Saturday, January 06, 2007

Saturday Soapbox

All right, I need to take a deep breath for this one. Excuse me for a second. Ok, here we go.

Not too long ago, we rented "An Inconvenient Truth."

Have you ever watched "Carrie?" How about "The Excorcist?"

Trust me, any horror movie you have ever seen will pale in comparison to this film. It is the ultimate horror movie because I am certain that at least some, if not most of the things described in this film will happen. To me. To you. To our children.

I sat on my couch and my despair grew ever greater as Mr. Gore went through his presentation. And yes, it is basically a glorified PowerPoint presentation. I despaired at all the people who are choosing, despite real scientific evidence to the contrary, to ignore what is going on. To read about the movie and what it has to say go here.

You may wonder why you should listen to scientists. After all, don't they, like all people, have some sort of agenda? Most likely, no. For the majority of the world's scientists to agree on something is actually quite extraordinary. Scientists are a demanding, fractious lot who have a difficult time agreeing on much of anything. The fact that so many do agree is actually alarming. And despite the statistically small number of opposing scientists who are vociferous in their protestations, they are just that, a small number. In fact, I would say it was that group of scientists who had the agenda, because many people want to hear that global warming is a bunch of hooey, and these guys get lots of airtime and money to say just that.

Because it's easier to just stick your head in the sand and hope that it will just go away. Because unfortunately, Americans are a selfish, self-centered bunch who want to continue with their lives as if nothing was happening. If you want proof of that, just look at all the people driving around in Hummers even though soldiers are dying Iraq just to keep our gasoline cheap. Or should I say, as cheap as the oil companies will allow it to be. Anyone notice how the same gas that dropped in price before the elections is back up? But I digress.

Mr. Gore had an interesting point about articles written about global warming. He said that the vast majority of articles written by scientists in support of a human-induced climate crisis appeared in peer-reviewed journals. Now, the difference between peer-reviewed articles and ones that aren't are similar to you getting medical advice from a cancer expert from Johns Hopkins vs. a website from some dude on the internet with a PhD in philosophy. Anyone can write an article. But, is it vetted? Is is thoroughly researched with studies conducted within professional standards? That is where the difference lies. It's the JAMA compared to Vogue. In other words, there is no comparison.

I also gained so much respect for Mr. Gore. And I have to say that if he had shown even an ounce of the passion and eloquence during his campaign for President as he does in this film, he would have won. Oh, wait, he did win. Ummm, ok, then he would have won by a much larger margin, how's that? But just the fact that this man is willing to go around the world and try to convince people, one by one if he has to, that global warming is real and a threat to us all, I want to go find him doing his research in some lonely airport waiting room and give him a hug. I really do.

I strongly urge you to watch this movie. I challenge you as a rational, thinking person to not come to the end of the movie without feeling that he makes many valid points.

And for those who still want to drive around in their Hummers and huge SUV's with one person in them, then I think perhaps we should let them all have their choice of two places in which to live out their carbon-emission filled lives. They could go around running each other over and never turning off their highly inefficient incandescent bulbs. One place would be an island at sea level. The other, Greenland.

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