red herring (noun):
1: a herring cured by salting and slow smoking to a dark brown color
2: something that distracts attention from the real issue
This morning Kevin L sent me a link to this article by John Coleman, the founder of The Weather Channel. It argues that the whole concept of global warming is a scam, an enormous conspiracy perpetrated by evironmental extremists, politicians, and the liberal media.
Coleman’s view is pretty radical, but it’s pointless to argue. My take is this: Whether or not you believe that the planet is warming, it’s probably not a good idea to dump billions of tons of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into our air and water. There’s no arguing that smog exists or that our waterways are becoming more polluted — we can see it with our own eyes and we experience the impact of these things first hand.
Global warming is a red herring. It distracts attention from the broader, more important issue of sustainability. I would define sustainability as minimizing mankind’s impact on the planet. I don’t think it’s possible for us to have zero negative impact — there’s just too many of us and we have an innate desire for technological advancement. But common sense would dictate that we shouldn’t dump massive amounts of toxic pollutants into our environment, clear-cut our forests, or decimate our fisheries and other natural resources.
I believe that future generations will look back on the period from 1950 to 2050 as the most destructive in the history of mankind. Whether or not the planet is warming, you can see the impact of 50 years of unsustainable living all around us. And unfortuntately I think it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
There. It’s official — I’m a tree hugger.