Click Here North Star Writers Group
Syndicated Content.
Eric Baerren
Lucia de Vernai
Herman Cain
Dan Calabrese
Alan Hurwitz
Paul Ibrahim
David Karki
Llewellyn King
Nancy Morgan
Nathaniel Shockey
Stephen Silver
Candace Talmadge
Jessica Vozel
Feature Page
David J. Pollay - The Happiness Answer
Cindy Droog - The Working Mom
The Laughing Chef
Mike Ball - What I've Learned So Far
Bob Batz - Senior Moments
D.F. Krause - Business Ridiculous
Roger Mursick - Twisted Ironies
Eric Baerren
  Eric's Column Archive

July 9, 2007

Al Gore’s Live Earth Presumes to Save the Planet? Let’s Try Saving Ourselves


There it was, on my computer screen, written out in digitized letters above the stage:


“Save the planet.”


Save the planet?


I looked up into the sky, expecting to see an asteroid big enough to blot out the sun, driving toward us at the speed of several thousand miles per second to punch a hole through our atmosphere and crack the planet’s crust, splitting the thing in two.


There was nothing. Whew.


I looked back down to see if the words were still there. They were. Oh yes, I remember, this is that Al Gore concert.


It’s a pretty ambitious goal for him . . . saving the planet. What are we saving the planet from, anyway? Ourselves, which makes it even more ambitious.


Most of us realize that the planet doesn’t really need saving, especially from ourselves. Most of us are sophisticated enough to understand that the planet can save itself very well, thank you very much, and that no mess we leave won’t be cleaned up over the march of time, and as natural processes reset their own equilibrium. Anything we do will ultimately be short-lived.


So, why this “Save the planet” business?


I don’t know where it comes from. It’s incorrect, but it’s also highly misleading. No one I know is interested in saving the planet.


Global warming is what prompted Al Gore to help organize Saturday’s worldwide concert series. But, when you attach the phrase “Save the Planet” to the issue, you give people the opportunity to misrepresent the issue by pretending that what you’re after is preventing the boiling of oceans and the melting of rock.


Well, sir, I’d be happy knowing that I could expect our annual harvests on the Great Plains, and while we’re on the topic, in my own backyard to come through every year.


No corn? No wheat? No soybeans? The planet has no problem with that. Until eating falls out of fashion, that could pose certain problems to us.


The same goes for our coastal cities. Will the melting polar ice caps melt enough to drown Norfolk, Baltimore and Houston? Will it finish the job on New Orleans? I’d be lying if I said I knew for certain, but I’m not interested in dismissing the possibility out of hand.


In fact, in this case, I’m willing to take a chance. The odds are stacked heavily against the alternative that I think prudence demands action.


What kind of action? There are certainly some very intriguing ideas on the table out there. Not all of them involve dismantling industry or turning over the world economy to socialists.


A good place to start is the way we think. We’ve gotten ourselves into progressively worse trouble over the last couple hundred years, and the underlying cause always seems to escape us. We think that rules that apply to every other species don’t apply to us. We don’t act like a species that’s unlocked some of nature’s secrets through the scientific method. We act like a species that invented them.


So, it’s not just a matter of treating the symptoms, but of finally getting to the disease. This should be the final wake-up that it’s no longer possible to act as though the rules don’t apply to us. Our thinking needs to become more disciplined according to the way things work. This doesn’t mean limited, only better disciplined.


Undisciplined thinking . . . it’s given us burning rivers and dead lakes, extinct species and acid rain. Each time we’re confronted with these new problems, it’s our first instinct to deny that they exist. Finally, when all other options are exhausted, we acknowledge them and find a solution.

And now, today, we find ourselves confronted with the most complicated, complex problem yet. We’re warming the planet, which means tinkering with the way the world’s weather patterns operate.


We know about crop failures and rising coastlines, but there is also access to drinking water, outbreaks of disease and massive species extinctions. Just to name a few.


Yet, there are actually people – a lot of them – who don’t think this is something that should concern us.


Save the planet? How about let’s save ourselves.


To offer feedback on this column, click here.


© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


Click here to talk to our writers and editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.


To e-mail feedback about this column, click here. If you enjoy this writer's work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry it.

This is Column # EB001. Request permission to publish here.