Recently there was a story on NPR that stated (and I’m forgetting the statistic) that there was a dramatic decrease in the amount of people that believed global warming was real. It focused on this one teenage girl who thought it was an interesting theory, but like evolution, upon further scrutiny the argument wouldn’t hold up. That’s what I perceive to be the biggest gap between smarties and dumbies — the dumbs perceive scientific fact to be “theory”.
Now I’m going to try very hard and not just make this an us-vs-them post. Some rant about how certain people are retarded and I’m awesome and everyone who thinks like me is therefore awesome. While true, I will try and break it down a little more sensitively.
On this NPR documentary, Ira Glass pitted this very articulate and level headed (yet completely misinformed) teenage girl against a scientist who studied global warming and the effect that humans have on this planet. The scientist laid out point after point, and Ira made sure that the girl understood each point so that nothing was lost in translation as it got quite technical, and when the scientist was done he asked, “have any of these points convinced you that global warming is real?” To which the teenage girl replied, “it’s a very interesting theory.”
It sounds like more of a philosophical debate now rather than fact vs. fiction. Clearly this teenage girl, and the others like her, will not be swayed with fact. I would ask why, but it seems like their minds are made up. To me, it makes the most logical sense to take the word of someone who has spent their entire life studying these things as opposed to a few Google searches and reading the blogs of conspirators/fucking weirdos (yes, I understand that to the people I’m trying to convince I am the weirdo blog conspiracy guy). But it’s not just one scientist who is ringing the alarm bell. It’s many. In fact, the entire scientific community. Yet pundits, politicians, bog water people, friends and neighbors, even teenage girls, think that their conclusion is more sound. They know. Perhaps they know more about the theory of relativity than Albert Einstein?
But, there’s new evidence that suggest even the theory of relativity is broken due to recent discoveries. And to that, one might say, “see, Thomas? You’ve proven yourself wrong right before your very eyes.” You’re right. The only thing any human can be exactly sure is whatever cause and effect they experience for themselves. This is precisely the reason why I think the world is doomed. Too many people will shrug it off, then when Mad Max: Real Life Edition hits they’ll say “oh, wait…shit. Now I see it!” Actually, they’ll probably blame it on hippy liberals or the gays. Or actually, they’ll probably just call it The Rapture and blame it on God. Don’t you see, you fools? You’ve only yourselves to blame! FOOOOOLLLSSSS!
However, the theory of relativity is actually genuinely a theory. It’s plausible, and until this recent discovery (whatever it is) we could view the cause and effect and deem it to be relatively accurate (see what I did there?). Global warming on the other hand is based on factual data and evidence. Real, tangible things. From carbon rings in ice, to satellite photos, to rises in temperatures, higher snowfalls, the emergence of super storms, and much much more — all linked to humans and their machines. So if there’s all this evidence, why deny it? I personally don’t understand this. But then again, I don’t understand religion. I don’t see how anyone can base their guiding compass in life on unquantifiable nothingness. On faith.
The difference between faith and global warming is big, though. Ideally, you can believe in God and I won’t, and we can still be friends and it won’t effect anything other than the odd intellectual debate at a dinner party. But if you don’t believe in global warming and I do, then you consume more while I strive to not, and you directly melt my planet. Please don’t melt my planet.
Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps I’ve presented global warming as fact but in reality it’s scientific category is indeed theory. What is required for it to be fact?
Part of me feels like it’s not wanting to admit that you’re wrong. Or better yet, not wanting to have to change. I remember when I was learning about the food industry and discovering how utterly evil it is and wanting to share it all with people. “Don’t make me watch that!” or, “I don’t want to read that!” came up again and again, some people even admitting that if they saw or knew about all the atrocities that are being committed to our livestock, our agriculture, which trickles to the environment, and indeed you, that they’d have to change. “If I see that cow filled with hormones wallowing in its own shit fed on a diet of corn it can’t digest while it’s still alive as it’s electrocuted and mauled by handlers, I will never be able to eat McDonalds again.” Good. You shouldn’t be eating Mcdonalds you fat fuck!!!
“If I subscribe to your hippy enviro-nerd “theory” then I will feel guilty for driving my SUV in the city, or when I don’t recycle, or when I leave my lights on, or when I flush my toilet just for fun, or when I x, y, z.” Good! That’s entirely the point. But look, I’m not a vegetarian. I love meat. I eat beef and pork and chicken and everything under the sun. Do I eat it every day? No. When I do eat it, do I try and eat ethically reared livestock? Yes. Does that happen all the time? No, but most of the time it does. I’m not perfect but I try. The “hundred-percenters” are usually really weird. I’m like a seventy-to-eighty-percenter.
The same goes for the environment. Look, even if you don’t think global warming is real, you can see the effects of mankind and our machines, right? You can walk outside Los Angeles and see the smog. Or any major city. Or you can see the rivers being polluted. You can see the vast areas, acres upon acres, of forest (needed to turn CO2 into oxygen) cut down. These are all tangible things to most people. Ok, so perhaps we can all agree that we people are detrimental to the well being of the planet. I’m not saying don’t drive a car. I’m saying pay attention to fuel efficiency and indeed what type of fuel — I drive an ‘82 Benz and that mutha fucka runs of vegetable oil…shit’s cherry red with chrome trim! Chrome trim, biatch! I also had vegan sushi for the first time the other night. Yeah. Fishless sushi. And guess what. It was great! My point is — there’s an alternative for almost everything. And that’s good, because biologists predict all wild edible marine life to be gone in under a century. Yay! Fuck you Japan, you kill whales and dolphins!
It’s a collection of little things. The big things have to come from powers beyond you — like figuring out how to power cities from hydrogen. But if you willingly pull the wool over your eyes you do no help to anyone. And I get the reaction to withstand ideas that are fed to you. I get it. Fight the power, fuck the establishment, question everything. That’s good. It’s funny to me that questioning everything hasn’t led you to atheism and a strong belief that we’re all going to kill ourselves because of overpopulation and overconsumption, but hey…whatever. At least, in the meantime, while you figure it out, do us all a kindness and buy some florescent bulbs for crying out loud — they’ll save you money in the long run anyway.
This is the best and scariest video yet. And it’s in my eyes completely foreseeable, as there’s too many people who don’t think anything needs to change. Watch the video on the main page there. Ooof. What a doosey.