Brian Stelter’s peice, “No Place for Heated Opinions” on nytimes.com got me to watch another episode of Frozen Planet on Discovery this weekend, and I’m glad I did. The piece gathers opinions from several scientists who say that the show takes a pass on the real issue of climate change, that humans are causing it. I think that’s what’s great about it.
“On Thin Ice” presents warming as a fact, and illustrates it with melting glaciers and struggling animals. It does not discuss the reasons why warming is happening. I think this makes it better TV, and I also think it makes it a better bit of education. You see, what they’re opting out of is an argument they can’t win. No conceivable presentation of the opinions of climate change skeptics would make them happy, in the context of a show about the science. And those folks aren’t listening anyway. The rest of us, me included, would actually like to learn something about the effects of climate change without having a pointless (and, frankly, boring) argument appended to it. I wouldn’t have watched an hour of it if they had spent an hour making arguments I already believe; but I did watch Richard Attenborough, and some extremely cute penguins, seals, and polar bears.
Discovery decided not to feed the trolls. I approve.