Sunday, September 26, 2010

Why we have to go Green - We have no choice.

A few days ago I turned on the talk-radio show I usually listen to early in the morning to find that the host was a temporary fill-in, an ultra right-wing Wingnut. I listened to his nonsense anyway, and to the nonsense of the Wingnut callers. He used the typical language, the canned, and expected, responses, and laughed his little smirky laugh. The part that got me was the five minutes or so that he spoke about climate change and he scoffed at the Democrat's efforts to pass a climate change law. He called climate change science a "myth" and made a big case that the climate change we are experiencing is due to "natural" cycles of the Sun. He dismissed all of the science on climate change as so much hype and junk science and concluded that America would be better off by doing nothing.

The fact is that we no longer have a choice in the matter. The world has made the choice for us. In this article, In Passive-House Standards, a Brighter Shade of Green -, there is every indication that Europe has already decided to go Green in house building. The point of the article, of course, is about building an energy-passive house, the details about doing that and how difficult it is in the United States where building standards and home insurance practices have not caught up. While the details are interesting, that's not the point I thought of. The point I noticed is: Europe is already doing it. Thomas Friedman is a New York Times OP-ED Columnist who also studies and follows the Green movement, not only in the United States, but in other countries. He also had an article in today's Times about Green initiatives, here, regarding China. China, too, is going Green, big time. In fact, China is going directly to Green without passing through the period of growth of fossil fuels that the United States went through. Both Europe and China aren't waiting on the United States to show its "world" leadership. They have thumbed their noses at our inaction.

The problem with doing nothing is that we continue to use huge amounts of fossil fuels, paying a huge amount of money for it, most of which goes to other countries, and the total cost is passed down to each of us, the consumer and taxpayer. At what point will we, you and I, have to turn off our air conditioner or furnace, or not drive our car, because we can't afford the price? What will we do then? Go back to using horses and buggies? So, our bigger problem is that our economy continues to be based on fossil fuels, and when the rest of the world economies shift away from those fuels, ours becomes antiquated; our companies continue to move to other countries, labor moves out of the U.S., we become irrelevant, immaterial, unimportant to the world. We become a third-world country. We become as poor as dirt.

The problem with the "natural" cycle argument is that it isn't happening now, and that the Sun has caused it in the past is, in itself, so rare that we can't even guess as to when it last happened. In fact, a solar flare large enough to heat us up, strong enough to pass through our magnetic shield, would kill us in less time than we can snap our fingers. It's a ridiculous argument. In most cycles that have occurred in the past, high levels of carbon dioxide was the cause. Except in those past events, the high levels of carbon dioxide was caused by unusually high volcano activity, asteroid hits, or both. There is no unusually high volcano activity or asteroid to blame for current carbon levels, around 350 parts per million. We'll be HOT at 450 ppm! There is only us and our high use of fossil fuels to blame. It won't be long! If you want to read about this stuff, go here, Scientific American. There's a lot to read. Educate yourself. The Right-Wing is pulling their argument out of a dark place - you know where.

I guess it all depends on what we want to be when we grow up. We can be relevant, or we can be the party of "No." We can be "cute," defiant, rebellious children, back-talking and smart-mouthed in the face of good logic and evidence, at our own peril. The Republicans, Right-wing Wingnut talk show hosts, Tea Party, Karl Rove and Fox News preach about obstructing climate change laws, voting "No" on everything, for the sole purpose of making a U.S. President fail, but they are putting the final nail in America's coffin. A coffin built by economic ignorance and climate change ignorance. I doubt that we'll like our grave. Take a look at what our grave will look like: Africa.


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