Misconceptions Are Damaging The Case For Climate Change

Fiona Fitzpatrick, Reporter/Editor

In today’s age of rampant misinformation, it has become imperative that citizens are fully aware of the fog surrounding issues such as climate change. The argument for climate change is being undermined by the misconceptions spread online and through word of mouth.

Climate change deniers are usually the ones who are known for spreading these misconceptions, as they use them to validate their opinion. This misinformation confuses the public and presents a giant obstacle to efforts to mitigate the climate crisis. For us to legitimately make a difference in climate change, a valid argument has to be presented

In an early 2019 tweet, President Donald Trump helped to aid in the spread of these kinds of misconceptions.

“In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded.” Trump tweeted. “In the coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Warming? Please come back fast, we need you!”

 Errors are being spread by these kind of top officials that aid the argument against climate change. Yet, that is not the only problem. A member of CHS climate club, Dora Hamilton details some of the problems she sees surrounding climate change.

 “[Climate Change is] seen as a fad [where] people like to appear concerned…a weird movement where people want to appear like globally woke. They want to show they are making a difference,” Hamilton said.

This appearance of concern can cause misinformation to infect platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, spreading to millions. Much of the time, people don’t take the time to educate themselves on the topic of climate change meaning that these platforms serve as sometimes their only source for news and information. Information that even if not accurate is reposted and shared to show how “globally woke” they are.

By not taking the issue seriously, Hamilton said students will see the effects of climate change impacting their daily lives. 

“Oh, dang, climate change is happening and now I need to wear a tank top,” Hamilton said, mimicking the potential words a student may utter after seeing the impacts of climate change. You will also run into similar misconceptions from another side of the argument. “See climate change isn’t real because today it is this temperature,” Hamilton said mimicking a student. 

Mandy Machut, a CHS environmental science teacher said misinformation such as this helps to aid climate deniers.

 “[People] don’t look at facts they have  more ulterior motives and special interests and they look at that instead of the science,” Machut said.

 We see that these incorrect climate change ideas are being validated by the misconceptions surrounding climate change. Machut commented on how this misinformation transfers into the fight for climate action.

 “[The] biggest hurdle that your going to come across is people who don’t believe in climate change or those who don’t believe [they] can make a difference,” Machut said.

Today, it is more necessary than ever that the truth is known about the climate crisis. If not, climate action will prove impossible. The clock is ticking. Will we be able to fight this fog of misinformation?