Yesterday, the U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee tweeted a link claiming that "global temperatures have plunged since the middle of the year."
This statement was positioned as evidence that climate change doesn't exist. As Marshall pointed out last night, "The middle of the year was June!" It is now December. Obviously, temperatures have fallen. Climate scientists don't typically comment on the change of the seasons.
The link, and the article from which it drew its argument, quote well-known climate deniers who have received money from the fossil fuel industry. They blame the world's record high temperatures on El Nino and La Nina cycles. They claim that the record temperatures are about to end.
In short, they undermine science, scientific consensus, and the idea that something should be done about a problem that has been solidly proven to be caused by human activity, and threatens life on the planet. The effects of climate change are already having demonstrated, devastating effects on ecosystems and people. We see it in the news (more natural disasters), and we mention it in our small talk ("Isn't this weather we're having weird?"). It's affecting us, and it is affecting the most vulnerable among us disproportionately.
But instead of listening to the overwhelming scientific consensus, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee is tweeting out anti-science propaganda. The previous day, the Twitter account insulted people who might be upset or depressed about the future of our planet.
This is the reason why we make Tumble.
Science shouldn't be political. It's a way of learning about our world, approaching and solving problems. It's a process that builds on itself. It starts with curiosity, follows with uncertainty, and gets at "knowing." It is not perfect, but it is a powerful tool. It is done by people who have the curiosity and drive to overcome difficult obstacles to contribute to knowledge.
Unfortunately, this is not how most people understand science. Most of us don't have the tools we need to separate good science from bad, a scientific argument from an unscientific one. When the word "uncertainty" is mentioned, we assume that means the "science is not settled." We are swayed by misleading headlines. We allow science to become partisan. We elect and re-elect decision makers who reject science as they do a belief or ideology.
We make Tumble because we hope that future generations live in a world where science is restored to its rightful place. Where STEM education isn't just about careers and the economy, but also about making informed decisions about the world we live in. Where people have the critical thinking skills to understand what is science and what is not science. Where science is inspiring to everybody, because everybody is curious about what will be discovered.
We are trying to build that world by telling kids stories about the process of science. The stars of our stories are regular people, equipped with scientific thinking. Their curiosity and questions are very similar to our own. They don't know the answer when they set out. They might not have found the answers yet. But they explain that this is how science works. That it's a journey, and that science works to make sure that it is as certain as it is possible to be in the uncertain nature of our universe.
And when that 98 percent of climate scientists say that climate change is happening, that it's human-caused, and that we should do something about it if we care about the future of our planet? We should act.
If your House representative is on the list of committee members below, please call them and tell them to respect science. (Our representative, Lamar Smith, is the chairperson of this committee and he will be hearing from us.)