Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Problem with Activism on Global Warming

This is the time of year that I can't really say I sympathize with nature. They say we humans have an adverse impact on it, but today I really don't see it. The grass has never been more lush. The rain keeps coming down. The mosquitoes have never been healthier. I know that climate change is a problem, but the weather at my place is just fine. We've had some heavy rains, but then the sun comes out and dries us off. It's hard to get worked up about the crisis between man and nature when you're setting up for a barbecue. My biggest problem with the outdoors is picking off the ticks when I get inside. Everything seems just fine. The Amazon has lost 3 percent of itself to fires in the last 12 years, but I think we've balanced that out here with the growth of bittersweet, golden rod, nettles and assorted other impossible to destroy weeds that have taken over our garden. You get my point. Our view as humans is so dependent on local context that despite the best information in the world and the preponderance of scientific reasoning in setting policy, the more we're told about the dangers of climate change and global warming, the more we want to see the evidence. And the evidence for the impacts of human activity on average global temperatures does not happen at the local scale. As activists gear up for a summer of civil disobedience around the issue of the Keystone Pipeline and the need for an immediate shift away from our dependence on fossil fuels, the biggest obstacle will not be the evil oil company barons and their allies in Washington. It will be everyone's natural inclination to judge the severity of any crisis by what they can see before their eyes.
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