By editorial board • 

Local students deserve praise for their courage

OK, let’s set the debate over global warming aside for a moment.

Let’s say 99.9% of the world’s scientific community is wrong. Global warming is a hoax. It’s a vast conspiracy to frighten people into riding their bikes, using less plastic and planting more trees.

McMinnville High School students who expressed their feelings about global warming at Tuesday’s city council meeting still deserve the utmost respect.

Facing an array of microphones and TV cameras, these young people came to a public meeting to address one of the most contentious issues of our time. They showed their faces and gave their real names, rather than hiding behind online aliases. They even provided home addresses.

How many people in this day and age demonstrate that level of bravery and personal responsibility?

Question, if you must, their political and scientific conclusions. However, their courage is unassailable.

Journalists and public officials willingly stand in the center of controversy and dish it out. They should fully expect to take it in return.

However, standing up for the first time in the public square, and dodging rotten fruit from the crowd, can be intimidating. That takes guts.

Willingness to take such a public stand should be met with praise. And if praise is too much to ask, they at least deserve a certain amount of appreciation.

Young people across the political spectrum should be encouraged to get involved in the democratic process and speak their minds. Whether they are protesting global warming or legalized abortion, they deserve more than to be dismissed as brainwashed stooges who should go to their rooms and do their homework.

The students proposed nothing outlandish at the session. Their modest suggestions — such as applying green building standards to new city facilities and providing more electric car chargers in municipal parking lots — hardly represent the stuff of a socialist uprising.

Other than building codes requiring more bio-swales, retention ponds and green space, students suggested no new regulations that would directly affect private residents or businesses. Mostly, they simply urged city officials to encourage better behavior and set better examples.

Nothing they suggested was more dramatic than some of the steps city councilors have already taken, such as passing a ban on non-reusable plastic shopping bags in 2017 and raising garbage rates by 0.5% in 2018 to help pay for polystyrene recycling.

We would argue that students’ fears of global warming are more than justified by the overwhelming preponderance of scientific evidence. However, even if we’re wrong, and concerns about global warming have been overblown, there’s nothing wrong with being better stewards of the environment.

Whether or not local officials should commit to planting 200 new trees per year or buying more electric vehicles for the city can be debated. What’s important is that young people thrust themselves into the debate.

“I am terrified for my future,” student Sophia Hampton told councilors.

The future terrifies many. Having young people of any political persuasion muster the courage to not cower in silence is the best hope our planet has.


Don Dix

From the article -- 'They showed their faces and gave their real names, rather than hiding behind online aliases.'

Scolding are we? Well, some are 'comfortable in their own skin' and have no reason to hide behind anything, others not so much!


One question: Do the schools teach the alternative? I am sure they don't. There are two sides to this discussion, you know.

Don Dix

gophergrabber -- no alternative view. There is a distinct chance that were the whole picture provided, the 'fear for the future' would abate considerably.

News today -- Venice, Italy is experiencing 'historical flooding' (second highest in history), and, of course, it's due to climate change raising sea levels.

That fits the narrative, but if the seas are so high now, how did the highest ever flood occur? -- in 1966 -- 53 years ago -- back when CO2 levels weren't labeled a villain?

A city built a few feet above sea level flooding is only big news for those looking exclusively for something to blame on climate change. And it's 'likely' (a new, improved scientific term) Venice flooding will be a topic of discussion at school (with little attention towards 1966, or how it happened).

Fact is, Venice is sinking due to shifting of tectonic plates under the city (subsidence) -- but, but, climate change!

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