January 20th, 2020

Climate change activists display independent thought, impatience with government inaction

By Letter to the Editor on October 9, 2019.

Re: “Child abuse in the name of climate change,” Sept. 28

Paul McLennan’s most recent angry blast against all the people he loves to hate has me wondering. Has McLennan taken time to actually talk with the students he casts as victims of (mental) abuse regarding climate change?

No doubt McLennan has encountered many young people as a driving instructor and policeman. However, I wonder if he has taken these opportunities to explore their perspectives and concerns? Has he observed widespread signs of “false fear” or “government mastery and control” (his words)?

I see just the opposite. At City Hall Plaza last Friday, I joined, for a short time, a group of enthusiastic, polite, and articulate young people. They, and a number of older supporters, are greatly concerned about the direction of the world they live in.

Rather than fear, I observed courage to oppose the status quo.

Rather than “compliance with those in charge,” as McLennan suggests, I saw independent thought and impatience with government inaction.

McLennan attributes student climate activism to cunning manipulation of naive young people. This unsupported conclusion belittles and minimizes the intelligence of thoughtful and committed people, young and old.

Did McLennan (or others of his persuasion) bother to make an appearance at the Sept. 28 public gathering? They could have come out to check their conclusions by first-hand investigation. They could have questioned or challenged students and their supporters in person. But no one I spoke with reported having that sort of encounter.

Why not? If climate issues are a worthy topic for McLennan’s newspaper column, surely they are worth a little in-person research when the opportunity arises.

For that matter, where were our elected representatives — municipal, provincial, and federal — at Friday’s gathering? With a very few exceptions, they were conspicuous by their absence. Why would they choose not to interact with citizens who will vote and influence our lives in the near future?

Of course confronting today’s political, economic and climate problems is demanding. But ignoring gatherings of concerned citizens is not an appropriate political response. Writing fantastical misinterpretations of history in newspaper columns does not enlighten anyone.

Climate activists are challenging all of us to live life differently. We could start by taking them seriously, rather than inventing ways to deny, delay, or deflect their concerns.

David Gue

Medicine Hat

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