I am wading back into the tepid Climate Change pool today because it is topical and I enjoy being lambasted in the comments.
If you managed to pull yourself away from playing "Modern Warfare 2" these past few days, you most likely have heard there is a big climate summit going on in Copenhagen. The summit has been marred by disagreements inside and protests outside. I am always amazed violent protesters think their tactics will force the powers-that-be to be swayed in the direction of their cause. After reading Martin Luther King Jr's biography, I am equally amazed by his resolve to the non-violent civil disobedience movement. In the face of the threat of incredible violence and oppression, he stuck to the non-violent way and gave birth to most likely the largest single movement in America's history. So, it is my opinion that these current protesters in Copenhagen are approaching their protests incorrectly. Clearly they are passionate, but it's the wrong approach. For example, recently the University of California voted to increase tuition in the school system substantially. In response to this, some angry students (and some non-students, figure that out) significantly vandalized a University's chancellors house. So, let's see how this makes sense. In an attempt to overturn the tuition hike, these students come to the conclusion that violence would get them to their goal. Not only do they do themselves a disservice, but now the true, non-violent anti-tuition hike movement has been set back and will not be taken seriously.
More personally, my wife is terrible when dealing with customer service. She will walk into a store trying to return some items and in the matter of only a few seconds be yelling at the poor customer service people when she does not get her way. Not only is it embarrassing for me should I happen to be with her, but it is completely counter intuitive to her goal. No customer service person wants to be yelled at, and no customer service person can change the return policy of a company. Rather, the non-violent way is a better way, I tell her. If a company has a policy you do not agree with, don't shop there...period. If enough people agree with you and stop shopping at a store, then things will change. It just makes more sense. Sure, I am ridiculed at home for my substantial "banned stores" list, but at least I am happy at the stores I do shop at.
Back to Copenhagen. These protesters will not get anywhere with their current tactics. Nobody likes a whiner. Rather, they should concentrate on tactics that actually do work. Support companies that align with their values. Visit countries that understand Climate Change and the need to reduce. If enough people agree with you, things will change.
As soon as the Copenhagen summit began, I began to see headlines on various skeptic sites such as "Blizzard Dumps Snow on Copenhagen as Leaders Battle Warming...", "Journalist Complain About Cold in Denmark", etc. This tactic is an underhanded way of bringing doubt into very serious talks that will have the capability of changing the world, one way or another. This drives me nuts. I understand the energy some skeptics have put into research and vast understanding of the "debate", but such hit-and-run tactics are non-scientific and downright ignorant. I should not even have to say this, but to take one example of weather on one specific day to make a point about climate change is not accurate. Climate Change has to be referenced in terms of...climate. Since climate is the long-term study of averages and trends, by definition "Snow Forecast for Copenhagen" in no way should enter the argument against Climate Change.
Distraction has long been the tactic taken by Climate Change skeptics. Rather than attack the message, they attach the messenger. Instead of attacking Al Gore's message, they attack his energy use, his financial investments, and his lifestyle. Instead of finding evidence that Climate Change in itself is not manmade, they hack emails and post them on the internet. Like the violent protesters in Copenhagen, these types of tactics turn me away from the actual movement of the the real Climate Change skeptics.
On the other side, Climate Change scientists use actual data to make their points. This, obviously, is a more substantial way to prove your point. Actual facts and data go a long way.
Don't tell me that Al Gore uses a lot of energy. Instead question the slight cooling in the middle of the 1900's and the expansion of such glaciers as the one on top of Mt. Shasta. Those are specific examples that should be studied and are valid in the Climate Change "debate".
Lastly, I hope beyond hope that the skeptics are correct. Them being correct means that Climate Change is not necessarily man-made if real at all, and we can all go ahead with our happy, destructive ways. If they are wrong, we have to make significant changes in our lifestyle just to maintain a world that I love. But if they are wrong, the longer we wait, the worse of it will be for us. So, doesn't it make sense to make sustainable decisions now, rather than later. Doesn't it make sense to save a little energy here and there, pollute just a little less, consume just a little less, and be just a little more aware if it means the health of our planet?
Updated: 6:30 PM GMT on December 17, 2009
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