Denial is ugly.
This is a second piece I wrote for friends at The Climate Collective, a platform where people can share their thoughts and personal experiences of climate change.
'I met this girl once on a volunteer project. She was the whole package, and then some. Long flowing black hair, tanned skin sprinkled with beauty spots, and a voice as smooth as melted chocolate, laced with a thick Chilean accent that made my head spin.'
[Image: Having a trailmix lunch at the viewpoint at the top of the Maderas hike in Ometepe island, Nicaragua.
The Maderas volcano crater holds a lake; as Ometepe itself is an island in Lake Nicaragua, I guess you could call this... Lakeception.
GoPro Hero4 Black, timelapse mode, 2016.]
'She and I got talking over beers on a night off. She was a mountain leader on Patagonian trekking expeditions, mature, confident, smart, and well-spoken. She was good conversation, and I was really enjoying getting to know her. Big hazel eyes, rimmed with thick black lashes, started to pierce their way into my mind. In passing, I made some weak joke, mentioning Pacific islands disappearing under rising seas. Then she dropped the strongest one-liner on me that I have ever heard.
“Yeah, I don’t believe much in climate change.”
I winced. I’d never been turned off so fast in my life. She’d had such potential. Half in disbelief, I re-explained the basics, surprised that I had to convince someone so intelligent of what I had always considered clear facts. She had some moderate counter-argument to minimize the importance of each one – ice ages and natural temperature cycles, humans were accelerating but not causing the changes, it was out of our control… When she suggested it was a ploy to create jobs and make money for climate scientists, I couldn't carry on. “No.” I said, flat out. “Where do you think there’s good money and stable jobs for scientists, people with an understanding of chemistry, geography, geology?” “I don’t know.” “The oil and gas industry.” She raised her eyebrows, taking in my point. But the damage was already done – I couldn’t see her in the same way anymore. The discussion was hitting walls of polite disagreement at every turn. The conversation had gone flat, going on flatlining. Pretty soon we both fell silent and turned away to talk to the person on the opposite side. I’d never thought much before about how people’s opinions influenced the way I saw them, but it seems pretty obvious now. Being a climate change denier has to be a trait as un-sexy as having a family of cockroaches nesting in your underwear.'
[Image: Taking a hike break and watching the bison in Yellowstone National Park.
Hammock by Madera Outdoor - 2 trees planted for every purchase.]
Nikon D3200, 18-105mm, timer. Taken in 2017.