In the Middle: Global Warming

Jeremy Fugleberg

Jeremy Fugleberg

There’s no doubt that global warming exists, even though the science is still a bit fuzzy about its cause or what it will do to our world. But doubts still remain about how global warming will affect our future, and what we should all do about it in the meantime.

Some say it doesn’t exist, or it’s not really that bad, or that the Earth will take care of itself. On the other side, some would say that global warming (note: sensational words ahead) is a horrible impending catastrophe that will destroy our world and if we don’t put together a massive effort now, the Earth will turn into a lifeless orb.

Our public discussion on this topic shouldn’t be political, but sadly, it is. Al Gore is a prophet of doom, and George Bush finally decided that maybe, just maybe, global warming might be a little bit of an issue. Not that he knows what to do about it, besides get busy cooking switch grass.

With all due respect to Al “I won an Oscar!” Gore, fear should not drive our global warming antidote policies. We should want to use more efficient lightbulbs because it makes good business sense, because it’s the right thing to do. We should want to drive hybrid cars because it’s foolish to waste money. It just makes sense.

Our greed and consumption is what is driving our reluctance to change. We’re comfortable.

That being said, the pendulum has clearly swung the other way. It hasn’t been that long since everyone wanted an SUV. No longer. Hybrids aren’t boring vehicles for hemp-wearing tree-huggers anymore. Slowly but surely, American businesses are learning that green practices make good business sense.

And that’s where the solution is. It’s not forcing change and fear down the throats of those who won’t be convinced by anything else.

What we should do as a country is encourage knowledge, not fear. Get to know that which threatens us. Popularize a way of life not based on consumption. Give incentives to citizens and businesses who don’t make changes only because change is expensive. A helping hand, not a fearful push, is what’s needed.

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