The strikers’ generation has been taught climate science

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Breena Holland is an Associate Professor at Lehigh University in the Department of Political Science and the Environmental Initiative. She is a past and current director of Lehigh University’s South Side Initiative.


What my friend Mr. Haines fails to admit is that the golden egg is actually not golden. Its yoke turned out to be a slow-release poison, which the climate strikers clearly have learned a lot more about. Their generation was taught climate science, and because of that, they don’t view the problems of transitioning away from fossil fuels as something that can avoided while rich fossil fuel companies continue to externalize their costs on the rest of the world. What’s the point of a strong economy if it slowly kills the planet that all species need to live?

While every one of Mr. Haines’ claims can be contested on empirical grounds — natural gas is not resulting in dramatic emissions reductions, and the price of it will go up in PA because it will be exported thanks to frackers’ abuse of eminent domain to set up pipelines, etc.—what his comments reveal is simply that he has not familiarized himself with the science of climate change and its consequences. If a person denies the seriousness of the problem, then the strikers look unreasonable. But if you take the problem seriously, then it’s obvious why the crisis can’t wait for fossil fuel companies to clean up their mess, and why we need to start talking about real alternatives rather than appeal to 20th century economic ideas that favor endless growth at all costs. The strikers are choosing life over growth, in part because they have a lot more of it ahead of them than me and Mr. Haines. If he doesn’t get that, then he needs to pick up any serious scientific journal that publishes actual data on the science of climate change. Climate change is still an inconvenient truth.


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