

Finally, I would add this, "Here's my opinion. I believe that no matter what theory you decide to support, that there is global warming right now. There is also evidence that man has caused some effect on this global warming.

"The question is, will there be a period of global cooling in the future? Or will temperatures of the earth steadily increase until our planet is destroyed?

And then we would have another discussion. The important part of this class session would be that at no point would I try to sway my students one way or the other. I might even tell them my opinion, but I would not try to sway them.

That, in my opinion, is the responsibility of our teachers. By telling our kids that global warming exists, and that we are the cause, and that there is no other responsible way of thinking, and that anyone who thinks there is no such thing as global warming is an idiot, is the best way of stifling creativity.

It is this creative thinking, open mindedness, that has made our country the greatest nation on the planet. If we brainwash out children to look one way, they will fail to look in other directions, and our nation will continue to fall behind other nations in creativity, science, technology and even education.

By teaching only one theory, as I think we are now both in our schools and in the media, we are doing nothing more than holding back our nation.

Now, if my son wants to believe in global warming, or my friends for that matter, that's fine by me, so long as he made that decision on his own accord, and was not pushed in that direction by his teachers.

I want my son, and all children, to learn to think for himself. And that I think should be the role not only of parents, but of teachers we trust to the care of our children's minds. We should accept no less.

Instead of teaching our children to think, our schools are telling our kids how to think, at least in regards to global warming. And that's unfortunate, and it puts people like me, who would like to remian open minded, on the defense.

1 comment:

Nikki said...

I agree with you...let's give both sides of an argument and let the kids decide. I remember learning about evolution and how we all evolved from apes. I asked the teacher why we didn't have any apes turning human right now, or at least in "transition". she couldn't answer and I got in trouble for disrupting the class. haha. I did have released time to go to Mormon seminary and I suppose that was my contrast to the theory of evolution...fair and balanced! kids are smart, they will figure it out...:N