I was really moved by the global warming article in yesterday's Week in Review. The article said that though there may be some debate about the cause of the warming, there is one thing that is agreed upon. Things are heating up.
The article spoke about a submerged Manhattan and drowned polar bears. It also discussed how difficult it is politically to bring about change, which will only be felt two generations from now.
What can I do to make a difference? Recycle, sure. But that's nothing. Maybe buy a Prius. Certainly donate to environmental groups and vote for politicians who do the right thing.
But I can also make a difference by blogging about John Tierney's stupid op ed entitled "Cheer up. Earth Day is Over".
Tierney writes that Americans are understandably dubious about global warming. After all, they have been scared with false prophesies in the past. There's no need to give up our SUVs. Just relax. Some new technology will come along to make it all better.
The Magic Fossil Fuel Fairy will wave her magic wand over all the land, and we'll be able to consume to our heart's desire. No nasty emissions to heat up the earth. The Magic Fossil Fuel Fairy will make more oil fields after the old ones dry up. And the Magic Fossil Fuel Fairy will do it all without disrupting the natural habitats. The Magic Fossil Fuel Fairy will make sure that those fuel supplies will be found in happy, little democratic countries without religious extremists.
There can be no environmental change without sacrifice. No Magic Fairies at the door. Tierney writes that our rivers and air are cleaner than they were in the past because industry adopted new technology. No asceticism needed.
Yes, but that technology was very expensive. Industry did not want to absorb those costs. They had to be forced by legislation to put air purifiers on their smoke stacks. They had to be forced to stop dumping crap in our rivers and streams and to dispose of their trash in a much more costly manner. Those costs were forced on industry that later imposed the costs onto the consumers. There was a lot whole of sacrifice that went into making the Hudson River cleaner, and there will have to be much more in the future if we have any hope of saving the polar bears and downtown Manhattan.