Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bunking the environmental threat

Today is the 12th of April, 2007. There is nothing new in the world, yet everything at this very moment is brand spanking new.

I was looking at new stuff on You Tube the other day, and I chanced to see a vid dedicated to debunking the idea that humans are currently impacting the world's climate (now removed from You Tube due to terms of use violation). I was irritated. For the last fifty years, I have been a convinced and confirmed environmentalist.

1957 was the start of the IGY, the International Geophysical Year. My father was a Fullbright Scholar at the university in Wellington NZ in 1958, funded by IGY. The biologists, the botanists, the oceanographers, the meterologists, were already all talking about human impact on the climate in 1958. The freon scare, the CO2 - greenhouse scare, the gulfstream scare, were already firmly emplanted on the scientific agenda. That's fifty years ago. I just hate it when politicians claim that they never heard of the climate threat until recently.
On the one hand, it's never a surprise for anyone that no matter how important the issue, nor how convincing the evidence, there will always be a debunker out there that denies it. And some of the great heroes of history are debunkers. For some of these debunkers it's the evidence and the issue that's important, but for most of them it's simply the denial.

On the other hand, for the last fifty years I have been convinced that whenever an idea has become THE hegemonic consensus (eg: that leaded gasoline is necessary, that cholesterol is poison, that protecting the environment will cost us jobs, or that ... whatever ) its time to question it.

So I meet myself at the door ... the believer who after fighting an uphill battle for 50 years, discovers that the world seems finally to have started listening ... meets the skeptic who has always distrusted the consensus ... Whose judgement should i trust the more - myself ... or myself?

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