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The Trump administration is quick to deny the influence human's have on climate change (Image via Humans Are Free)
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The current administration is endangering future generations by masking the correlation of human mistakes and climate change.

With the current administration, society is brushing aside one of the most dangerous threats against the world: climate change. Ever since the industrial era, many scientists have concluded that the world has entered a time period called the Anthropocene. This means that a significant human impact on Earth’s geology and ecosystems is scientifically evident.

But, rather than putting forth efforts to combat environmental issues, societal figures are placing censorship on climate change effects. Today, those in power in both federal and state governments are restricting knowledge of anthropogenic conditions and, therefore, dooming future generations.

Across the nation, people in localized positions of power are using specific rhetoric that attempts to discredit any climate change evidence. For instance, in Idaho, lawmakers are changing the standard science curriculum; they are taking out the proof that human activity is the main source of environmental issues.

This hinders the ability of future generations to accurately learn about Earth’s environmental condition. In fact, this suppression reinforces a state of denial where people no longer have to take responsibility for the harm they’re causing.

Idaho’s ability to change something so crucial creates an example of a state government’s power to adversely influence the minds of young citizens. That said, imagine the amount of power the federal government has when it comes to impacting people with the art of censorship.

Today, the United States is experiencing a major deceleration in terms of climate change. In fact, due to the current political power, there has been a movement to control the language surrounding the environmental phenomenon.

For example, the current administration tells federal employees to refer to climate change as “weather extremes” and refer to reducing greenhouse gases as “building a soil organic matter and increasing nutrient use efficiency.”

Even on federal websites, policymakers are changing the language. The Environmental Data & Governance Initiative, an organization dedicated to promoting open and accessible government data, has logged the shift in verbiage being used and noted full websites being taken down during Trump’s administration.

Under these circumstances, it’s harder for both people and scientists to find data on climate change. These restrictive actions also make it easier to mislead the public and cover the truth of environmental issues.  

Consequently, this anti-science rhetoric is rolling back the progress the United States made under the Obama administration by diminishing the severity of a problem through passive language. The act of “covering” language creates a taboo atmosphere around the words that are being blacklisted.

Unfortunately, the current political scene has no quarrels with censoring climate change jargon. As a result, it’s pushing America back into a “profit at haste; repent at leisure” mindset, especially with the decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement and rolling back the Clean Power Plan.

While the goal of this mindset is to gain more profit for America, it solidifies a future where America won’t exist. If lawmakers continue to ignore signs, such as wide-scale drought across the country and the continuing rise in average global heat temperature, then there will come a point where it’s too late to reverse them.

That said, there are some people who believe the Earth is already at a point where nothing can be done. The only thing left is to try and slow down the effects through different initiatives, such as decreasing the use of fossil fuels and increasing the use of renewable energy.

Scientists believe reducing the use fossil fuels and implementing more renewable energy is the only solution to slow down climate change (Image via David Suzuki Foundation)

How can activists and others depict the importance of an issue if people can’t even utter its name? By not addressing climate change for what it is and concealing the means of talking about it in earnest, the issue doesn’t appear as prominent or as personal as it should.

In addition, the action of censoring creates an atmosphere where people ignore the issue and continuously make it worse, both through a lack of knowledge and through a refusal to accept the problem

Even with the risk of rising sea levels and a shortage of freshwater, those in power still don’t perceive climate change effects as something to worry about. As a matter of fact, climate change has been removed from the list of threats to national security. What policymakers once considered seriously harmful is now reduced to “weather extremes.”

By reinforcing the behavior of masking climate change and neglecting its significance, the current administration is creating a frustrating cycle that hurts the public.

The cycle entails those in power choosing to hide the correlation between climate change effects and human activity, teaching future generations to hide it and turning the importance of it into an overlooked and distant topic.

In this cyclical nature, the public loses because they become accustomed to the censorship and don’t realize their own contributions to climate change.  

Although there are those who are trying to promote the impact of climate change, the United States, unfortunately, has a history of putting those who ignore environmental issues in positions of power.

Even in a time period where there has been a significant increase in factual evidence that humans are the main cause of climate change effects, there is a heavier resistance to address it.

People are still tiptoeing around the fact that humans are the main cause for environmental degradation; people don’t want to face the responsibility that will make them change their lavish and harmful lifestyles.

A study that Yale conducts every year on the perception of climate change shows that many people in the United States are concerned about climate change but don’t think humans are to blame. Additionally, even fewer people believe they will be personally affected by it.

In reality, this “out of sight, out of mind” mentality teaches people to avoid making sacrifices and disassociates them from recognizing blame. While economically poor countries are suffering, the United States has decided not to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

People living in first world countries are stable when there are places, such as Cape Town, South Africa, that are experiencing effects firsthand and becoming the first places to officially run out of fresh water.  

Although people are experiencing effects firsthand, the United States, the number one carbon polluter, is dodging the responsibility of facing climate change. Ultimately, those allowing and contributing to the silencing of the shifting anthropogenic conditions are silencing future generations, as well.

If governments continue to repress the information that confirms human involvement in climate change effects, people are never going to learn, and future generations will be forced to pay the dangerous price.

Writer Profile

Erin Marie Winans

James Madison University
English / Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication

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