>> Monday, December 9, 2013

I consider myself a fairly tolerant person and try to keep judging to a minimum. I try not sweat whatever beliefs and political positions people take, though I prefer you think about it before you spout them around me, because I challenge nonsense reflexively. But one thing I don't get is how otherwise decent reasonable human beings can become downright callous and irresponsible when their OWN actions threaten the well-being of others.

It's one thing (if not particularly admirable) to deliberately misuse people for your own benefit. It's something else to continue to do things against your own best interest that also actively threaten the safety and even lives of total strangers (who ironically have done next to nothing to contribute to the problem). To regard it of no consequence, a joke, literally makes me sick. I just don't get it.

Sadly, I could be talking about a number of subjects including universal healthcare, but I'm not. I'm talking about global climate change and the delight people have in spreading misinformation that refutes those nasty greedy scientists, (95% of which don't stand to make an individual dime from this issue) and just underscores how little they get the concept. Case in point, a friend noted (gleefully) on facebook that water vapor was the most prevalent and worst greenhouse gas we have. Since we can't control it, it just "proves" that global climate change is hooey.

Do I have to explain how fallacious that argument is? Or that, her lack of understanding makes her impervious to the implications of what she's saying (i.e., since water vapor is a natural phenomenon, we have little impact except by upping the temperature and air to carry more water vapor, thereby magnifying the effects of any greenhouse gases we produce that make the system, um, warmer). When challenged, it was all about tossing sources at me that showed water vapor was a greenhouse gas (duh, wasn't refuting that) - didn't I trust NASA and NOAA and peer reviewed journals - and then, when I noted those sources universally agreed that we were having an adverse affect on the global climate, changing her position to that we produce only a small amount of the total natural CO2 environment created (and giving me a source, mind you, that noted that, though that's true, the amount we added is small, it is tipping the scales and sending the balance out of whack). Then it was all about getting China and India and Russia to curb their ways first.

Pardon my language, but bullshit.

Even if China and India (with their higher populations) were using energy like we were, we use far more per capita, more than twice. And China I know is actively pursuing alternative energy (they have like a dozen solar cell factories being built there, ironically by a US company who can't get anyone to build one in his own country). But that doesn't matter either because we don't have control over them and are hardly going to look credible if we tell them to cut back while still burning up more than twice the fuel per capita (fuel we have to import while they don't). But we can, no really, make a difference in the energy we use and expend. And what the source of that energy is. It's a drop, but, drop by drop, people in this country have far more impact than almost everyone else in the world.

Truth is, I can't understand how anyone of good conscience can't care about this, can't care that people in third world nations, who depend on shrinking glaciers for survival or live within inches of sea level but contributed next to nothing to the problem are threatened. So many blameless people and could be decimated if rivers that provide water for millions of people dry up or islands are swallowed whole because we couldn't cut back even a little of our energy usage. I can't see how this is made a joke (in the end, my "friend" likened our disagreement to two women fighting over a large lollipop). How can people be so callous? [Note, these are the same people who get out their torches and pitchforks if you bring up prayer in school or offer to wish them a happy holiday rather than Merry Christmas. We should never forget that Christians stole that pagan holiday, fair and square.]

I've talked before about the science, recommended doing homework, but even that seems inconsequent. If there was even a slight possibility (instead of overwhelming evidence - there are people suffering in the Andes from the recession of glaciers right now) that the concerns are justified, why wouldn't you do what you could? Aside from the financial advantages of using less energy or renewable sources. Just because you made it home safely after driving drunk in the past doesn't mean you'll always be so lucky. I totally don't get why people still do it. Who would want someone else's death on their conscience?

Still, though we'll be among the last to feel the effects of our excess, we will not go unpunished. Our refusal to embrace alternative energy and efficiency is fairly singular (like our adherence to "standard" units of measure). While we're congratulating ourselves on our higher and higher electrical bills and not "falling for" the "hype", China and many oil producing companies are investing heavily in alternative energy so that, when the cost of oil gets so high even we can't pay it (or the results from burning fuels force us to change our ways), those same folks will have us over a barrel again because we didn't come up with alternatives or curb our wasteful ways.

And we'll have deserved it.


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