I was becoming concerned this week at rant time, Sunday morning, 9:00 AM. We had our company picnic the day before on an overcast and nearly perfect day in cheese land. Sunday was similar. There were orioles, grosbeaks, yellow finches, house finches, ruby throated hummingbirds, downy woodpeckers, red breasted woodpeckers, cardinals, nuthatches, chickadees and other customers freeloading on our smorgasbord of bird offerings. But then while reviewing my sources, one of which is the Google energy efficiency updates, emailed promptly at 4:51 PM CDT everyday, I came across this cheery piece. There’s the topic of the week.
It started out with the article that “Sex is Better with Energy Efficiency”, which talked about abysmal EE marketing and we all know why. Because EE is as sexy as, I don’t know – a tumbleweed? Road kill? A tree stump? Something like this?
Backing up a little, there were huge changes in media in the 1980s and 1990s. In the 1980s, obviously the biggest breakthrough was MTV with Madonna and Michael Jackson videos. Twenty-four hour “specialty” startups like CNN and ESPN came onto the scene. In the 1990s, information dissemination exploded another order of magnitude with Netscape and email. Now we have Twitter and tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, bazillions of websites. You can find millions of sheep and websites that will feed whatever theory, phobia, and frenzy you want.
Let’s go to the headlines in the referenced blog. Climate change caused: the Duluth flood, western wildfires, disappearance of arctic ice (uncovering more oil reserves to hasten global warming), ruinous healthcare, hottest May on record, paranoid oil companies, 72% of everyone, accelerating temperature increases, cannibalism amongst Antarctica’s penguins. I made the penguin thing up myself.
Global warming is a threat. There is no doubt about it and I’ve never claimed otherwise. But ambulance chasing the latest natural disaster insults the intelligence of any human being. First a side note: the record 24 hour rainfall for Duluth is now a measly 7.25 inches? That is amazing. We had historic flooding in the La Crosse area a few years ago (back to back years even), and the first one was about a foot of rain in a 24 hour period. On our sidewalk, it almost filled a 5 gallon bucket to the top with just water falling out of the sky. Incredible!
Last year we had a pathetically warm winter, but the previous several were reminiscent of the old fashioned cold snowy ones when I was a kid. In my freshman year of college, we had a heavy snow in October, and it never melted through the winter until May or something. A couple years later, it was pathetically warm again. The year I graduated – the night before moving out of the 4 plex after graduation, it was minus 28F. You don’t forget things like that. Notice I apply “pathetic” to warm conditions. I like it cold when it should be cold so I don’t want global warming at all – even for selfish reasons.
Climatic temperatures have risen a couple degrees over the past century, but for natural disasters, people should look back in history to see some of the whompers. Consider the dust bowl in the 1930s. Look at the kid nearby, 1936. He would be about my father’s age and could very well still be living somewhere – snowbirding on a beach in Florida or something? That’s Oklahoma in the picture folks. Not Saudi Arabia. Imagine if that happened today!
The climate change movement would do well with me if the ambulance chasing ceased. For example, the strong hurricanes a few years ago, including Katrina, were reportedly a global warming issue. But then there were none for about three straight years – actually haven’t had squat since that year. What happened? Last year there was major flooding along the Missouri River, the result of a very cold and snowy winter in its watershed. Not long before that, the river was at all time lows. For two or three years in a row, before last winter, the east coast had obscene levels of snow – and we got gypped in the Midwest. Give us some record snow already! It’s our turn!
Twenty-four hour news has to cover something so they cover the hell out of any anomaly – like it’s the first time it’s EVER happened. And any schmo sitting in their basement can be taken seriously if he whips up enough frenzy. If a person took 1% of this seriously they would have to be hospitalized for hypochondria.
Call me crazy, but when a tornado flattens a town, take care of sick and injured, and secure food, water and shelter first. Buy furniture later. As environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg points out per the UN even, deaths due to natural disaster including global warming average 27,000 per year. Lack of clean water and poor sanitation are responsible for 3 million deaths per year. Clean water and sanitation in a huge part of the world is cost prohibitive to the locals. But the ability for the west to develop clean water for them is a relative peanut.
Lastly, financial collapse like that which happened in the Great Depression will happen again. It isn’t a matter of if, but when, and it will all be the result of political self interest mixed with stupidity and ignorance of history and thinking, “it’s different this time”. No. It isn’t.
The ironic thing both the economy/social welfare systems and global warming have in common is; by the time they become grave threats, people will have heard the wolf cries for too long. When the threat level reaches the danger zone, people have long since been tone deaf.