Wednesday, January 31, 2007

(I Don't Believe In) Global Warming

All right, so it's a blatantly inflammatory title. And not really true. The earth's temperature has fluctuated over the course of its history, and the fact that we're not currently living in an ice age is evidence of global warming. (I believe!) But what people really mean when they say "global warming" or "climate change" is that global warming is our fault, in much the same way that "save the planet" really means "preserve the environment in such a way that sustains human life." It's undeniably a less catchy slogan, but I for one am confident that the planet itself will be around and just fine long after we've been ground down to dust - or melted down to little puddles of sweat.

But does human activity effect the climate? Hey, I don't know, and I bet you don't either. I haven't seen "Inconvenient Truth," admittedly, but so far haven't been confronted with proof that overcomes my main reservation: that our planet's such an insanely complex system that trying to ascribe cause and effect in it, given our current level of understanding, seems almost foolishly arrogant. We can't know, so what's the point? Yes, there's a historical correlation between human industrialization and rising temperatures, but (and I'm gonna write this one large, because I see this mistake all over the place and it's driving me nuts) CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION.

The point here is not that everything's fine, and we should continue on as we've been. Clearly a lot is wrong, and I'm in no way trying to debunk the efforts of people struggling to protect the environment (I give in, it's just so much easier to say) or to justify our current state of things. But nothing's wrong that wasn't already before all the climate change hullabaloo. The actual source of the problem is not one of environment, big industry, oil, coal, greenhouse gases, any other pollutants, George Bush, etc., but of ATTITUDE. "Are we causing it" is the wrong question, a thousand times over. Who cares? Who cares if there's even a problem? The need to "prove" global warming before any serious action is taken is an act of misdirection, a stall, while the actual illusion being pushed is the idea that if we're found "not guilty" that our way of life is somehow defensible. We need to consciously choose not to throw a TV (just to pick a single technology almost entirely at random) on the scrapheap at the promise of high-def. Why does there have to be a threat of repercussions, a global punishment for our sins, before Americans even think about getting off their asses and doing something about it?

1 comment:

Vermin Jones said...

There's actually really solid science behind the relationship between co2 and tempreature.

But I just like appocalypticism as a genere in general.