Seth Godin writes in his blog that perhaps the reason people aren’t up in arms about global warming is that the words ‘global’ and ‘warming’ are both kinds of ‘good’, so it doesn’t sound so threatening. I’ve always been kind of skeptical about the global warming thing, and then I read Michael Crichton’s audiobook State of Fear.
He presents much of the arguments both for and against global warming but definitely tilts towards the skeptical side. I kept waiting for a reversal/surprise, as I find most people these days just kind of go along for the ride. But Crichton sticks to his guns and basically slams global warming fear-mongers.
Here’s the thing – change happens. There has always been rotten weather. Earth’s climate is constantly changing, in ways that are far more dramatic than a little human-produced carbon dioxide could produce.
A wobble in orbit, an asteroid strike, solar flares… a butterfly flapping its wings in China? Read Bill Bryson’s audiobook A Short History of Nearly Everything. If you’re going to worry, go worried about something you have some control over.
I see you managed to maintain complete and utter neutrality. “Global warming fear-mongers”? Pfft.
Just because the earth has undergone climate change before doesn’t mean we should discount the human factor in the current shift… and as far as we know, this is the first time that there have been sentient beings around to notice and potentially do something to protect themselves.
It’s a choice of either changing our behavior or risk going the way of the dinosaurs… and do you really want to end up a couple of thousand years from now as fuel for whoever comes along next?
Just a few years ago people were going on about “global cooling”, and how we absolutely must do something about it *now* and anyone who denied it was being a fool…then, oops, ‘we meant global warming’.
If you look over the last century, there has always been some big disaster right around the corner that we must deal with immediately or face our doom…then it fades until we find the next thing to freak out over.
Amazingly enough, almost everything you can actually statistically track has gotten better over the last century or two. Pollution? We have less now than at most previous times. Crime? It’s down. IQ? That’s gone up across the board. Wars? There are fewer now, and fewer people dying of them. Trees? We have more than ever.
There are important things to deal with, and some things have gotten better because we have in fact dealt with them. We don’t have the mass starvation predicted in the 60s because food technology improved (though that evil genetic manipulation and through pesticides and such, both of which we’re doing our best to push back, which will cost a lot of lives).
The danger with attempts to grapple with global warming is that we can spend vast resources and maybe possibly impact it .00001%…or those resources could be spent on things where we can actually make a difference.
For example, a clean water supply for everyone on Earth would save huge numbers of lives. We can do that…or we can throw money down the drain for things we can’t really change.