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On Being Told Where to Go

In checking the blog this morning for comments to moderate, I came across one that simply suggested that I “go to hell”.

Succinct and to the point; I like that.

I then checked to see to which post he was referring. One of my editorial rants perhaps? No, his suggestion for me to visit hell was more general and in response to my mission statement, which says:

“Global warming is the issue of our times. What we do as a civilization today will affect our progeny for generations to come.
We publish this website and blog Global Warming is Real to help raise awareness of the reality before us.
We use the technology available to us to bring the latest news and information together in one place for our readers.

We are not journalists; the news items presented are the responsibility and particular opinion of the credited author and/or publication. We offer them in order to educate, enlighten, perhaps enrage, and maybe even entertain. If it gets the reader to thinking seriously about global warming, then it has done its job.
We have a bias and an opinion in regard to the issue of climate change, and we do express it in our editorial rants section. We also write essays based on our own research on global warming and other environmental issues.
But neither are we scientists. We read and study extensively on these issue (this makes us loads of fun at parties), but we are merely concerned citizens interested in raising awareness of the issues of climate change, global warming, energy use, and sustainable living; presented for other concerned citizens to help them make sense of these very serious issues facing us in the early 21st century.”

For that scandalous rhetoric I was told to go to hell. Unfortunately, the person leaving the comment didn’t leave a real email address, and the trackback url was to a junk-site apparently selling DVD players. Hmmm.

I welcome honest debate, and I have received some comments on this blog from a wide variety of people, from skeptics to people that believe even more fervently than I do that something needs to be done to stave off catastrophic climate change later in this century.

But since I can’t respond directly to our friend, and since he seems to have a generalized problem to my very being, I’d like to offer some tidbits in this post to really fan the flames of intelligent dialog.

I present here some recent comments I’ve received from people while talking about global warming, the environment, and energy related issues. I’ll answer each comment briefly, and perhaps this will spur some dialog.

However, even though I am happy to be told where to go (people do all the time), I encourage folks to muster a little more intelligence than a simple “go to hell”. After all, somebody’s already suggested that.

  1. “How could there really be global warming? Volcanoes put out more pollution than cars”
    Well, okay, first of all, I think what is meant here is how could global warming be anthropogenic? (manmade – why use a simple phrase when you can throw out a big word to show how smart you are?). It’s common in my debating this issue that people have little factoids they interpret as a complete argument, and this is a case in point.

    There is no doubt that volcanic and other sources of greenhouse gas contribute to the natural occurrence of the “greenhouse effect” and to global warming. How that in any way makes the billions of cars spewing out greenhouse gasses benign is something I don’t understand (not to mention factories, airplanes, power plants, etc.) A recent post on the blog addresses this issue.

  2. “Al Gore…”
    It’s one of a few things. Either he’s simply running for president by making a film and writing a book about climate change, or he’s a hypocrite by flying around on private jets and living in a big house, or he’s simply another evil liberal trying to undermine our American Way of Life and our God-given right to consume.

    I’m not here to defend Al Gore. But I will say this. First, Gore has been an advocate of this issue before most critics even knew what a greenhouse gas was (perhaps even before they were born). Second, it is perfectly legitimate to ask questions about Al’s lifestyle. In fact, he has been asked about it. Every critic I have heard from hasn’t taken the time, apparently, to listen to the answer. Third, well, whatever. I think people just want to hate Al Gore and thus hide behind Al as a way to avoid the real issue. This isn’t about Al Gore. Also, in my humble opinion, God never intended on us becoming a nation of obese, weak, overeating, over-consuming pigs that could barely walk a mile if their life depended on it. Now if that doesn’t get someone telling me to go to hell, nothing will! (and admittedly, it’s a little unfair to generalize in such a way, but this is my rant, so you’ll just have to take it.)

  3. “We’ll just use hydrogen powered cars when the oil runs out. That’ll cure the global warming thing and the energy crisis” (technology will save us.)
    Ya’ think? Willing to bet the future on that? Time to study the issue a little further…
  4. “It’s hypocritical not to drill for oil in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge. We’re happy to take oil from other nations and not exploit our own resources”
    A bit simplistic. The days of the United States supplying our own demand for oil has come and is long gone.

    There is hypocrisy to be found, there is no doubt. But I do not believe it rests in the Artic. America’s oil production has been steadily declining since 1970. There is no hope of America ever again producing all the oil it uses, drilling in ANWR or not. Most likely, if we do drill there (and I am, as you might guess, dead set against it) it will probably be pretty much played out in a decade or so – and then what?

    And what about the fuel efficiency standards for cars that is among the lowest in the world? What of the hypocrisy there? If car manufacturers would design, build, and market cars that are more efficient, it would more than make up for the oil sitting up there in the Artic. We must take a firm look at the demand side of this equation (as our president has suggested, by the way).

    I think the hard truth here is that there is enough hypocrisy for each one of us to grab hold of our fair share.

  5. “You’re just a knee-jerk liberal”
    At last, something we can agree on. But what has it got to do with the issues we are discussing? It harkens back to the Al Gore thing. As long as this debate is framed in such a partisan political fashion, I fear nothing will get done. Sooner or later (probably sooner rather than later) our window of opportunity to avert the worst consequences of climate change and dwindling natural resources will close, and we’ll all still be bickering like a bunch of schoolchildren unable to see beyond their own demand for more, more, more.

There is much for each of us in this country to be thankful for. I do not “hate” America, Americans, or what we are supposed to stand for. Quite the opposite.

But I do see a nation with its head in the sand. Mesmerized, coddled, and comfortable. We fail to see the huge disconnect between our lifestyle and the consequences that derive from it. We live in a high-entropy world, with huge inflows of energy that inevitably generate enormous outflows of waste and disorder. Just look around.

In conclusion, I’d like to thank that nameless person that wishes I’d go to hell for spurring me to write this. The fact is, the one person I need to worry about in regard to all I have said here is, of course, me. Government won’t save us. Technology won’t save us. The answer lies with each one of us.

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