Tuesday, January 9, 2007

global warming and Al Gore

A couple of weeks ago B. and I watched Al Gore's DVD, "An Inconvenient Truth." He makes global warming look pretty scary. As it probably should.

A couple of things bugged me about his presentation. The axes of his graphs were often unlabeled, or the labels were impossible to read on the screen, making it difficult to assess the true scale of the measurements. A line going up, up, up looks very dramatic...but how much are these graphs "dressed up" to enhance the drama? I took statistics courses in college...I know how possible it is to make mountains out of molehills, or vice versa, depending on your motives.

Nonetheless, I doubt this global warming stuff is all just liberal tree-hugger hype. There appears to be good reliable scientific consensus. It may be an emotional issue, but that doesn't mean it's not happening.

One quote I particularly liked: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it" (Upton Sinclair).

So what can we do about it? Gore suggests that we all go to www.climatecrisis.net and learn about ways to stop global warming. I looked at the site. There are lots of tips to reduce your personal carbon emissions - like eat less meat, insulate your hot water heater, and bike to work if you can. I know this is serious, and it's true we should probably do more things like this, but I inwardly had to laugh a little...it seems like spitting in the wind when we still have huge coal burning plants and enormous corporations emitting enormous amounts of these noxious greenhouse gases. Personally, I feel we would get more bang from our buck by bugging all our senators and representatives. So that is what I'm doing, for now. After that movie it seemed hard to do NOTHING.

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