The Y2K Scare, the Media & Climate Change
In the late 1990s, the media was full of stories about how the Y2K computer bug was going to wreak havoc when the year 2000 arrived. In 1997 Newsweek magazine ran a headline titled The Day the World Shuts Down. In 1998 it published an articlethat included these lines:
Mark Andrews, a San Diego doctor, feels so strongly about the impending catastrophe that he has quit his medical practice, moved his family to a farm in a Southwestern state and begun barnstorming the country giving lectures about Y2K preparedness. “I realized I could save more lives getting people to make contingency plans,” he says.
For every Dr. Andrews from that period, it seems to me there are now 20 medical professionals who solemnly insist it’s their business to worry about climate change. According to a recent paper published in American Psychologist (full text reproduced here):
Psychologists have an ethical obligation to take immediate steps to minimize the psychological harm associated with climate change, to help to reduce global disparities in climate impacts, and to continually improve their climate-related interventions…
Well here’s an alternative point-of-view: Just because a person has medical training doesn’t mean he or she has the foggiest idea whether climate change will or will not be a serious problem in the years ahead. (No Consensus)