I need to borrow you guys for a minute. I am a Liberal living in a red state, and if one more of my husband’s right-wing friends posts something on Facebook about how global warming must be bogus because it’s snowing in Georgia I will hit them with a brick.
Here’s why I need you guys. I avoid getting into arguments on Facebook because it makes me feel like I’m twelve. When I see these people in person, the subject doesn’t come up because we all follow the rule of “Don’t talk politics at a dinner party,” so I am left with the option of tracking them down at work and saying “Hey, I saw what you posted of FB the other day, do you happen to have any bricks here?” Even to me, that seems excessive. I am suffering from pent up logic and I need to blow off a little steam.
Global warming is a statistic, you can’t really argue with it. The average temperature of the planet has gone up about a degree since the mid-20th century. What people are actually arguing about are the projections about how the global warming trend will continue in the next fifty years. It’s a matter of semantics, but it bugs me.
The projections are based on observation, research and history. That’s how science works. You gather as much data as you can and form a hypothesis. We don’t have magic future predicting powers, but we can make some pretty good guesses. The common theory is that the temperatures will continue to rise, as much as 6.8 degrees. It might not happen. Climate isn’t a static thing, it constantly shifts a little and we could just shift back to where things were. But why take the chance? If they are right, a lot of really nasty stuff will happen. If they are wrong, we still end up with a cleaner planet. The primary messages of the ‘stop global warming’ campaign are that we need to recycle more and end the dependence on fossil fuels. I mean, what a bunch of nut-jobs. It’s not like fossil fuels are non-renewable or anything. If it looks like we are going to run out we can just Jurassic Park up some dinosaurs and pop them in a microwave till they turn into oil, right?
I actually did some research before I started writing this. I know it’s kind of hard to tell because I am cranky and I forgot all the details that might make me sound marginally intelligent, but I did. The most interesting thing I found out is that many members of the scientific community are pissed at Al Gore for turning this into a partisan issue. While many countries are looking for eco-friendly changes they can make, half of our country refuses to acknowledge that there could be a problem because it would mean agreeing with a Democrat.
I am open to scientific debate. If you want to say that global warming is a sham, go ahead. But if you do, give me actual facts and research. Hell, I’ll even accept opinions if you can back them up with some logical reasoning. If, however, your justification is “I’m cold,” you’d better hope I don’t have a brick.
Thank you for letting me rant. I’m feeling much better now.
If you are interested in actually learning about global warming, here are a few places to start:
4 replies on “Global Warming, A Rant”
The issue isn’t restricted to global warming. So much of science has become politicized in America that it is becoming increasingly difficult for scientists to actually disseminate findings to the public. Hell, many times I feel like “science” as a concept is often looked down on as being “liberal”, on par with being “elitist”. I wish I had some answers or ideas for how to turn the tide of what often seems like overwhelming public opinion… facts and education don’t seem to be enough.
There was a great This American Life a few weeks ago where a high school student who didn’t “believe in” global warming sat down with a director at NSF and was presented with facts, research, and answers to her questions. Yet she still wasn’t swayed. This has officially lost its point, but I feel like educating the public about scientific discoveries and what it means for them personally and society as a whole is often such an uphill battle that it causes many academics to close themselves even more into their ivory towers, which isn’t good for anyone.
My (very limited) understanding is that the debate is about whether man-made activity is contributing to global warming. And I agree completely that we’d all be better off with a cleaner planet and renewable energy sources. I don’t like that it’s politicized either. During the oil crisis in the 70’s, we were all interested in green initiatives because we didn’t want to depend on foreign powers to gas up our cars. We got mad and said, “Screw you, OPEC!” A lot of good came from that, but we still have a long way to go.
It seems to be easier to spur us to action when we can vilify others than when we have only our best interests to motivate us…that’s kinda sad.
I feel your pain. Also a lib living in a red state. I can’t believe how many people decide that Global Warming “just doesn’t exist because, well, look at all this snow!!”
And none of these people have done an ounce of research on the matter. It’s just ignorant.
This is why the accepted rhetoric has changed from “Global Warming” to “Climate Change.”