Take a breath, we’re not on the brink of extinction

John Vassiliou, Online Managing Editor

Over the last few days, I’ve been watching the news to see what people are up to, or as I pessimistically say in my head, “Who messed what up where today?”. Recently, there has been a lot of talk about rallies against climate change and other pro-environmentalist gatherings.

I hadn’t really been paying too much attention to it until last week when people were talking about missing school on the 20th to go to protest in Boston (though I’m still absolutely, positively, 100-percent certain, that all those who left school were secretly going to the ill-planned Area 51 raid).

I decided to dig into it a little bit, just to see what it was all about. One of the people who I came across is, what I must assume, the new poster-child for the climate change movement, Greta Thunberg.

Thunberg is a 16-year-old climate change activist from Sweden and has gained international fame from her discussions with different world governments about the effects of climate change. Recently, the most notable of her trips was to the U.S. to speak with members of Congress about the problems that the U.S. is causing with its emissions in the atmosphere.

Thunberg railed against world leaders who she claims have “stolen [her] childhood,” and continued to exclaim that the science is undeniable, and that the world leaders who weren’t doing enough to address the situation were complicit in people being killed.

I just want everyone to just take a minute to just stop listening to the hysteria, and just look out the window.

The world isn’t ending, the sky isn’t raining frogs, and a massive tidal wave isn’t about to destroy us “The Day After Tomorrow” style.

Activists are jumping on board the bandwagon, shouting that the world is somehow going to be irreversibly damaged and we’ll all die if we don’t make some sort of drastic environmental changes now. But let’s just look at the reality of the situation.

What would be the impact of vying for a carbon neutral country? That is, what would we have to sacrifice in order to completely eliminate our carbon emissions?

Well you can pretty much say goodbye to electricity, cars, and pretty much anything else that runs on fossil fuels.

The U.S. gets most of its energy from coal and natural gas, and eliminating those things (along with a widely called for removal of nuclear power) will leave us with only green means of energy. This currently accounts for roughly 14% of the U.S.’s energy sources.

Trying to rework an entire economy to not only balance this rapid change in production output, but also adhere to consumer demand is just not feasible.

Besides, even if we decided to pursue this drastic change, there are no guarantees that the rest of the world will. The Chinese are currently the world’s greatest polluters, and I don’t think that they care very much for the opinion of foreign scientists, let alone a 16 year old girl being propped up by her parents and politicians at the UN.

Why does the U.S. have to be the one to bear this burden? We’ve been regularly decreasing our carbon emissions annually for over the last six years, and have been one of the lead developers in green technology. Trying to stem that wave now isn’t going to do anything to help the world other than stunt its best researcher, and quite possibly turn the country toward complete economic ruin.

But all of this is besides the point; regardless of whether or not we make these dramatic changes, the world is not going to end. Scientists have been predicting doomsday for as long as civilization has been a thing. Ancient civilizations were concerned about whether the sun would come up or not. Only going as far back as thirty years ago, we can look into how poorly scientists have predicted the end of the world.

In 1967, a newspaper was arguing that there was going to be a “Dire Famine” in 1975 that would kill millions, and lead to thermonuclear war. It never happened.

In 1976, a climatologist forecasted in the New York Times, a period of “global cooling” that would lead the world to its next ice age. It never happened.

In 1988 an Environmental Affairs Director for the UN predicted that by the year 2018, the Maldives would be consumed by the ocean due to rising sea levels. It never happened.

Even in 2008, Al Gore was saying that by 2013, the polar ice caps would be melted and all the polar bears would be dead, and as we can all adhere to, that never happened.

My point here is that the world is an extremely durable thing, and no amount of “carbon regulation” is going to do anything either way.

On top of that, the politicians who are making the environment as much of a militant issue as they possibly can shouldn’t be taken seriously. They are the political equivalent of someone wearing cardboard cut out reading “the end is near.” The only difference is that a politician is using the cultist rhetoric to try and scare people into getting them elected.

This isn’t an excuse for us to be slobs, we should try to pursue methods in our everyday lives to cut down on pollution, whether it be trash, or gas, or anything else that could hurt our local environment. That being said, we don’t need to revert ourselves to the dark ages because of environmental doomsday cultists who are essentially saying “do what I say or we’ll all die.”