On the NPR website, there is a great story about Patrick Engleman, a thoughtful, conscientious chemistry teacher at a high school in suburban Philadelphia. One day, Engleman introduced his students to dihydrogen monoxide, a ubiquitous substance found in 80 percent of fatal car crashes and in every single cancer cell. Under the right conditions, dihydrogen monoxide can burn the skin from your body or choke the air out of your lungs. Engleman’s students were horrified to learn about the compound and agreed that it should be banned.
Dihydrogen monoxide is water. Not one of Engleman’s students—all honor students trained as young critical thinkers—even looked it up. Instead, they rushed to judgment and formed opinions based on one person’s intentionally provocative claims. Such is the power of misinformation.
Engleman’s point wasn’t about chemistry. His point was about the danger of “fake news.” If you’re like me, you’re probably tired of hearing this politically charged term, but it’s an important topic to consider. In this day and age, when we’re bombarded with information, fake news is easy to spread. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the truth—traceable, verifiable fact—is easy to discredit and label as fake, simply because someone doesn’t like what the truth reveals.
The antidote to fake news is authenticity. I’ve written a lot about authenticity, and how it goes hand-in-hand with our Co-op’s commitment to transparency. Across our Co-op, I meet people who stand for candor, openness, and effecting positive change in the communities we serve. As a result, my message to you is this: don’t let all the talk of fake news get you down. Remember that what you do is genuine and real, and it’s making a difference. This is an especially important time to be connected with people in honest and open dialogue, and you are. Cooperation is as real as it gets.
Want to talk more about this? Reach out to me anytime. My door is always open to you.