Why climate change is so controversial

28 07 2009

I realize that the title of this blog post is a bit loaded. This is not a simple situation to understand. There is so much controversy in American politics regarding climate change. It is extraordinarily frustrating to see one’s own leaders, the people who can make the greatest strike against a global problem wasting everyone’s time with endless bickering. Then the bickering that starts in Washington spreads out to the general American public, polarizing many people.

The question is why? Why do our leaders waste precious time, energy, and money fighting each other over trivial issues when the real fight goes ignored? They are used to fighting. That is all Congress has done over the last twenty years. Passing meaningful legislation that will benefit the majority of the American people has become a secondary concern. What really seems to matter to them is winning the next little argument, the next tiny spat. It all seems to be about members of Congress masturbating their own egos at the expense of America and the rest of the world. It is disturbing, it is unproductive, and it is selfish.

As for the American people, it comes down to laziness, fear, and an unwillingness to change. For the last sixty years, we have become accustomed to a way of living that, while very comfortable, is unsustainable. The resistance to accepting the reality of climate change stems from natural conclusion that a large part of the solution and keeping our planet habitable for human life involves them making life changes that they are unaccustomed to and will probably be difficult. We are indeed a nation of whiners and fear-mongers. It would be terrifying for us all to accept the reality of the situation is because the situation is so dire and the moral imperative to do something is inescapable.

The fact is we need solutions and change, not one or the other. We need to make changes in our lives so that we threaten the status of the global climate less. We need technology innovation and risk-taking so that we will have the tools to implement an industrial transformation. We have can have the ability to avert a catastrophe for mankind, but we must have the courage to admit to our mistakes and our flaws.

We all breathe the same air. Despite this, we put massive amounts of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, long-chain hydrocarbons, benzene, and all kinds of other poisons into the air that we all breathe. China has some of the worst air quality in the world. About 400,000 Chinese die every year because of poor air quality. I used to think we humans don’t shit where we eat. I guess I was wrong.

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