Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
It’s a wonderful world, and technology makes it even more marvelous. On the evening of March 8th I called for volunteers to help audit the references cited in all 44 chapters of the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
By last night, roughly 48 hours later, 19 people whose acquaintance I’d not made before had been in touch. By this morning, our ranks had grown further. These people live in different parts of North America but also in Australia, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK.
Many hold math, science, or engineering degrees. One is a medical doctor, another is a lawyer. Two have commerce degrees. Some are retired. Five of us are girls.
We are, therefore, an impressive random sample of citizens of the world who think the climate report requires a second look. There is no evidence to suggest we are anti-science – quite the opposite. There’s no evidence to suggest, as someone unkindly implied on Twitter, that we’re morons. Again, quite the opposite.
Together we’ve already audited several chapters while collectively producing a stream of ideas, tips, and suggestions regarding possible future avenues of research. To have accomplished so much in so little time is amazing. It is also a testament to the power of ordinary people – once we’re equipped with potent tools such as personal computers and e-mail.
Without the World Wide Web, a project like this would have been difficult, expensive, and horrendously time-consuming. Instead, conducting a citizen audit of this kind is now relatively painless logistically speaking, allowing us to focus our energy on the important tasks.
Long live the Internet. And long live independent thinkers who refuse to accept the word of authority figures. We are experienced, intelligent, worldly adults who expect to be treated as such. Now we’re examining the climate report for ourselves.