Thursday, 14 May 2009

No Polar Bears please

Nasa Scientist Gavin Schmidt in The Guardian says simplistic stories and cliché pictures of polar bears have failed to engage people in the true debate

We follow a blog which Schmidt helped to set up called http://realclimate.org/

This aims to flesh out, with scientific data and rational debate, some of the stories that hit the headlines.

I, like many environmental scientists and campaigners, have had to endure the bombastic assurances of friends relatives and complete strangers that "its all down to sunspots - this global warming thing is a scam to keep people like you in work."

Being a scientist one can only sigh in exasperation - climate science is complicated, where do I begin?

So Gavin Schmidt makes an important point. We all need to become more scientifically literate. I was very pleased to hear Robert Jolliffe, Chair of the trustees of the National Botanic Garden of Wales say recently that his organisation wanted to make the population of Wales one of the most "environmentally literate" in the world.

We are entering new territory whether we like it or not. This is a period of massive change and the future, if it is to be sustainable, must be born from a new Renaissance where science, technology, art, philosophy and faith do not operate in isolation but are integrated as components of the whole human/earth ecosystem. But within this system, the scientific method rather than some vague notion of science, should be respected and understood by all as a process of illumination by rational enquiry. Scientists are practitioners of this method and not an insidious cabal to be feared and railed against. The Real Climate blog can only help bring this future closer.

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