I am a scientist, albeit one who has retired from practicing my discipline. Way back in the dark ages (1975), I published a paper reviewing the research on human-induced global warming. I concluded then that, although such warming might well be part of humanity’s future, there was at present not enough evidence to be conclusive about this.

That was then. This is now.

As of now, we know with a degree of probability approaching certainty that catastrophic human-induced global warming is going to happen. It would be insanity to deny it, yet people do. Let’s call it global heating, because those critters still living on the planet when such an effect reaches the fully blown stage (hopefully not me) are going to get the heat treatment big time.

When science delivers good news (the internal combustion engine, a treatment for HIV/AIDS, the iPhone, keyhole surgery, pills for erectile dysfunction, etc etc) we are so very grateful. As we take advantage of their gifts to us, we are apt to say what wonderful people scientists are. But when science delivers bad news, the same scientists become conspirators and liars working against the interests of ordinary folk. What motivates people to cherry pick liked this?

I could put before you the incontrovertible evidence for human-induced global heating. Plenty of people in the know have done just that. But this approach doesn’t seem to work. The deniers keep on denying.

In his book The Workshop and the World, published only this year (2019), Robert P Crease, philosopher and scientist at Stony Brook University, NY, USA, makes the point that a different approach is needed. He thinks we should be hearing stories not evidence. Stories like Jaws.

Remember Jaws?

To recap: it is summertime on the beach. People want to swim. There are strong rumours abroad of an enormous killer shark. People want to deny this because it spoils their fun. Civic authorities want to deny it because it threatens business.

We get the mandatory build-up of tension. This is a film after all, with box office potential.

Then the shark comes!

Global heating is that shark. It is coming for our children and/or our grandchildren. By the time it arrives, it will be too late for them to act. But it is not too late for us. We owe it to them to act now on their behalf.

Save them from Jaws.