jump to navigation

The (Al) Gore-y Reality of Global Warming, er, Climate Change December 8, 2009

Posted by Sanity in Environment, Politics, reform, research, science.
Tags: , , , ,
1 comment so far

EnvironMENTAList or EnvironmentaLOST

The truth is that we are all being (pressure-)treated like we have sap for brains.  Many who care about the environment do have good intentions, but fail to see there are things bigger than the forest … smaller too, but more on that later.

First, in case you missed the memo, “global warming” is an overused term that has failed to deliver when people are freezing their butts off.  (Maybe if we had lost the Cold War, there wouldn’t have been any Global Warming – never mind).  So, now they refer to it as “Climate Change”.

This article is about reminding us to find a balance in all things.  There are specific and obvious problems that I support fighting, but we need to be aware of the tactics that are spoiling any good work being done.  Some people are old enough to remember smog, leaded gasoline, and the commercials with the Indian shedding a tear at all the litter and waste.  We need to remember the areas we have and can make progress in, and we need to admit other areas that have “lost their way” and why.  So let’s go over some tactics and loss of focus that led us to here.

1.     Aim farther than your target – There are those that push WAY past the real target that we should shoot for.  The reasoning is that compromise and ground lost from the cost of interim battles that are lost will bring us to where we really should be.  The problem is that the tug of war goes both ways.  The more extreme one side pulls, the other side goes farther the other way.  Both sides think the other will lose credibility by looking stupid, but they both end up looking like children.  It slows the real progress we need.

2.     The ends justify the means – Again, both sides do this, thinking that some damage is inevitable to either make progress or make the other side look bad.  We do not solve problems by blocking technology from happening, but we absolutely need to reasonably protect what we have while trying to find that next ‘breakthrough’.  John D. Rockefeller was a pioneer of industry that many would focus jealousy-based bias against for making so much profit, but he created 300 products out of the waste produced from refining oil.  He didn’t just care about profit.  He went the extra step to find more and more products even from the ‘waste’ of his primary business.

3.     Lack of ‘Emergency’ desperation – It is really hard to get people motivated without a dire emergency to prove why we need to do something.  Many people are too lazy to turn off automatic sprinkler systems when it is raining.  We throw away so much food because we have it in abundance.  And litter will eventually blow into someone else’s yard.  No one would have really done a massive overhaul of our national security organizations before 9/11/2001.  Without those emergencies, some individuals/groups are guilty of “creating” emergencies in one fashion or another.  Another fact is that the more money we spend and the faster we spend it on fighting to clean up the “damage”, the less accountability we place on companies to be responsible in the first place.

4.     Corruption hijacks the cause – There is certainly proof that people will jump on the money train.  Research and development laboratories would rather keep funding for what they are doing and that can push them to expand the scope of things to justify their existence.  Their jobs are on the line if we make TOO much progress on fighting pollution and holes in the ozone layer.

5.     New “markets” for the “evil corporations” – Has everyone forgotten the industries and corporations we initially blamed for all the pollution and waste?  Suddenly we respond to “green” products and give them more of our money?  To illustrate, let’s pick on the newer light bulbs (and snopes.com – if someone asks, I will do a fuller article on my beef against snopes.com-type sites).  The light bulbs contain mercury, which is a hazardous material.  DO NOT just pick up the broken pieces by hand and vacuum up the small stuff.  DO read the special steps on snopes.com to clean up a broken bulb.  Note:  IF there is not serious amount of a poisonous material, why the need to evacuate the room, avoid breathing while opening a window and shutting off the air conditioner, etc, etc?  How many people are aware of this difference from the old bulbs?  In their rush for gaining a new buck, proper thought and education was avoided on pushing these new bulbs on us.

