Monday, June 08, 2009

Hell, high water and Burger King

I've been watching the history Channel's Life After People series, which graphically illustrates the natural processes that would eventually turn every piece of evidence that the human species ever existed into geological strata of rust, dust and ashes. I find myself, after reading various newspaper editorials, blog comments and other sources, wishing it would all happen soon. While humans abound, we paint and rebuild and fix up and maintain our artifacts, but unlike other species, we also deliberately assure our demise. Have we reached the limit where our ability to ruin everything can't be controlled by our inadequate intelligence or sanity? I don't know, but I'm past caring whether we're too stupid to know that we are insane or too insane to know we're stupid. All I can do is laugh and rest assured that someday it will be a different world, inherited by different, better adapted kinds of life.

What can I do but laugh at the Memphis Burger King franchise owner in Memphis, Tennessee who is putting up ads all over town advertising that "global warming is baloney" as the evidence mounts that the situation is getting worse than the most radical advocates were warning about not long ago.

Truly, disbelief of the obvious now rivals belief in the non-existent for Americans, and just as everyone is now an economist, automotive engineer, biochemist, historian, geneticist and philosopher by virtue of some web-site or by acclaim from others equally as uninformed and dishonest; he's also a paleo-climatologist. In fact the only paleo-climatologists who do not now think that human activity has become the predominant factor in heating the planet are those with no background in it -- and of course the petroleum geologists. Of course they all could be wrong. Strong scientific consensuses have been overturned before, but then they have always been overturned by new technology, producing new data and not by giggling disbelief based on politics, total unawareness of the evidence or indeed, the arrogance peculiar to Americans that convinces them that the more they ignore the data, the more sensible they are.

Sure, it's possible that there's nothing we can do about the great warming. Given the political nature of Man, it may be likely, even if it does stem from or depend heavily upon human consumption, but the level of the evidence certainly doesn't argue that we should ignore the situation, attack the evidence, smear and libel the scientists and put up posters all over Memphis -- unless, of course you're like me and just can't wait for hell and high water to cleanse the Earth of the disease that is us.


Brian Krenz said...

I cannot think of any issue for which science and facts were so roundly ignored by so many people. Playing politics while using verifiable information to back up your claims is one thing - but the incessant hogwash that spews from the mouths of global-warming deniers is a whole other story. Why is this even a political issue?

Even if the evidence suggesting climate change is the result of humans were scant, wouldn't we still want to play it safe? We're talking about the destruction of the Earth here folks.

Furthermore, conservatives are presumably hesitant to say global warming is the result of human activity because that could mean condemning their precious business-buddies to scale back there polluting. But they fail to recognize, as Obama and others have recognized, that there is money to be made in a green energy industry. We can save the Earth AND fix our economy. This doesn't have to be about the downfall of special interests or the elite ruling class - just a restructuring of industry so that we can keep living on the planet we were born on. New businesses will become wealthy and new power-holders will emerge. Of course change is going to come; it may be too late, but it will come. In the meantime, new industries and new businesses are being hurt by governments that are too slow to push the planet toward saving itself. In effect, these conservatives are condemning an emerging industry by not recognizing climate change is human-made and immediately working to correct it.

I don't get it.

Capt. Fogg said...

"Even if the evidence suggesting climate change is the result of humans were scant, wouldn't we still want to play it safe? We're talking about the destruction of the Earth here folks."

Yes we would if we were rational and not just a series of programmed responses and de facto spokesmen for instant gratification.

Being a conservative, if I can try to rescue the word, means being threatened by change and so more of the same seems safe and never mind that Bridge Out sign ahead.

Such people think using it up faster makes sense and so they have to believe that resources are infinite and that the planet is infinitely resourceful. Conservatives believe what they need to believe in order to remain conservative, and they will fight you like mad dogs if you suggest they're wrong.

Hell yes, technology is all we have to stave off disaster until we can learn to control our population - and even after that since it's so huge. Cutting your energy consumption by 10% is hardly going to help when we go from 6 billion to 7 billion people in only a few years. Our country used to lead the world in innovation and we still have a few smart people left and we can do it.