A Semester in Summary – Matt McDaniel

Looking back at this semester, I’d say that it was full of interesting challenges.  The blog posts, in particular, have been the part that surprised me the most, with my ability to keep up with them.  I knew that the word count was a very small obstacle to overcome compared to the idea of coming up with a new topic of discussion every week and remaining topical and interesting.  The health portion of the semester was the part that I found least interesting because it’s simply outside of the wheelhouse of my concern, but even in that I found some interesting topics to write about, with being able to address anti-vaxxers, the need for socialized universal health care, and the health impacts of income inequality.  I was pleased for the opportunity to let my inner social justice bard (because warriors are so common) shine.

In the science portion, I realized that I fall victim to many of the things that have led to the gap between the everyman and scientists.  I tend to expect others to understand things as well as me and to process knowledge and events in the same way.  This is a fool’s game, clearly.  Not everyone is a scientist and certainly most people do not think remotely like one.  This bleeds through to my biggest challenges in communicating environmental issues too.  I always find myself struggling to understand how people can be so stupid.  When someone tells me that don’t believe in man-made climate change, I tend to turn a look of complete disbelief on them and just sort of stare for a second.  My immediate online response tends to be, “are you fucking kidding?”  It’s something that I’m still working on, but at the very least the course has given me a weapon in that argument as well.  Rather than simply spouting the facts that show climate change is obvious, I now know that the best tool for the job is to point out that scientists across the globe agree on it.  97% consensus is huge, I cannot imagine any other issue in any other field where you would get a 97% consensus, not even whether pizza tastes good.

Hopefully, this class has better armed me and my classmates to discuss these things.  I don’t know for sure, but it seems like people who care learning to communicate what they care about is the last best hope we have.


One thought on “A Semester in Summary – Matt McDaniel

  1. Some great insights and thoughts about the whole class. From you and a few others, I leaned that my middle of the road approach is not perhaps so middle of the road.

    And of course thanks to Microsoft for offering the word count feature in there product. Would have been to write enough, but not too much without it.

    Mike Cappel


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