6.     Keep the “scare factor” going but don’t show TOO much, well, ANY progress – In the past few days alone I have see headlines implying that 1) the slower rising temperatures of the last few years is temporary and 2) the extreme temperatures of the last few years proves … blah blah blah.  The environmental extremists are in an interesting ‘pickle’.  If they show too much progress, there will not be a need to spend so much research money during hard economic times.  If they show no progress, then why are we spending so much money getting nowhere.

7.    “Magic Happens Here” or “God of the Gaps” – With such a large topic, both sides rely a lot on slight of hand on things they have no explanation or no simple explanation for.  Mr. Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth is an example.  The movie made some bold declarations and presentations of “facts” that have been disproved, but to my knowledge Mr. Gore and his followers move forward on their high horse as if there are completely in the right.  They are rushed to say more than they should, to motivate the masses to move faster on “saving the environment”, when they should stick to REAL facts and fight to educate on how important those facts are.

8.    “Aim small, miss small” – Yes, I ripped a quote from Mel Gibson’s “The Patriot”.  At the beginning, I alluded to the “see the forest through the trees” analogy.  There are things larger than the forest, and smaller.  MAYBE one forest is less important to save than other things that help ten other forests grow stronger or faster.  For example, you can continue fighting corporations cutting down one set of trees and maybe that is important, but how many resources have been lost to forest fires throughout the west?  How much pressure is there to fight that problem.  Now, for the “small” part…

We waste our resources.  That’s fact.  There may be less glory in expanding education on recycling, but it is an important step.  Does it help much to blame local problems on “global warming” and throw arms up in despair and leave it at that?  Or are there many things individuals can do preserve our resources?  I used to take more nature hikes.  I would often regret not bringing an extra garbage bag to pick up simple trash.  If beaches are eroding, take a bag of sand with you each time you GO to the beach.  If you throw out food that has passed its “freshness” date, find out if homeless shelters can use it (or the container it is in).  Don’t just blindly buy new “green” products just because some “corporation” SAYS it is green.  Those who do not care about simple, provable examples or of damage we are doing to the environment, they will be no more convinced by Global Warming data.

Be creative and personally do things to save the environment.  Do it, because it is right to do so.

Stem cell research vs. “Laboratory bailout” September 23, 2009

Posted by Sanity in Politics, research, science.
Tags: , , , ,
1 comment so far

Everyone has probably heard enough about embryonic stem cell research to wonder if it will provide a cure to the symptoms we get on any subject that has been pushed and pushed and pushed.  After listening to a podcast of David Barton’s program from sometime in February 2009, I wanted to focus on two interesting points brought up.

First is the rhetoric of “cure all” promises sold to us on any stem cell research.  Now, G. W. Bush did not ban embryonic stem cell research.  He banned federal funding of ‘harvesting’ new embryos for their stem cells.  Laboratories already had plenty of material to do research on.  But out of that material and research on adult stem cells, embryonic stem cells has not produced any benefits that adult stem cells have not provided.  Also, the dangers of stem cell research are not publicized.  According to the show, Fox was the only station that publicized the results of a particular case that cause tumors in a human subject from a stem cell experiment.  This is not a new area of “safe science” that has no side effects or failed experiments.

The second point was implied that the motivation for the research funding is a form of another “bailout”.  Many laboratory jobs, or research jobs, are affected by the economy as well.  Now I disagreed with the magnitude of motives behind wanting this particular funding or the lack of guarantee on results.  Research IS very important and cannot be eliminated, even during a recession, but one does have to accept that there are limited resources.  Just because funding could go up during economic high points, it does not mean we are obligated to “socialize” research and guarantee those jobs.

In the end, I believe the fight for/against the use of embryos needs to be dropped completely.  With all “value of life” arguments aside, I suspect the motivator is seen as acquiring of embryos can be a “hidden” or minimal cost compared to the equivalent of organ donation or volunteer test subjects.  I have no problem with ethical science.  If ethical lines are blurred to cut costs or for convenience, then I would fight for the side of caution and improvement of methods and not allow the easy way out since embryos can’t speak for themselves yet.