Apr 22, 2006

Earth Day Should Last More than a Day

If You Clean it They'll Will Come
Earth Day is here; I hope you do something to celebrate the day, even if it’s thinking about how to help our beautiful blue planet maintain its health, and what legacy we’ll leave to our children. Another practical action will be to throw out the Republicans from office this coming November. I don’t think there’s been another US administration, including the Congress, more hostile to the environment. The Republican party is controlled by the lunatic fringe which doesn’t really like science. For example, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is led by an anti-environment champion, James Inhofe (R-OK) who prefers the “expert” testimony of fiction writers to that of scientists.

I think this country doesn’t fully appreciate science. I’m not sure that most Americans know what science is, its methodology, its tools, and its impact on the bettering & prolonging of human life. The dumbing down continues, and I don’t think it’s an accident that certain elites don’t want an educated public. Recently, I was told by people active in the ACLU’s fight against Intelligent Design as the case was unfolding in the courtroom in Dover, PA, that the consensus was to avoid painting this as a struggle between religion and science. The reason being that Americans would choose religion over science. The majority of our compatriots actually believe that humans were created in present form and that the Biblical account of Genesis should be taught alongside the theory of evolution! They also believe that Satan is an actual entity trying to destroy us, that Earth is under 10,000 years old, and that 44% believe that Jesus will probably return to Earth in their lifetime! If 59% believe that the prophesies found in the Book of Revelations are going to come true, and that 44% believe that we live in the “end of times,” then why worry about the environment? Especially if they believe that the faithful will be rescued!

For those of you who are free thinkers and are inquisitive, Jared Diamond’s
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed is an interesting book that examines past civilizations and the underlying reasons for their total collapse or extinction. The environment has played a very important role in fostering or dooming a civilization. Science is the best tool we have to understand the world we live in, and although this tool isn’t perfect [none is] it’s strength comes from looking at the facts and revising them after careful consideration. There is a global warming going on. Earth may be going through warm-cold cycles, but we’re the only species (in its history of billions of years) that in the last 100 years we’ve been pouring huge amounts of carbon dioxide and other toxic particles in the atmosphere and the oceans. This is having an effect; we may be tipping the balance beyond return. The worst effects will first be felt by the poorest people on our planet. Earth is our home and therefore it should get our attention and our tender loving care.

As I said in an earlier post, our salvation is only possible from within, that is, we humans have to be the custodians of this lonely planet. We are part of this ecosystem that gave birth to us. It’s insane to pollute and damage our own home. Unfortunately, it takes a collective effort to see results, and as long as intelligence-able people choose to stick their head in the sand, little can be accomplished. Let’s have an open and honest discussion, let’s examine the scientific facts, and set a serious course of action. At the very least, we there’s lots of room for improvement. Even in the absence of long-term ill effects, wouldn’t it be wiser to clean up our living space and the air we breathe? It’s pure common sense.

8 comments:

Burke said...

Global warming is probably happening, but the Earth had an ice age and then the ice retreated. It happened before, it's happening now. Why do you have to lay the blame on someone? Some extremists in the left-wing movement, don't like corporations making money, and even that progress requires some sacrifices and costs. Besides, progress improves the lives of most people.

Andros said...

It's like saying, look there was lung cancer before smoking appeared so why you say smoking cause lung cancer!

As for the costs associated with progress, I think it's prudent to weigh them carefully. Polluted air and water isn't good for anyone, and severely affecting our environment is not a proper legacy to leave our children. And, yes, there are plenty of scientific indicators that point to the direction of tipping the balance beyond return.

Perhaps I should clarify something: The ultimate danger is not that life will disappear or the planet will be destroyed... Life, not necessarily human life, will continue to exist for another billion years, more or less, until the sun begins to act up.

Anne said...

That's why we need to regulate certain activities. The marketplace and unchecked competition aren't the ultimate determinants. We have to take into account the common good. Otherwise, for example, every tree will be cut down and every fish would be pulled out of the sea!

rumbux said...

Beautiful pix. A bit distracting from the points you're making about Americans not accepting the scientific method. How true. The dumbing down continues... with the help of the dummies!

anderson said...

I find it truly amazing that, if your figures are correct, Americans hold beliefs more appropriate for people in the Dark Ages...

Samantha said...

Who said that the quality of our politics reflects the quality of the people?.... I saw it written somewhere...

Obviously Americans like to complain, but they never seem to accept responsibility. Like in 2004 when they re-hired Bush. Don't tell me that in just 6 months after the election they developed a buyer's remorse syndrome.... It just shows that many people made a poor selection. The reversal of public opinion in just 6 months (and still falling as of today) wasn't because some NEW facts came out that changed the what we knew already prior to the election. It's just that many voters didn't bother to do their homework or think long and hard before casting a ballot.

But, since decisions are made collectively, and collective actions impact on all of us, positive change is hard to come about. Like oil consumption in this country. Despite the big price spikes, Americans haven't really reduced their demand for oil, or change their habits of buying too big for their needs cars.

Geeshus said...

Prices go up because of supply & demand, which is true in a free market, but all the talk about "free market" isn't all that appears to be. Big, fat companies like subsidies, tax cuts, and other privileges bestowed upon them by the governmnet. They also don't like competition! They lobby hard against their competitors and the public. Or, they merge to form oligopolies, if not monopolies.

When this REPUBLICAN Congress (meaning ONLY the Repugs chair committees and have subpoena power) called in the oil execs to testify, they weren't required to do so UNDER OATH. So, they could say any BS with impunity.

Now, there are more hearings on PRICE GOUGING! Omigod, gouging??? NO!!!

Will they swear to tell the truth?

Anonymous said...

My question is, are Americans ready for some straight talk?