Showing posts with label alarmist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label alarmist. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

On safari - watch out for rhinos!

There I was, on safari in Tanzania. Matt was driving, and we were barrelling down the road at full speed. Matt was a good driver and managed to swerve around most of the holes and washouts. Occasionally, we hit one with a mighty thump. Then we would slow down and recover a bit before Matt's foot went down on the accelerator again.

We were making good time when Matt's phone rang. He asked me to answer it.

It was Matt's safari business partner, Jeff. He warned me that a small herd of rhinoceros has been reported on the road outside the next village. Apparently, they'd settled in to enjoy a dust bath and were taking their time.

I thanked him and passed the news on to Matt. "Sure, OK," he responded as he continued at full speed.

After a while, I began to wonder when he would slow down.

Then I began to fidget. Finally I asked him.

"Oh, don't worry," he replied, "Jeff's a bit of an alarmist. We've never seen rhinos taking dust baths on this road before. And there's not much chance that one will walk out just as we come along. We'll be OK."

"But," I asked, "he said somone had seen them. What if he's right?"

Matt pushed that thought away, "People say all kinds of things. I don't see any rhinos. It'll be alright. And if we do happen to come across any, I'm sure I can handle it."

On we went, watching the shadows lengthen and the sky soften with shades of coral and lavender.

Suddenly, we rounded a corner and there they were. Black hulking monsters filling the dusty road.

Matt braked hard and swerved to avoid a head on collision with them. The truck rolled. The rhinos lumbered to their feet and two of them charged us in the overturned truck while the others trotted off into the bush.

The truck was a write-off, though the villagers found it useful for spare parts. Matt was dead and I spent months in hospital.

Next time somebody shrugs off warnings about rhinos in the road, I'm going to tell them where to get off.

__________ o O o ___________

This is an allegory for climate change. When powerful people ignore the warnings of competent scientists, they endanger the safety of all of us. I'm going to tell them where to get off.

__________ o O o ___________

Monday, May 14, 2012

Thank God the alarm worked, it saved our lives.

Are you an 'alarmist' and a 'warmist'? That's what climate change deniers call scientists, politicians, activists and anyone in the general public who accepts the evidence for climate change.

When they call everyone who accepts the science an 'alarmist', they try to say that we're like the boy who cried wolf. They want to discredit the warnings made by responsible people who recognise the evidence.

Where they are wrong is that the wolf is very real. Multiple strands of evidence point to the warming planet and the role of greenhouse gas emissions. There is abundant evidence for:

Alarms do much more than wake you up in the morning, though that is useful. Burglar alarms and car alarms protect property and many alarms save lives. Smoke detectors; tsunami warning systems; heart attack alarmsshark alarms; patient monitoring alarms all save lives by warning against imminent danger.

So next time you're called an 'alarmist', stand tall, point to all the evidence that says climate change is a real threat, and mention that alarms are good things – they save lives.