Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lacking Common Sense #1

Just the other day I went to the TED home page (for those of you who don't know what TED is, it's basically this conference where they have speakers talk about their amazing ideas and thoughts). I clicked on Al Gore's new slide show on global warming. I sat through the whole 30 minutes. Basically, I thought to myself, "So, what's new?". The earth is warming, theoretically; now let's see how the other 6 billion or so people on the planet react to this. Scrolling through the comments, it's like a bad Youtube comments section, except with better grammar.

The comments were of two varieties: 1) Al Gore, you suck. Don't bring your propaganda in here. Global warming is a hoax! And now Al Gore is in bed with the environmental companies. The data is skewed....etc, etc, etc.
2)I can't believe people are still blind to see there is a huge climate crisis on our hands. Look around you people! I'm gonna buy solar cells, a hybrid, eat soy, and not fart for the rest of my life....etc, etc, etc.
After two of these comments you get to the people who take crap personally, and start arguing emotionally. Which of course never works.

What's the point?

First, the issue, while it is being politicized, has also entered the court of public opinion. Not only has it become a social fad (green cars, green companies, green this green that), but now everyone who has read an article about global warming, or has seen Al Gore's slide shows suddenly has some unbreakable belief to one extreme or the other. Everyone argues with emotion either way. Documentaries are aimed to do just that: persuade people to one POV or another. What we need is facts and action. What we don't need are unshakable black and white beliefs! The world is grey.

The issue isn't about Al Gore, George Bush, gas companies or whatever, though. The issue is: is the world getting warmer? is it getting warmer at an appreciable rate? is this unnatural? is it dangerous? should we do something about it?

Second, those questions have little to do with what your opinion about Al Gore or any other gas company is. The gas companies will keep doing what they're doing no matter what you think of them. They are entrenched. And Al Gore will keep proselytizing about GW, whether you think he exaggerates or not. Al Gore could talk shenanigans out of his mouth for all I know, but I think he has one thing right: change comes from the people when they believe that something is amiss and government must respond to this.

The point is if we don't do something about the climate now, we'll pay for it now and later. If WE DO do something now, then we'll pay a LITTLE now and reap more benefits later. I realize that stats can show anything you want them to, but Al Gore has a point. That being, we shouldn't stand around and assume someone else is doing something to reduce global warming.

Whether you're a democrat, republican or whatever. Whether you think the oil companies are at fault. Whether you think this issue should be politicized or made into a social fad. We need to address it now, so we aren't addressing the (perhaps, irreversible) problems it will cause 50 years down the road.

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