A geological sciences professor, who announced this week he will leave his role at the University of Alabama at the end of the semester over the school's inability to "embrace the freedom of exchanging ideas," says those that are pushing a disastrous climate narrative are "robbing" young Americans of their "ambition and their hope."
Speaking Tuesday to Fox News Digital about his decision, Dr. Matthew Wielicki, an assistant professor in the school's geological sciences department, pushed back against the messaging of "vocal climate alarmists," who he concludes are doing more harm than good when it comes to America's youth.
"So if you go to one of these large conferences for earth scientists, routinely we'll be chatting over beers and things, and, you know, I'll ask folks like, 'you don't really believe that the planets gonna end in eight or 10 or 12 years or anything like that?' Of course not," Wielicki said. "I mean, I'll go to these talks by some of the most vocal climate alarmists out there and I notice that they're pushing a stroller with like a one or two-year-old in it. I'm like, wait a minute, do these people really believe that the planet is going to end in eight or 10 or 12 years? They clearly don't believe that."
"I talk to my students [and] there's a good chunk of them that really think that the planet is heading towards some sort of civilization collapse in eight, 10, 12 years," he added. "What a terrible way to motivate young people. Like why? Why am I going to be a good steward of my planet? Why am I going to be responsible and sacrifice now so I can have a brighter future later on if I think that my future is doomed anyway? We're robbing these young people of their ambition and their hope. And it's the adults doing it. It's the adults allowing this stuff."
Wielicki, who has served in his role at the University of Alabama since 2016 and said it was his "life dream" to educate others, said he wants more out of the scientific community when it comes to claims about the planet's end that are "absolutely absurd."
"The scientific community should be the first ones to say, 'whoa, whoa, whoa, some of these claims are absolutely absurd.' It doesn't mean we don't have a problem. It doesn't mean we won't face challenges, and we shouldn't be thinking about solutions, but we can't be putting out this," he said.
Wielicki, an immigrant from Poland who grew up in California, said he is concerned about the climate alarmist agenda's impact on young kids who were once excited about building families but are now hesitant to do so because of what they have been told and worry that their children "won't have a future."
"The anxiety level of young people, you know COVID obviously added to that, but when it comes to climate, it's through the roof," he said. "My students tell me they used to plan for a family and having children. They were so excited... They're not going to have children anymore because the kids won't have a future. Young people are honestly deciding not to raise families now because of climate. That is horrific to me."
Wielicki said he believes a lot of the current conversations about the climate are permitted in higher education institutions because "universities are essentially beholden to their funding agencies."
"These universities are really beholden to these funding agencies because, you know, you get a $1,000,000 grant, the university takes about 50, 55% overhead.... That keeps the lights on and keeps the buildings in shape and stuff like that. So when you start to speak up about this, the funding agencies are very clear that they have a single narrative. Whether it's climate, whether it's DEI, if you're not toeing the line on that narrative, you're not gonna get the funding. And it's as simple as that."
Wielicki, noting that his superiors at the University of Alabama have never directly told him "to not speak out" about his beliefs about the climate, said he believes he lost "certain opportunities" through his position at the school "because I was being punished, because I was vocal about certain things."
In a series of tweets published Monday, Wielicki said he decided to leave his role due to the university's "obsession" to push for equity in science and the "rise of illiberalism."
"Over the last decade or so, but especially the last few years, the obsession with universities and grant-funding institutions on immutable characteristics of faculty and students and the push for equity in science above all else has dramatically changed the profession of an academic professor," Wielicki wrote. "The rise of illiberalism in the name of DEI is the antithesis of the principles that universities were founded on. These are no longer places that embrace the freedom of exchanging ideas and will punish those that go against the narrative."
"Although I had worked from an early age to earn a Ph.D. and become a professor, like my father, I feel the profession is no longer worthy of my efforts," he tweeted. "Contributing to this is the earth science communities silence on the false ‘climate emergency’ narrative. Members of the community routinely discuss the mental health effects of climate catastrophism but dare not speak out lest they lose their positions and research funds."
Fox News Digital did not receive an immediate response from the University of Alabama. The University of Alabama is a public research university that serves over 38,000 students.