Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How It All Ends and Our Attempts to Stop It

Grizzarkhov posted the index for the How It All Ends videos that have been floating around the Internet. You can find them here. They are very good at arguing why we should act to stall climate change, but if you still believe we should ignore this problem, well, I can't see you watching these videos to become better informed.

I'm not really sure how anyone can be opposed to trying to reduce our CO2 output. Honestly, even if you have your head stuck in the sand and don't believe in climate change, how can you be opposed to cleaner air? Really, you enjoy breathing in that junk on hot summer days? You like the threat of asthma that hangs over your child's head like a gray cloud (with no silver lining, I might add)?

Plus so many of the ways to reduce your personal CO2 output ultimately mean saving a ton of money; so what is the problem? You change your light bulbs to the new fangled kind and you don't have to change them for at least five years and you use less electricity! You unplug appliances when you aren't using them and you no longer waste electricity on phantom use. You stop driving to places that are close to your house and you save money on gas and you become healthier. Where is the negative here? Cleaner air, healthier bodies, lower bills and balanced budgets -- please explain to me why this is bad. I mean it, I need people to explain this to me because I don't see the problem. Just add a comment or e-mail an explanation. Thanks.

I get really upset when people say real change will hurt the economy. Um, have you looked at the U.S. economy lately? Organizations are actually discussing changing their budgets to be based on the Euro rather than the U.S. dollar -- it has gotten that bad. How could innovation and new technology hurt the U.S. economy? I thought those were the things we rely on to help it, actually. Granted, I'm not an economist, but I do see the dollar dropping. I also see the trillions of dollars we spend on war and I have to wonder, why can't we spend that type of money on something that would benefit everyone on the planet?

So if you care about your family's health, if you worry about starving children, natural disasters, and well, basically everything bad, don't you think you could do a little something to reduce your carbon footprint. Now I realize, particularly for those of you in the U.S., you feel the small things don't add up to enough and thus can't be motivated to do anything. But they do add up. If we all changed our light bulbs, if we all started walking or biking more, if we all recycled and reused what we can, we really can make a difference. I promise it is possible. Hey, I'm not an optimist and I'm saying it is possible! Yeah, it would be better if we all made big changes -- but I'll take what I can get; I'll let you start small.

Of course, we need our government to actually admit there is a problem and start working towards change. Good news in Australia on that front. The Aussies have elected a labor government and the new PM has promised to ratify Kyoto. Soon Bush will be all alone in his desire to kill the planet. I don't feel bad for him.

Technically the U.S. is still a democracy. That means that if you think our government should work towards reducing the country's carbon footprint, and enough of you think that way (and recent polls indicate you do), theoretically the politicians are supposed to listen to you. I suggest that since they are not, you note that when it is time to do so on a ballot.

You may be wondering why I'm on this topic again. Well, it does directly relate to my job, but also, next week the conference of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change begins in Bali (they always choose really awful places to hold these conferences). Those of us working on this issue expect big changes to come out of this conference. The world has seen quite a bit of disaster since the Kyoto Protocol was created and though I would never be so bold as to say these problems are the direct result of climate change, I believe at least some slight correlation can be found.

Stepping down from my soap box for a second, I thought I'd share a picture of me as a South Park character, because the entire post can't be negative. You can make your own here. Yes, that is a cup of coffee in her hand. The halo was a mistake that I couldn't be bothered to fix. The umbrella is for the sun, not the rain.

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