George Carlin & The Bear On Saving The Planet
“It’s not easy being green.” – Kermit the frog
Back in the mid 90’s, scientists were predicting an impending ice age. I didn’t take it too seriously because they weren’t overly specific about when it was going to happen and I have a really good winter coat. They predicted glaciers would reemerge and cover key parts of the continental land mass. Now, I don’t know a lot about glaciers but I do know they move really slowly and I am pretty sure that even I can outrun (ok, ok…I don’t actually run but I’m pretty confident that I can lumber along faster than a glacier), so I wasn’t overly concerned. I pretty much set my mind to accepting that it was going to get cooler which suited me fine because hot weather is very unpleasant for a guy built like a bear.
A decade later, many of the same scientists decided that it wasn’t an ice age that was coming after all. It was global warming. The earth was heating up and soon, arable farm land would dry up, crops would wither and we would see famine, disease and war (although unfortunately we don’t seem to need global warming to find reasons to kill each other). Melting glaciers (remember the glaciers from the impending ice age?) would cause sea levels to rise overrunning coastal cities and temperatures would soar. Polar bears would die and the four horseman of the apocalypse would appear on downtown streets around the world.
I was more concerned about this because I don’t handle hot weather as well as I do cold weather. I wasn’t buying the apocalyptic, famine scenario but I hate really hot weather and don’t like wearing shorts (even though I look quite dashing in them). I wasn’t really looking forward to the discomfort of it all but I did content myself with the idea that even though I live in central Canada, there was a distinct possibility of eventually having waterfront property without having to move. If the scientists were right and rising temperatures caused so much northern snow and ice to melt that the oceans rose dramatically, I would soon be fishing the surf from my back deck.
Something is happening, they’re convinced of that but are no longer exactly sure what it is so they decided to call it climate change. This is the typical activist response to a problem. When you don’t have a clue what’s going on (if anything at all), rename it! It allows you to continue to fret and whine about the issue without actually doing anything to fix it and best of all, you can still keep applying for more government (read taxpayer) research grants and financial contributions to your organization.
This new development suited environmentalists just fine because it took away the need to be precise when predicting the impending disaster. Now environmentalists could promote the threat to the world without having to actually define the exact nature of that threat. It’s perfect; an opportunity to vent while feeling socially relevant without actually having to fully explain why. But here’s the question, is this ethical?According to David Suzuki and Al Gore, it is but then they’ve made a lot of money promoting the ill effects of the undefined climate change and I’m always suspicious of those who find financial gain by promoting fear and the Save The Planet is nothing if not full of fear mongoring.
The fact is that the earth’s average temperature today is about 4 degrees less than it was in the middle ages. We’re a little warmer than we were in the last century but a hell of a lot cooler than we were a few hundred years ago. It seems that environmentalists have a shorter view of history or it escaped their notice that the world didn’t end and humanity didn’t disappear when it was warmer way back then.
Environmentalists believe the world is on the expressway to Hell and it has given them a sense of purpose that elevates them from the monotony of their daily lives. It doesn’t matter to them that that the number one cause of greenhouse gas emissions is water vapour. Pollution is the root cause of all our problems and corporations are responsible! We must act swiftly to save ourselves…from ourselves. It doesn’t matter to them that carbon is a natural product nor does it matter to them that global temperatures today are still much cooler than they were centuries before we had any real pollution. There is no such thing as naturally occuring climate fluctuation. No sir! The world is doomed if we don’t immediately sacrifice everything we have developed as a civilization to deal with this crisis right now. (Nothing fundamentalists and fanatics love more than promoting sacrifice….especially when it is someone else doing the sacrificing…keep those grants and donations coming in folks.)
Well, I for one will not be donning a hair shirt, shaving my head or flagellating myself with a whip to atone for the sin of enjoying modern conveniences. I will not turn down my thermostat and sit shivering in my living room in the middle of January nor will I lay naked on my bed sweating (don’t visualize please) in mid July when the humidex is in the 40’s. I have heat and air conditioning and I’m not afraid to use them. I definitely won’t be exchanging my current incandescent light bulbs for those ridiculous curly fluorescent bulbs made in China. I didn’t work this long and this hard to earn enough to live comfortably only to sit in my home, squinting in semi-darkness trying to see the words on a page in the book I’m reading. I want light! When I want it semi-dark, I’ll light a candle and neck with my wife.
As a result of all of this, I am developing an increasing dislike for the environmental movement. It is hypocritical, poorly informed, self-righteous, intellectually lazy and arrogant. With the exception of a few capitalist opportunists, it is more religion than most religions and most environmentalists, like most religious extremists, only accept the facts that support their faith while rejecting any that might tend to disprove it. Accuracy of the facts they embrace is not a determining factor. They need to believe and nothing will easily deter them from that belief. The fact that an increasing amount of the science behind climate change appears to be junk science doesn’t deter them from the mission at all.
We have real issues facing us but climate change isn’t one of them nor is going green going to address any of them. (There is a real arrogance in believing that humanity could actually control climate…the recent hurricanes should have shown us the futility of even considering that) I am tired of recycling, refuse to compost and think the entire idea of being charged by retailers for a bag to carry the stuff I purchased from them is patently offensive. (It didn’t take those guys long to see the benefit of going green. Now they can charge for what they used to give away. Strange how being green, like government initiatives, always ends up costing you and I more money.)
I’m tired of the whole thing. Screw being green. Screw recycling, composting, reusing, sharing, and sacrificing for the greater good. Screw not being given a free plastic bag to carry home the stuff I just bought at the store and screw being lectured by people too lazy to think beyond the last bumper sticker they read.Instead of trying to cleanse the world of modern conveniences in the name of saving the planet, let’s do something constructive. Let’s drive over to Tim Horton’s (Starbucks if you are more trendy than I am or Dunkin Donuts if you live in The States – I can be flexible) and protest and harass the number of environmentalists sitting in the drive thru lane with their cars idling waiting for their coffee. How long do you think it will be before they convince the coffee and donut shops to charge for paper cups in an attempt to get us all to carry reusable mugs around with us? You’re right…not long at all. We have to save those trees, after all.
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