Earth Week…what does it mean…really(I am a little late but better late than never.)

April 24, 2008

Well here I am again writing at my own blog site after some six months of neglect…well I was bitten by a political bug of sorts and went into a fever, of sorts, and after many contortions and bizarre behaviors I am back again to continue my personal quest in understanding the meaning of living on our beautiful, and sometimes tempestuous planet.

Well the media is touting this week as Earth Week, or Green Week, or some other catchy expression to indicate that this week has been designated by someone somewhere, sometime in the recent past as being a good time during the year to think about our planet, and the possibility that we are polluting it beyond it’s ability to continue to replenish and clean up after us. Global Warming is back on the agenda and more and more people round the world have convinced themselves that the Earth is really warming up because we are dumping millions of cubic tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. More and more governments, industries, environmentalist organizations and the media, have began to note in ever more alarming tones of certainty that the planet is changing and that we may be in for some drastic realizations. The price of rice and wheat and corn have skyrocketed and some of that is being attributed to droughts and bad weather associated with the presumed warming of the Earth.

Well, just as more and more people are becoming certain, I have begun to doubt the real causes behind the current warming trend. Firstly, it seems a natural retracement of a falling temerature trend that lasted the past sixty years before being interrupted by the current warming trend. As we know temperature variations occur in waves of increasing and decreasing trends, the one we’re in seems to be the normal back sliding that we would expect. Secondly, the notion of our guilt is also questionable. Yes, it is irresponsible to dump all this carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and yes, in a laboratory we would expect warming in a bottle full of carbon dioxide, but what applies to a bottle, may not apply to the vastly more complex system that is the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. That the Earth’s surface temperature is climbing seems almost certain. That all this is having some notable effects on our planet and our on our daily lives is also undeniable…but that all this is due to our “carbon footprint” is frankly not proven.

A few movies, a few high profile commentators does not make a scientific proof. That it is best to reduce our “Carbon Footprint” is probably true, that we know for a fact that our “carbon footprint” is the cause of the climate change is a lie. We must be careful not to allow what is probably a good first argument to turn into a world wide media hype for this will not serve our needs, especially when much of the truth is being left for dead by those very same forces hyping up the “carbon footprint” hypothesis, i.e. that humankind is responsible for all this carbon dioxide and so we must do all we can to clean it up.

Today as I watched television in the morning I noticed that there was a lot of talk about being “green” or having a bio-friendly house, or bio-friendly lifestyle, and could see first lady Laura Bush giving us a tour of her ranch in Crawford Texas, which is purportedly a bio-friendly habitation worthy of the attentions of the NBC’s Today Show, and there was a lot of talk of alternative energy like wind power, solar power, and water power, and some other yet more exotic possibilities, but there was no mention whatever of the one most likely alternative to our current attitude towards energy expenditure:CONSERVATION! In fact ever since the Bush administration took power in 2000, there has hardly been a mention of the word CONSERVATION, even though George Bush is a Conservative Republican. Instead we have had an unbelievable expansion of the world economy, and our own economy to levels that were never to be imagined, and in times past might actually have been feared, and for very good reasons! No scientist of repute has ever said that we would ever be able to support six billion people on the level of the present day Americans or Europeans! No scientist has ever even mildly suggested that having six billion people as wasteful and as spoiled and as inefficient as are Americans and Europeans is even remotely possible, and yet here we are in the year 2008 awaiting for the “economic expansion” of India and China, and Africa and South America. That is the economic expansion of some four billion more people than have “expanded” already. Not only that, but there are stock market mavens the world over who not only expected such expansion, but demanded it! As if it were their birth right.

Why was this expansion so desired? Well that’s really the simplest part of my thesis today. Money, what else? Why did all need to have three or four cars? Why must we ski a thousand miles away? Why must we spend fifty percent of our income on entertainment? Why not instead do our best to be efficient and to spend as much of our time producing as not? Why not go for a walk in the park which is but a few blocks away, instead of driving up to the resort which is several hundred miles away? Why not have a small gas efficient car in our driveway, instead of a gas guzzler that wastes a thousand gallons of gas a year? Why travel to some far away country four times a year when we could instead travel to our nearest state park and save the foreign visits for the once in a lifetime vacations that they were formerly? Already I can hear you calling me a communist or an intellectual “terrorist” because my ideas are rebellious and anti-capitalist. But the reality is that my ideas are pretty much conservative and are in fact what we could likely afford in the long run. Unfortunately politicians do not live by bread alone, money is the most important aspect of their campaign, and to be a congressman, or senator, or president someone somewhere has to see the promise of gain, and enrichment and without such a promise being held out, the likelihood of your being a “leader” is really pretty small in the “free’ world, and so instead of embarking on a path to conservation, and the thoughtful careful expenditure of our limited resources, we have instead embarked on of the most wasteful periods in the history of the human race. During the past twelve years our banking system has been opened wide and as much as a hundred trillion dollars have been distributed world wide for all sorts of economic endeavors, many of which were dubious in nature. The housing industry has all but collapsed, as if there were really any doubt about the outcome of lending hundreds of thousands of dollars to people who could barely make ends meet, and is only the first step in a world wide retracement that will purge our present economy of it’s inefficiencies until we have returned to a level of expenditure that we can afford(assuming, and praying, that such a level really exists.) Our economy has become a model of inefficiency and we are now on the verge of a great upheaval that will most certainly change our world view in the next ten to twenty years, quite possibly in ways most forceful and undesirable.

The bottom line is that we have lived through what would appear to be a very wasteful period of historic proportions, and now must make amends.

The solution now is called Conservation! We must now learn to manage the grand consumption of our grand civilization, or we may not long have a civilization to manage at all. There are solutions I think…including the use of ethanol, and even bio-diesel fuel, but nothing at all will happen if we do not take the lead in the United States. These solutions must be mandated or in the end nothing will change, just as nothing changed for forty years after Jimmy Carter urged the Conservation of energy back in 1978. The time is now, we cannot wait, or we shall face ever more serious challenges for our economy now is gigantic and will not take no for an answer to conservation and efficiency. An inefficient economy of these proportions is fatal to our civilization and to ourselves. We must conserve our resources now.

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