For a time there were warnings in the newspapers about how worrying about imminent environmental catastrophe might be dangerous for children. The stories suggested small, achievable measures should be implemented to keep morale up and alleviate anxiety – re-cycling bins, a worm farm, that kind of thing. But then they stopped running them, it seemed contentious. Instead a harassed group of twitchy scientists was pitted against those with the loudest, braying voices and the money to make everyone hear them. The politics was the news – what she said, what he said, the extra dollars we were all going to have to spend, the inconvenience, when didn’t you know we already had it tough? Shifting voices and high wrought, shrill opinion parading as fact. The evidence: the sea level rises and the acidification, the dwindling glaciers and dying polar bears, was relegated to the realm of disputable extremism, a sliver on the third page.
But you can’t build a civilization on science and then ignore it when it suits you.