In America’s Heartland, Discussing Climate Change Without Saying ‘Climate Change’ By: Hiroko Tabuchi

Summary of the Article: The article is an interview and analysis of a farmer in Northern Kansas (i.e. a very conservative part of the United States) who is directly affected by climate change. The people in this part of the country and Mr. Palen have a complex relationship with climate changes, as it takes a toll on their religious and political views. A community college teacher from Kansas talks about how the scientific facts contradict the students religious beliefs, and article talks about how the teacher must be careful in his methods. The overall theme of this article is how climate change discourse is dominated by some liberals and alienated by some conservatives. It also talks about how the trump campaign glazes over the issues of climate change by recognizing social and economic issues as more important.

“If politicians want to exhaust themselves debating the climate, that’s their choice,” Mr. Palen said, walking through fields of freshly planted winter wheat. “I have a farm to run.”
Defender of Soil
"Carl Priesendorf, a science teacher at Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, Mo., has learned strategies to talk about climate change without completely alienating climate skeptics. He teaches geology and meteorology. Those subjects would usually be innocuous, but not here."
“I’d show the CO2 data — how we’d had the hottest year on record,” Mr. Priesendorf said. “But I get students who basically say what I’m teaching is nonsense. My car’s been keyed. I get notes from students saying they’re praying for my soul.” One such note that he shared reads, “Know that God’s love surpasses knowledge.” Carl Priesendorf

Analysis of Article: It's not often that conservative views such as their stance on climate change directly affects it's party members as it does with Mr. Palen, a farmer. Their is a lot of fragility in talking about the scientific facts behind environmental causes in Northern Kansas because of strong religious views. Teachers have to be extremely cautious about what they say, and people like Mr. Palen who adopt environmentally conscious farming don't fully accept the facts behind climate change. It's an interesting, sheltered, and arguably dated way to live, but for people like Mr. Palen, he is able to be environmentally conscious in a way that doesn't tamper with his moral beliefs.

Annie Kuether, a Democratic state representative in Kansas, fights for increasing support from farmers.

My "Big Takeaway": I chose this article because I'm perplexed by how conservatives tackle obvious environmental issues. Currently, the Trump administration avoids the topic by placing social and economic issues as a much more important issue to potentially solve, which is a very toxic way to treat the issue. The perspective of this article allows me to better understand the fragile relationship between religious/political views and environmental issues.

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