Those who know me know I am not one quick to praise American politicians, even Democrats. However, tonight I had the distinct privilege of seeing a presentation by former VP Al Gore on global warming and, I must say, he is quite a presence.
In person, he is larger than you'd think and he has a lot more charisma than you'd expect. His presentation was rhetorically brilliant and downright inspirational. Gore is a man passionate about the moral imperative that we owe to ourselves, future generations, and other life on earth, to preserve the health of our planet.
For almost 90 minutes, he barraged us with evidence: charts, graphs, statistics, projections, and, perhaps most compelling, photographs of the devastation that humankind has wrought upon our environment. Yet not once did I find myself bored, so enraptured was I by his words.
Gore laid to rest any doubts I might have entertained about how serious this problem is, and how utterly irresponsible it is to ignore it. It is absolutely despicable that a few corporations jeopardize the entire future of our species for the sake of their narrowly self-interested avarice, actively spreading disinformation to undermine a scientific fact. That the Republican party is beholden to these interests and aids them in the rape of our planet is unconscionable.
For instance, while in the last 10 years, not a single peer-reviewed article on climate change has cast doubt on global warming, roughly half of all popular news and magazine articles have tried to create a controversy where there is none. All thanks to a few people whose pockets grow fatter if you believe a falsehood. Listen, people, global warming is a fact. Just like evolution is a fact. These are not "just theories."
If you think otherwise you are misinformed, stupid, or both. Virtually anyone who actually knows anything about science can tell you that these are facts. The evidence is one-sided, there is no controversy. Stop pretending that your moron ideology has all the answers. Use the fucking brain that your God supposedly created for you.
And if you don't believe me, good! There is some miniscule hope that you can think for yourself. Now go do some research and see for yourself where the evidence points.
Anyway, that's enough talking to the non-existent wingnuts reading my blog.
As Gore so eloquently put it, this is not a political issue, but a moral one. Humankind, through the development of our civilization, the explosion of our population, and the invention of earth-changing technologies has itself become a force of nature. There is a lot of evidence, on the one hand, connecting human industrial activity to increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and, on the other, linking these increased levels to a variety of disastrous weather conditions.
These include increased temperatures leading to deadly heat waves, more intense (and perhaps also more frequent, although the evidence is not as extensive) hurricanes and tornadoes, excessive rainfall and flooding in some areas but also droughts and famines in others, and the melting of glaciers and ice shelfs leading to raising sea levels and more flooding. These conditions harm humans, animals, plants, and all complex life on this planet.
Unfortunately, I cannot go into the level of detail or make as compelling a case as Mr. Gore, but I encourage everyone to take this problem very seriously and do a little bit of research on it yourself.
But even though the problem seems immense and people never seem to change their ways, we should not lose hope. As his talk came to a close, Gore stressed how, by simply employing existing technologies more extensively, we could reduce CO2 levels to pre-1970s levels.
Remember the hole in the ozone? Due to concerted efforts to reduce the production of CFCs, we've made real progress in reversing the damage we caused. We don't hear about the hole as much anymore because bipartisan efforts to curb chlorofluorocarbons has made a difference. It's not too late, but we can no longer pretend the problem does not exist.
Gore did not merely inspire me and the audience, but also gave us a bittersweet glimpse of what might have been. Imagine a US that ratified Kyoto, that took a leading role in advocating green policies, rather than one that had oil industry execs as heads of the EPA, that was responsible for Orwellian policies like the "Clear Skies Act" and the "Healthy Forests Initiative."
Just contrast Gore and Bush, once again. Gore is a man who is passionate about doing what is right for our country and our planet, not what is beneficial for his corporate friends. He is committed to scientific inquiry rather than religious ideology, long-term planning rather than shortsighted greed, and the life of the mind rather than snorting coke off some hooker's ass.
Not that we needed it, but this gives us even more reason to despise Shrub and everything he stands for. This man, for whom no epithet is sufficiently pejorative, and those soulless vermin who pull his strings are singlehandedly responsible for making the world a less hospitable place for human and animal alike.
Two of my professors have come out and told me that they cannot even stand to hear the man speak. One becomes physically ill, while the other will sing "lalalala" and cover his ears just to drown Bush out. I share their revulsion.
That man is not fit to lead anything, let alone the most powerful nation on earth. He is a dangerously incompetent madman, a traitor to our nation and way of life, a tyrant and usurper. He has stolen 2 elections yet somehow remains in power. He is destroying our democracy and our planet.
We need to impeach him. Now. I'd say he should be tried and hung for treason, but death is too good a fate for him (and also, I'm against the death penalty). He's lucky there's no such place as hell. But let him rot in a cell, for once in his life not be showered with honors and privileges he hasn't earned.
If only things had turned out slightly differently. Just a few more votes in Florida, or a slightly less rightwing supreme court justice. An alternative design for the butterfly ballot, or Nader deciding not to run. Fewer black voters disenfranchised, or a recount allowed to finish. *sigh*
It gives me no satisfaction to say that progressives were once again right, if it means that we end up living in a much less stable, much more dangerous world.
For the love of all that is good in this world, let us not keep making the same mistakes. Let us be worthy stewards of this planet, not defilers and corrupters of earth.
But first, let us uproot this one poisonous plant...