Sunday, December 21, 2008

Keeping Our Cool: Canada in a Warming World

Along with the rest of Alberta, I am huddle at home, caught in the grasp of a serious but blessed Pine Beetle killing cold spell. I was pleased with my surfing this morning to run across an intelligent piece of commentary on climate change in the U of A student newspaper The Gateway.

There was a recent on-campus lecture by Dr Andrew Weaver, professor and Canadian chair in climate modelling and analysis in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria, our province hardly deserves the sole blame.

Here is what hooked me into a deeper consideration of what is happening and what needs to change about how we view climate change, including Alberta:

Most of us don’t read the peer-reviewed literature. We’re not going to go to journals and read about the latest research in a particular area. We’re going to get science knowledge—and this includes media in most areas of science—by going to the newspaper, the television, and radio,” he noted.

The problem with that, as Weaver sees it, is that the media has a tendency to be inaccurate in their depiction of the facts. His second critique was centered around the fact that most media personalities aren’t scientists.

“I’m not making fun of the media, but rather, through these extreme examples, [I want] to show how difficult it is to convey this science to an audience, and how it can be exploited by individuals who know how the media works,” he remarked.

Eventually delving into the real issue at hand—global warming—and its ability to shape the future of this world, Weaver was blunt in his assertion that at this point, there are just some realities that can’t be escaped."

Here is the link to the rest of The Gateway piece.

I guess I have another book to read over Christmas now Weaver’s recent book, Keeping Our Cool: Canada in a Warming World.