Intro to Environmental sciences
Reaction paper 2: Merchants of Doubt
Naomi Oreskes wrote a fantastic piece of journalism with her article "Merchants of Doubt" published in cosmos magazine on June 2, 2011. The article brings up a lot of thought provoking points and topics regarding climate change and its relevance in and to society throughout history. It also raises the question as to why there is so much dispute among scientists, social scientists, and governments concerning climate change and its impacts and implications. It explores the origins of why we still need to have the debate of whether climate change is actively happening and whether or not human beings will be impacted by it despite the amount of scientific data gathered throughout history.
The article center around the actions of four former cold war physicists whom almost all had a part in nuclear weapons development during the cold war as well as rocketry programs. The 80\'s and 90\'s is where it centers on these fours actions and the campaigns they supported and even had instrumental parts in. Campaigns such as those run by tobacco companies to attempt to disprove scientist claims of the danger of smoking and secondhand smoke are some examples. These also lead their own campaigns which were basically attacks on environmentalists and their research on the dangers and effects of climate change. These attacks even went after the character and ethics of these environmentalists and those who supported them. Many scientists at the time were calling for governments to regulate certain things that could help reduce factors that go into pollution and climate change. Because of this these men believed the scientists were pushing a personal agenda that supported things such as socialism. Naomi sums up her article reiterating the importance of paying attention to the facts and scientific data above all and not the smearing and doubt being created and realize that no matter what the human race faces an increasingly alarming issue of climate change.
I thought Naomi Oreskes brought up a lot of very thought provoking point with this article. Having basically been given a short history lesson of the history of climate change and the history of these men who were opposed to its conclusions gave me a much better understanding of what was going on at that time. The insight and passed history the writer provides you with of these men stated in the title as the ‘merchants of doubt\' really gets you to look at the core of the spreading of doubt against climate change. I thought she did an excellent job of "exposing" the mens real agendas and how ridiculously widespread this irresponsible idea has become because of their actions. Oreskes really helped answer a lot of my questions on the whole matter. I never understood why there were people out there who did not believe the research that has been done on climate change and those who just simply say it is a lie. For me this put into perspective the character of motives of many of those that support this idea and why we should all be more proactive about the risks of climate change.
One thing I did wish Oreskes talked about more in the article was about what environmentalists and all scientists and other figures who support the need for action against climate change were doing to combat these campaigns to spread doubt of its existence. I can understand not inserting it much though since the article was mostly concerning the reasons and origins for doubt against climate change. All else aside I thought it was very well written and informative on a part of the history of climate change that we don\'t very much hear about.
Because merchants of doubt such as this exist it is all of our jobs to support the idea that changes need to be had to combat the very real man made process of climate change. We all need to be aware and educate each other on the issue in whatever capacity capable. We all may not have the biggest voice or audience to listen to us but I believe it starts with all of us to at least be informed and recognize we have issues that need