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LETTER: Politics Always Trumps Science

By Beacon Staff

Looking around at the audience of the National Geographic Magazine global warming film documentary showing of “Chasing Ice” in Whitefish, one could see the usual crowd of environmentalists and Democrats, but not a Republican or Tea Party member was to be seen as they must have done their typical covering of eyes and ears, along with a primal scream of “hoax,” and stayed home.

The film dramatically provided undeniable evidence that Arctic glacial ice is melting at alarming rates, and much faster than scientists originally thought. Too bad people continue to bury their heads in the sand and refuse to listen to and view the facts. If only they could have seen the ice “calving” I saw in Alaska in 1994 from a small boat, up close and personal.

Sadder, though, was the attitude of some on the guest panel of scientific experts who answered written audience questions submitted to them after the film showing. It was the same tired old “take the high road” morality of scientists unwilling to advocate with “policy statements” about global warming that would jeopardize their funding grants to do their research. They do, in fact, believe that global warming is real, and threatens the survival of all life on Earth, but they continue to sit idly by when it comes to fighting the distasteful political fight required to fix the problem.

They will not dirty their hands by becoming political, but would rather leave that chore to people like me, and yet scorn and ostracize us for doing it, as they stay above the fray. Concern for their progeny/posterity seems to be secondary to concern for the purity of being part of the scientific intelligentsia. However, the survival of the world requires that the government-funded scientific community be more proactive and provide the leadership to speak out against scientifically ignorant Republican politicians, and not leave it to us unfunded citizen environmentalists to do all that distasteful, dirty work.

So, I get to be criticized by Tea Party Republicans for trying to prove to them that global warming is not a hoax, and also be criticized by Democratic Party scientists that are opposed to my not using polite “style points” to promote the concept of global warming. Talk about a “lose-lose” proposition!

But, unless climate scientists speak out publically, politics will continue to trump science as the global climate continues to get warmer and the glacial ice continues to melt faster and ocean levels continue to rise as millions of displaced people living along the coasts must flee inland and compete for places to live. That will prove to be a nightmare scenario of a legacy to leave for future generations.

Bill Baum
Hungry Horse

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