“Climate change is a hoax”— this is an idea constantly under scrutiny. It’s currently being discussed at the Paris Climate Conference. It’s the notion that hundreds of protesters on the streets of Paris tried to fight. It’s a statement that scientists have been arguing against for years.
And it is the lie that the “merchants of doubt” would like you to believe.
In life, we have all been subjected to and have believed some falsehoods. From tobacco companies saying cigarettes are not a health hazard, to your parents telling you to that the tooth fairy gave you that dollar, deception is everywhere.
The film Merchants of Doubt, as described by its director Robert Kenner, is a “film about deception, about how we have been deceived. About inconvenient science and how people who find this science to get in the way have been able to deceive us.” This film focuses on so-called “experts” who spread doubt about such things as climate change. These “experts” say they have a scientific background, yet they are not scientists at all. Their job is actually based on communication that casts doubt on the very real issue of global warming that we are facing today.
One of these climate change “experts” is quoted saying, “I’m not a scientist, but I play one on TV. We are the negative force, we try and stop stuff.” These people are hired by companies in which global warming is an inconvenience to their business. Instead of fixing a company’s environmental and human hazards, it hires these merchants of doubt to keep its consumers in the dark so that it can continue poisoning the planet and us.
These merchants prey on the difficulty scientists have in portraying their findings to the public and call these scientists’ findings “boring.” The merchant of doubt motto is to “keep it short, keep it simple and keep it funny.” They like to tell stories and hide the truth from people to benefit their business. They leave a lot of room for personal interpretation, which works to their advantage. They say “communication is about sales, keep it simple and people will fill in the rest with their own biases.”
These people are unfortunately very good at their jobs and are preventing the public from looking where the action is, which is in the science behind climate change. Do not be fooled: Climate change is real and it is happening. Hiding behind doubt will not save you from the consequences of climate change.
One person can make a difference. It is our job to educate ourselves on the facts, so that we do not fall for these lies these “expert” climate change deniers are spreading. To learn about how these merchants of doubt work, and how we can recognize them, come watch the Green Film Merchants of Doubt on December 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. in Sweigart 115.
Lawrenceville Eco Rep
Printed in the 12/02/15 issue.