Scientists acknowledge that changes are occurring at an accelerated pace and every action, or inaction, impacts our fragile future. The successful fight against the uphill battle of climate change requires a shift of attitudes in our culture, which is likely the greatest challenge.
The importance of delivering factual information, without hidden opinions, has been at the core of a recent argument between Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla Motors, and John Broder, a staff writer for the New York Times, over Broder’s review of the Tesla Model S and Tesla’s new web of “SuperChargers”. Broder’s account of his test drive-road trip stood out because of its blunt dissatisfaction with both the car and the company. Musk was shocked by this review as the car had previously received praise and proceeded to examine the driving logs of the car. Broder’s account of the test drive was found to be laced with exaggerations and lies intended to bash the progressive technology he was testing. When these facts and raw data were reported, it became clear that Broder pushed the boundaries of truth to aid his opinion.
Developing alternative ways to power our transportation system is critical to successfully addressing carbon emission, one important element of climate change. This fundamental shift, which for many is uncomfortable, requires public interest, support, and action. Electric vehicles, which effectively lower an individual’s carbon footprint, have been shown to provide a successful alternative to gasoline-powered automobiles, buses, and trains. EVs are excellent options for many people but continued development of this technology is necessary for wide scale application. Acceptance of this technology is directly influenced by media reports.
Inaccurate or disingenuous information contained in articles like Broder’s do nothing but create confusion and skepticism, which usually leads to inaction. The recent standoff between Elon Musk and John Border serves as an excellent example of how a lack of transparency and journalistic integrity can directly hinder progress. An individual’s ability to form a thoughtful opinion upon which to take action is limited if the data is presented is in an incomplete or skewed form. Articles such as Broder’s should either be more deeply investigated prior to publishing or be left to the Opinion pages.
-Peter Neal, COO Willie Neal Environmental Awareness Fund
Peter spent the past year in East Burke, VT as a junior at Burke Mt. Academy. He will return to Jackson Hole for his Senior year at the Jackson Hole Community School. He is the Chief Operating Officer at the Willie Neal Environmental Awareness Fund while not XC-Ski racing.