August 7 2007, 9:27 PM
For a number of reasons that I don't care to discuss here, global warming has become a hot issue (pun intended) over the last year or so. As there has been more attention paid to global warming, there has also been more effort by groups - such as the oil and gas industry - to swat the whole idea away as an overblown issue. Sure, most of the world's leading scientists agree that global warming a) does exist, and b) is our fault, but everybody has their own agenda, and not everybody wants everybody else to believe that we are warming the old earf. I was briefly listening to the Drudge Report radio show the other day on KOA (don't give me that - there was nothing else on the air) and I heard Matt Drudge question the timing of this week's Newsweek cover that takes global warming deniers to task. Drudge hinted that Newsweek was biased because they put the issue out in the hottest month of the year, as opposed to doing it in January. Frankly, it would make more sense by that logic if Newsweek did hold the issue for January, when it was 60 degrees outside instead of snowing. But...whatever. Today I got my Newsweek issue in the mail, though I haven't read it yet, and I also noticed an interesting posting on a local blog called Mount Virtus. In the post, Mr. Virtus links to an article that says we actually do more damage to the environment by walking than by driving.
Walking does more than driving to cause global warming, a leading environmentalist has calculated. Food production is now so energy-intensive that more carbon is emitted providing a person with enough calories to walk to the shops than a car would emit over the same distance. The climate could benefit if people avoided exercise, ate less and became couch potatoes. Provided, of course, they remembered to switch off the TV rather than leaving it on standby.This is interesting, but I don't think it goes far enough. If you follow this string of logic, it would make sense to advocate for mass suicide. If we cause less damage to the environment the less active we are, wouldn't it follow that the best thing we could do for the environment would be to just go ahead and kill ourselves? Provided, of course, that we could do it in a way that didn't harm the environment, because you wouldn't want to exert yourself too much when you do the deed. Later in his post, Mr. Virtus lists several more "facts" about the overreaction to global warming. "If you have a devout Green religionist in your life," he writes. "You may not want to share some of the other observations." I don't consider myself a "green religionist," whatever that means, and global warming really isn't one of the 3-5 most important issues in my personal world. That doesn't mean, however, that I don't think it is an important issue. I also don't understand why people who aren't directly connected to industries like oil and gas (which benefit from fewer environmental restrictions), are so quick to try to disprove global warming. I believe that the science is pretty clear that the world is warming and it's our fault, but even if I didn't believe all of these ideas, I certainly wouldn't feel compelled to try to knock them down. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that global warming really isn't as big a problem as reputable scientists would have us believe. So what? Is it really a bad idea to start taking better care of our planet? Why would you be opposed to that unless you have a direct financial incentive to allow oil, gas and logging companies to do whatever the hell they want. Why would you want global warming to turn out to be a myth? I don't know all of the details about how we may be causing global warming, but I know that it's probably a good idea to look after our environment. While I don't understand those who would have you believe that global warming is a myth, I'm also not terribly worried that they are going to be effective in their arguments. Clearly more and more people believe that global warming is a real problem, and the only idiots who believe that walking is worse for the environment than driving are already opposed to the whole idea of saving the planet. You can put anything you want in your own kool-aid, but that doesn't mean that anybody is going to drink it.