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How about we erect a ‘National Climate Denier Memorial’

Jonathan Jarvis, Executive Director of the Berkeley Institute for Parks, People and Biodiversity | December 11, 2019

In 1976, I worked as a ranger on the National Mall in Washington, DC, interpreting monuments to past Presidents Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson, as well as memorials to the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the nation.  I spent that winter with Thomas Jefferson, who stands tall in a marble rotunda, surrounded by his insightful commentary on our young nation.  On the SE Portico, from a letter he wrote in 1816, he proclaims: …, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times.”

In my succeeding 40 years with the National Park Service, I was responsible for the maintenance, protection and interpretation of thousands of monuments, from the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, to the Statue of Liberty, to the monuments that dot the battlefields of the Civil War. I worked for a decade to bring to reality the memorial to the brave men and women of Flight 93, who fought back on 9/11 and are remembered in lonely Pennsylvania field. These metal and stone edifices do not let us forget the past and encourage our own resolve in times of crisis.

Global warming poster.In light of the challenges our planet now face from anthropogenic warming, with rising seas and melting glaciers, I suggest we need a new memorial, one that reminds us of those who worked hard to undermine efforts to address the climate crisis, to attack the science (and the scientists) and to sow seeds of doubt that intentionally prevent true action. For those who have not heeded the advice of Jefferson, we should erect A National Climate Denier Memorial.

I envision this memorial as a tall, limestone obelisk, standing on the edge of the ocean, with its base aligned perfectly with sea level in 2019.  A few inches above the water are inscribed the names of corporations, their top executives and boards who used their power, influence and lobbying to undermine any efforts to switch our energy sector to renewables.

Next come the elected politicians, some bought and paid for, others just willfully ignorant who used their political power to defund government investments in sustainability, denigrate concerned scientists before hostile hearings and abandon world cooperation on climate mitigation.

Above them are names of political appointees hired from the fossil fuel industry and lobbying firms to reverse agency efforts to research and mitigate climate change impacts.

Above that line come the publishers, parent companies and talking heads of the media who gave platforms to climate deniers, presenting their political opinions on equal footing with facts from renowned scientists.

People who visit the National Climate Denier Memorial will be reminded of those who were at the heart of inaction on an existential crisis and the resultant human suffering. As the dire predictions of rising seas become reality, these engraved names will become inundated, battered by storms, submerged and encrusted with salt, until the obelisk is undermined, topples and dissolves in a warm, acidic ocean. And in its wake, there will be many who resolve to never again let those with only a short-term interest determine the long-term future of our planet.

Comment to “How about we erect a ‘National Climate Denier Memorial’

  1. The former united states president President Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama actually dont care about of its getting worse or not or even if its about rising the sea levels!

  2. The truth shall set you free

    Man caused CO2 climate-change is a hoax.

    1. CO2 was higher in the past. “Dinosaur Era Had 5 Times Today’s CO2. Dinosaurs that roamed the Earth 250 million years ago knew a world with five times more carbon dioxide than is present on Earth today, researchers say, and new techniques for estimating the amount of carbon dioxide on prehistoric Earth may help scientists predict how Earth’s climate may change in the future.”

    2. Long before the Industrial Revolution, the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was a time of warm climate from about 900–1300 AD, when global temperatures were somewhat warmer than at present. Temperatures in the GISP2 ice core were about 2°F (1°C) warmer than modern temperatures.

    3. Long before the Industrial Revolution, a significant heat wave occurred in Europe in July 1757. The heat wave may have been the second hottest summer in Europe in the past 500 years.

    4. Deep in the Depression the 1936 North American heat wave was one of the most severe heat waves in the modern history of North America.

    • Caterina, if you are going to site article to bolster your argument that climate change is a hoax, it is best practice to read the entire article. Here’s a quote from your first link:
      “We are now producing more CO2 than all volcanoes on Earth,” van der Meer added. “We will affect climate in ways that are unprecedented and unnatural. The question is how much climate will change. We can now answer this for the past and apply [it] to the future by extrapolation.”
      Thank you for sharing.

  3. Impressive. Most impressive. Obi-wan has taught you well, young administer. You have controlled your fear. Now, release your anger.

    I’ve been recalling this advice from Darth Vader to young Luke a lot recently, as we cast about in search of ways to respond, and contain our responses, to the corporate and political forces Jarvis suggests we memorialize. Hate, to an extent, is liberating. It gets us off our chairs and counters things that are holding us down, like cynicism and fear.

    But it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. We know this. I like to add that it is best to do both.

    How can we line up short-term interests with long-term interests? So long as they are out of alignment, prospects will continue to be grim.

  4. Will changes to the climate bring “catastrophe”?

    Dr. Patrick Moore wrote:
    “My skepticism begins with the believers’ certainty they can predict the global climate with a computer model. The entire basis for the doomsday climate change scenario is the hypothesis increased atmospheric carbon dioxide due to fossil fuel emissions will heat the Earth to unlivable temperatures.

    In fact, the Earth has been warming very gradually for 300 years, since the Little Ice Age ended, long before heavy use of fossil fuels. Prior to the Little Ice Age, during the Medieval Warm Period, Vikings colonized Greenland and Newfoundland, when it was warmer there than today. And during Roman times, it was warmer, long before fossil fuels revolutionized civilization. The idea it would be catastrophic if carbon dioxide were to increase and average global temperature were to rise a few degrees is preposterous.

    Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) announced for the umpteenth time we are doomed unless we reduce carbon-dioxide emissions to zero. Effectively this means either reducing the population to zero, or going back 10,000 years before humans began clearing forests for agriculture.”

  5. Apparently former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama are not concerned about rising sea levels!

    Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama have purchased a nearly 7,000-square-foot home on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts for $11.75 million, according to a report.

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