Award-winning videographer debunks climate change denial

The idea that climate change is a myth is not based in scientific evidence, said Peter Sinclair at the “Is Everything You Know About Climate Change Wrong?” seminar April 19.

Take Back the Tap and the Student Environmental Alliance organizations combined their effort to invite Sinclair, an award-winning climate videographer, to campus to present his findings about climate change. About 200 students and community members gathered at room 1010 in the Biosciences Building to discuss the discrepancy in opinions.

"A lot of (Americans) think they know what's going on, but they really don't," said Audra Flores, CMU alumna and advisor for SEA.

The organizations wanted to host the event because of contrast between science and policy, Flores said. Many politicians and U.S. citizens deny that climate change exists, despite the 97 percent of researchers who maintain it’s a serious problem.

Peter Sinclair began his presentation by attempting to retaliate against the “fake news” supporting climate change denial. The Midland-native University of Michigan graduate used statistics as evidence against false claims.

He displayed a thermometer to the audience and explained it works because when heat is added to liquid, the fluid will expand. He then projected a picture of the earth and said, “this is a thermometer.”

To further elaborate, Sinclair played excerpts from his YouTube series “This is Not Cool,” which featured various climate scientists and laypersons.

One episode featured a former climate change denier, Richard Muller, a professor from University of California Berkley.

Muller stated in the film his beliefs changed after he compared the earth's heating curve to different data graphs that could explain the heating. The only graph that matched earth’s heating patterns was one showing increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere --- which experts attribute as the main cause of global warming.

Climate change affects Michigan too, Sinclair said while citing increased flooding in the Detroit metropolitan area.

However, Sinclair ended his presentation with optimism and said there is still hope for reducing the effects of global warming.

If the country committees to stop using unsustainable energy there would be multiple benefits, Sinclair explained. Climate change would decelerate, and clean energy would be cost-effective and provide jobs.

Isabella County Commissioner James Moreno attended the seminar, and said the county is making efforts to promote clean energy sources.

"The county is entering an agreement with the APEX clean energy company of Minnesota," he said, and confirmed that 100 wind turbines that will be installed in northern townships.

Livonia senior Bridget Byrne, president of SEA, asked Sinclair how students can reduce their own impact on the environment.

Sinclair said students should engage the community, and talk about the issues with their families and friends. They can also send messages and call their congress representatives, to vocalize their support of environmentally conscious legislation.

Students can also help with individual actions, Sinclair said, by planting gardens, recycling and composting.

"We all have to change together," Sinclair said.