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July 9, 2007

Live Dearth: Global Warming Movement Needs Better Leaders than Al Gore & Co.


No doubt having extensively researched all world problems and the intricacies of global warming itself, celebrities flocked to the Live Earth events of this past Saturday to educate the world about the environmental crisis. They were there to save the environment, they insisted. They then swore to never again participate in the consumption of excessive energy in order to set a good example for their fans.


Oh wait. Just kidding. They actually proceeded to fly their private jets back to a lifestyle of energy consumption that would make even the most insensible among us sick to the stomach.


Live Earth was simply a reflection of what is wrong with the anti-global warming movement. And there is much that is wrong with it.


First, we should note that the global warming debate is very important. But indeed, it has to be a reasonable debate and must carry all the characteristics of such. It must be fair and placed in the right scope, and the arbiter must not start with a foregone conclusion. Just because global warming, if in fact caused by human behavior, carries the potential for calamitous consequences, there is still no reason to allow those predicting disaster to shut out all others from what continues to be a legitimate debate. It is not right, as Al Gore has done, to complain that the media is being too balanced about an issue the severity and uncertainty of which indeed requires such balance.


Second, global warming, regardless of its extent, causes and effects, has to be put into perspective. Even some of the darkest predictions place the truly dangerous effects of global warming at many decades into the future. The Al Gore types must hence remember that a lot can happen between now and then that could potentially make global warming completely irrelevant.


One of these most obvious threats, for instance, is Islamic extremism. With the radicals controlling a significant minority of the world’s Muslim population, it is most probably more urgent to coordinate world action against such extremism than to host global concerts to fight long-term environmental problems. The world as we know it would probably be considered over for us if, in a few decades, religious fanatics take over governments in Paris and London.


Third, the campaign against global warming should not be conducted in a manner that alienates much of the population. Having a divisive leader such as Al Gore lead such a campaign by default loses much popular support for the cause. The campaign must also seek to gain such support through the use of more intellectual firepower and decreased reliance on celebrity influence. And if the activists are correct about global warming, these intellectual arguments are bound to win them popular backing.


It is difficult to take a cause seriously when its lead proponents, including many Hollywood actors, drive a Toyota Prius – a hybrid car – only to burn enough private jet fuel to drive such a Prius several times around the globe. Such behavior is the same as ordering a Big Mac, large fries, six chicken nuggets and a dessert at a McDonald’s before filling your cup with Diet Coke. The anti-global warming leader himself, Al Gore, devours 20 times as much energy as the average American.


Not that these activists do not have the right to consume such energy. They can do as they please. But when they ask, then insist, then force others to reduce energy consumption, their actions become relevant to the issue. Why should car makers be compelled to improve car mileage by a man who consumes enough energy to light up a small island? How can Live Earth be taken seriously by individuals and corporations when, as an expert calculated, we need to plant 100,000 trees to offset the effect of it?


Environmentalism is generally a very good cause. Protect those rainforests. Save endangered species. And if global warming is indeed being caused by humans, take reasonable action to prevent it.


But keep your mind open. Understand that China passing the U.S. in greenhouse emissions is going to be even more problematic for environmentalists. Accept nuclear power as a needed energy source. Remember that there are more important problems to deal with in the near future. And yes, at least give the appearance of sincerity by acting as to truly want to save the Earth. It is the least you can do to be taken seriously if you have chosen to adopt the cause.

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


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