The Eric Factor: It’s okay to talk about politics and climate change

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I’ve seen more and more people say “Why don’t people just keep their political beliefs to themselves.”

That got me thinking, “Am I who these people are talking about? I’ve recently posted a few political posts when it comes to climate change. Was I wrong? Should I have kept my feelings to myself?”

The argument could be made that it’s not my place to come to a conclusion. That I have to be a part of an “unbiased media.” That my conclusion could be seen as a representative conclusion of my TV station or the broadcast company that owns this TV station.

But then I started thinking about the fact that I study weather and climate every day. If I’ve studied it every day for 20 years (aside from a few vacations) and I’m not the person who can comment on this, who is? So long as my conclusions are based on and presented with facts, I should be able to come up with them.

In the movie "Office Space," all "Tom ever wanted was a Jump-to-Conclusions Mat."

In the movie “Office Space,” all “Tom” ever wanted was a Jump-to-Conclusions Mat.”

If you don’t like the conclusion I’ve come to after I’ve presented facts, it’s still okay to disagree. I don’t agree with every post I see that references climate change or politics. But I think the discussions are good, so long as people remain open to change.

But in order to get there, we need the dialogue. It’s good to talk about things, even those subjects that make us uncomfortable. I would even go so far as to say we need more of it these days! And second only to personal face-to-face conversation, Facebook is the next most important vehicle for starting dialogue in 2017.

I think what gets people really discouraged is when someone asserts their opinion as the only way forward…that there can’t be any other view than their own. And we have to be careful jumping to conclusions so fast.

Differing opinions are healthy. In college, I studied weather, not climate. I didn’t really start delving into the science of climate change until I was in my 20s and 30s. I had my preconceived notions, especially when Al Gore became the spokesperson for climate change! Boy, did I push back. But that didn’t stop me from wanting to understand what was going on. And my views changed as I learned more facts about what is going on. I asked lots of questions and have even been able to question people who’ve won Nobel Prizes in Climate Science.

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“My views changed as I learned more facts.”

But why do I still get hot under the collar when someone pushes a differing view? It’s because I’m human and I’m passionate. And that’s okay because I am part of the process. I just have to remind myself that there’s more to be learned…and that is the case for┬áboth sides.

It’s great that we have discourse going on in our country these days. I say, “Don’t shy away from that.” But please remain open to others’ points of view. We have an entire nation involved in the political process now. Even if you don’t support our current president, you have to admit that the more people are becoming part of the conversation, the more educated we will all be.

And that will be good for all of us.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

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