Daily Archives: December 4, 2009

Save the Earth? Bah, humbug!

Because I have an affection for all things political, especially politically scandalous, I throughly enjoyed the movie Frost/Nixon. And one of the best lines out of the movie, in my opinion, came at the end, where it is noted that one of Nixon’s biggest legacies is having the suffix “-gate” attached to any scandal. It’s so very very true. My very favorite was Nipplegate, the name given to that wardrobe malfunction involving Justin Timberlake, a boobie, the Superbowl and Janet (Miss Jackson if you’re nasty).

The newest of these -gates is a scandal involving the alleged manipulation of scientific data regarding global warming, aka, Climategate.

The insane people at the Fox Nation have dedicated thousands of posts to this subject, all declaring that global warming is a HOAX! A hoax I tell you!

The story, in short: Someone hacked into e-mail accounts at the University of East Anglia and stole a whole lotta e-mails containing information about global warming theory that indicate that numbers and information may have been faked, altered or thrown out all together in an effort to boost the credibility of the theory itself. Depending on who you pick as your news provider, the media is either saturated with this story, or it’s rarely mentioned. There is no in between.

I’m amazed at the insistence of people that global warming is a hoax. No it’s not. Even climate experts who think Al Gore is full of it don’t dispute global warming itself. The argument is not whether global warming exists, it s whether man is having an impact on it. But it’s real. It’s happening. Personally, when blowhards like Rush Limbaugh and GleN Beck and, well, Fox News, call it a hoax, they’re being misleading and neglecting some important distinctions. They’re leading people to believe that there is no such thing as global warming, when that’s not true. They never never NEVER make the distinction between global warming and man-made global warming. It’s shoddy journalism at best. You can side with the scientists who don’t think man is affecting global warming if you so choose, but when you have such a huge platform and you keep insisting that global warming does not exist, now you’re just being irresponsible.

But enough of that already. Fellow blogger Erin has a great site that is predominantly a food blog, but she also talks in detail about the environment and a process called “ethical eating,” where (correct me if I am wrong Erin) she deliberately makes carefully considered food choices that revolve on having as little a negative impact on the environment as she can, ie, shopping her local markets, buy meat from local farms, eating organic foods whenever possible, avoiding food from animals that have been treated with hormones or kept in cages and finding local food sources where the food itself was not transported long distances. Like that. I know Erin does a lot more to protect the environment than just how she eats, though I cannot speak for her and every choice she makes (go to her blog, she speaks for herself just fine!). My favorite part about Erin’s choices are that they are hers and she shares them, but she doesn’t force them on you or get all judgy if you disagree with her. But she makes really, really good points.

I deeply admire Erin’s committment, though I do not share her enthusiasm for one reason and one reason only: I AM LAZY. Dude, I have two little boys and a WalMart a mile away and a tight budget. I buy a lot of WalMart brand stuff, and frankly, I know nothing about where things like my clothes come from. My WalMart usually has signs in the produce section noting that they support local farmers, but we are in Illinois. I’m pretty sure the avocados and citrus fruit aren’t from around here, and while the zucchini is delicious, it’s not exactly in season right now. During the summer, I do make an effort to support my local farmers. Unfortunately, a trip to the farm is a good ten-mile hike. So I can either buy food that is locally grown, but have to drive far, or food that is not locally grown, but I can walk…. Dilemma! I think when you balance it out, the farm is still the better option, and their vegetables are thousands of times better than the grocery stores vegetable selection. But right now, it’s December. The farm is closed for the season.

I do make an effort to do something, most notably I use canvas bags at the store. I also recycle pretty vigilantly, and I donate old stuff rather than toss it.  I am really hoping that the garden that I intend to plant in the spring is not an enormous failure. I’ve tried once before and failed miserably, though, in my effort, I did toss a stone at a squirrel that was destroying my zucchinis and hit him. He squeaked and kept on eating.

So somewhere between those who balk at global warming all together, and those who are committed to the environment, there is a happy place where many of us fit in, where we try to do good things and not pollute and have a nice, clean earth… but we could probably try a little harder. But this brings me back to those who are excited about Climategate, and how they think it has dealt global warming a huge blow, and exposed it as a hoax! Let’s assume they are right. Let’s assume that Erin’s efforts are completely unnecessary, that she’s not having an impact at all, positive or negative. Let’s assume that there’s no difference between when I shop at the grocery store and when I shop at the farm. Let’s assume that smog just ain’t that bad. Don’t these people still want a clean earth?

I mean, think about it. Let’s assume that it doesn’t matter if there are piles of plastic in a landfill. Wouldn’t you still rather have a park than a dump? Let’s assume that there’s no negative impact from harvesting lumber for paper products. Wouldn’t you still rather have a big pretty national forest than empty, unusable land? Let’s assume that emissions from automobiles are not affecting the environment. Wouldn’t you still rather have a fuel-efficient car and save money on gas?

Green choices aren’t just about saving the earth. They’re common sense. Even if you wanted to argue that litter doesn’t impact the enviroment negatively, it’s still litter!

In our household, we’ll try to make better choices. Sometimes we will win, and other times we will fail miserably. But I wouldn’t allow my house to become a big trash bin. Why risk it with the entire world.

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