Yes, we have been experiencing extreme weather. And, yes, extreme weather is exacerbated by climate change. We also know that as the oceans warm, whole species of fish are moving towards the poles in search of cooler water. But according to an @EPA tweet, there is no scientific connection between climate change and sharknados.
All this discussion emerged after the hashtag #Sharknado exploded onto Twitter last week. If you are confused, don't worry. I was, too, until I discovered Sharknado was a SyFy Network movie about extreme weather causing tornadoes along beach towns with new infestations of sharks that have migrated to the cooler waters. Seems the tornadoes were sucking sharks out of the water and hurling them at people on shore.
Imagine, sharks raining down on people, the wind hurling them through the roofs of cars. No wonder the #Sharknado hashtag went crazy. And no wonder SyFi announced this week that Sharknado 2 will be released in 2014.
(WARNING: What you are about to read may offend your sensibilities.) It has often been said that art is far more powerful than politics and activism when it comes to changing cultural norms. Now perhaps it is a stretch to call Sharknado art, but it is reasonably pop art. And it certainly has expanded the number of participants in the national climate change conversation. Hopefully for the better.
Meanwhile, as you might expect, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) urged people to be more tolerant of people with opposing climate views. What I hear when Wicker says that is we should be more tolerant of people who reject science for superstition and politics. I'm not biting on that request.
In the end, a silly SyFy movie called Sharknado has done more to elevate the national conversation about climate change than Senator Roger Wicker. Is that good or bad? I'm still not sure.
Social Advocacy & Politics is a weekly, exclusive column for Social Media Today by Alan Rosenblatt that explores the intersection of politics and social media. Look for the next installment next Tuesday morning.