Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Few Things You Need to Remember about Global Warming

It's all so confusing, especially given the sums being shoveled out the back door by Big Oil outfits like Exxon to keep you confused. It's not just confusing, it's frightening. We all find it frightening, me too. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be alarming, it should if only because it is.

Tackling global warming will be a scalding test of your - and my - beliefs. Principles are delightful to righteously espouse when they don't really cost anything. When they come with a price, however, they're not nearly as popular.

In coming years, we're going to face a steadily mounting list of demanded sacrifices, that is if we're going to confront the problem. Critics will denounce it as a socialist plot, an unprecedented transfer of wealth. It's nothing of the sort. Global warming transcends political belief, at least of the sort that Edmund Burke might recognize. It is also anything but some felonious transfer of wealth. Wealth has little to do with it except as it may represent unconscionable privilege to continue damaging mankind.

Global warming is a global challenge and we don't even begin on the same page of the prayer book. If you're reading this you probably haven't felt much in the way of the repercussions of global warming. You're not one of those who is already displaced or dying from it. Displaced, dying? Yes, now go ahead and fill up that Hummer, eh?

You see, those who are dying as you read this are those who don't have Hummers or Esplanades, yachts or holidays abroad. However, those who are killing those who don't have Hummers or Esplanades, yachts and holidays abroad, do. Let that sink in for a minute unless there's something irresistible on the Home Shopping Channel.

First question, my fellow Christians, are we going to stop killing these people? Second question, are we going to let things slide while they die in ever greater numbers? Yes, you're right, I am looking at you Born Agains - you self-proclaimed, truly devout Christians. Hey, what's the deal? Is it going to be the teaching of Christ or is it time to scurry away into the dark reaches of the Old Testament again? Don't look to Falwell to bail you out, he's all tied up with his real maker at the moment.

So there's the first issue you need to keep in mind as you express your opinion - or vote - on this enormous issue: do we in the indulged West have a right to cause the deaths of the less fortunate? TO BE CONTINUED


Anonymous said...

Hello The Mound from haygonegold:
I've been home for several weeks now and I see the increase in air pollution as I gaze upon the hills close by here in Victoria. I understand everything you have written in your blog and no one knows better than I coming out of Asia where air pollution alone is stagnating. Warned by a doctor in Thailand to get out after spending time in South Korea and China, my breathing has much improved now. So many people talk about how we have to do something about it. It would be a new twist to read some suggestions. Can you imagine a countries population banding together and getting rid of Walmart...that happened in Asia. Just imagine what we could do if we were united in this country. What solutions do you have in mind?

The Mound of Sound said...

Solutions? I can't pretend to be learned enough for solutions beyond those suggested by the likes of Lovelock or Monbiot. I can do my bit at the individual level but when I see a Hummer en route to the grocery store it's plain that relying on personal sacrifice is praying to the Tooth Fairy.
Never have we been confronted by a problem of this dimension and complexity. The solution(s) have to be integrated and embraced at every level of society: political, corporate and individual. To do that and retain our core, democratic principles will require a new generation of leader who can bring enormous political and moral powers of persuasion. If we don't generate that type of leader, however, environmental conditions will deteriorate fairly quickly (two decades roughly)spawning global social, political and even security threats that will probably lead to autocratic rule of some sort and the sacrifice of some or all of our democratic values.
Lovelock describes the process we will have to accept as "sustainable retreat", a progression to a state of social austerity. As Monbiot points out, that'll mean no more air travel abroad for example and the institution of some form of carbon rationing.
Some months ago I predicted that we will find a solution to global warming. What remains to be seen is how good a solution that will be. The best solutions were foreclosed to us two decades ago. The best remaining options will also be lost to us in a few years. As we go down the list, each option becomes progressively harsher and more oppressive. That's what can happen when you're playing a losing hand against nature.
There are some excellent books you could check out. "Heat" by George Monbiot, "Revenge of Gaia" by James Lovelock deal with global warming directly. To understand some of the political obstacles facing us on this continent, you might read "American Theocracy" by Kevin Phillips, "American Fascists" by Chris Hedges and "Failed States" by Noam Chomsky. These books focus on the United States but many of the issues raised are relevant to Canada also. Religious fundamentalism and movement conservatism are forces that are alive and powerful today and could impede the remedial action that so badly needs to be taken.
Hope this helps.