We recently received a “newspaper” in the mail, unsolicited, called The Epoch Times, subtitled “Truth & Tradition.” Despite the opportunity for 70% off our first subscription, we’ll probably have to decline. Somehow, even the entertainment value of the ominous-toned article,“UN Education Agency Launches War On Conspiracy Theories” can’t tempt us to subscribe.

The paper, of course, reflects the full panoply of far right extremist “views,” more like dogma really, among which we can count fossil fuel propaganda and global warming denial.

Reading one newspaper should probably not distress us to any great degree, even though its content and point of view are biased to the point of relying almost completely on mis-information and outright lies for content…Or should it actually bother us a lot? What if this paper is just one small lens-piece in the misinformation kaleidoscope through which many people view the world? A kaleidoscope consisting of social media, FOX News, online news outlets, and other sources of “alternative facts,” including lots of misleading or false data carefully designed to distract.

The flashing, mirrored, fragmented world seen through this kaleidoscope might be exciting, but it doesn’t help with comprehending what is really going on. We modern humans have a big task to try and understand global warming, the future of energy, and what we should do to turn the tide on global warming. There are very determined forces trying to maximize distraction around the issue of fossil fuels.

Now that there is the beginning of some momentum on addressing climate change, it’s absolutely essential that we push through the proliferating nonsense that contradicts the basic fact that we need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, because that is what is warming the planet. We know that shifting away from fossil fuels is the number one priority in the effort to reduce humanity’s loading of greenhouse gases far exceeding what Nature was geared for over the preceding millennia.

So when you walk into a room in your small town hall, into a conversation underway (yet again) about the “nightmare solar farm” down the road, with one person saying “and those solar panels are made of some pretty toxic stuff,” and another says, “and they don’t last very long, and you can’t recycle them,” what can you say? Where do you start when all three points are wrong and no one asked your opinion?


And what can you say when you know that a whole lot of people have read an article in the above paper called “The Big Lie: ‘Green’ Energy Doesn’t Save Money, It’s 4 to 6 Times MORE Expensive”? You could point out that the source they quoted (U.S. Energy Information Administration) doesn’t say what they claim it does – at all…Green-energy-generated electricity is at present LESS expensive than conventional power, and going down fast: But then, where do you send this helpful clarification?

And what’s the most constructive response to a statement the above paper attributes to a former director of Greenpeace, now a nuclear, forestry and biotech industry advocate, disavowing environmentalists whose campaigns he says “are misguided and designed to make people think the world will come to an end unless we cripple our civilization and destroy our economy”?

Frankly, we don’t know. Tell them to read some of our past columns. We are getting weary. When it comes down to it, here’s the story: As the role of the fossil fuel industry in our world winds down, its resistance becomes more and more violent, and is being channeled through vulnerable citizen-consumers, with the hope that they will go to the polls in November.

The fate of climate progress may come down to the lenses being worn by the voters in the mid-term elections. Through the lenses some wear, they see clearly a scientific consensus about the climate crisis and the need to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in all due haste because there is no wiggle room left. Through the lenses of the others, the climate emergency is at best a blurry exaggeration, allowing ample room to maintain business as usual, and at worst a kaleidoscopic, fantastical, liberal-funded hoax (yah dude, as big as the one about the earth being round!) threatening civilization and all we hold dear.

Future success in saving the climate could well come down to who votes. Your vote counts because politicians count votes. The way things work these days, a candidate is either in the party that takes climate seriously or in the party that denies the problem. So please vote, and tell all your clear-eyed friends to vote.

Speaking of voters, apparently Americans who prioritize the environment – that is, “environmentalists,” are among the least likely people to vote. Go figure. There is a non-profit, non-partisan national campaign to convert the estimated 12 million non-voting environmentalists into reliable voters by contacting them with information about participating in upcoming elections. You can help if you are interested by going to www.environmentalvoter.org.

The mid-terms are critical to the momentum of the climate progress that is just starting to look a little bit hopeful. Let’s keep our sights set on reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as rapidly as possible, and vote.

Paul Stancioff, PhD., is professor emeritus of physics at UMF. Cynthia Stancioff spends her time contemplating how we are going to save the planet without going crazy. Email: [email protected] or [email protected] Previous columns can be found at https://paulandcynthiaenergymatters.blogspot.com/.

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