Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Keep our cool

    Following the Industrial Revolution, Earth’s long-term average temperature began rising; vast data, much covering thousands of years, make this increase fairly indisputable. Debate, instead, centers mostly on the cause, rather than the existence, of global warming. I have no doubt that human activity is the main source of our recent century’s warming. My conviction, however, has little basis in first-hand observation, or in the apparent rise in frequency/intensity of extreme weather events. (Such a tiny sample would lead to unsupportable conjecture.) Of much greater significance to me is the ever-growing mountain of science pointing at humanity. More worryingly, though, the world’s almost unanimous collection of climate scientists is warning, with increasing urgency, that human-caused global warming is compromising life on Earth at a quickening pace.
    Meanwhile, given the somewhat incomprehensible amount of money invested in civilization’s fossil-fueled status quo, powerful interests understandably offer fierce resistance. Regarding the status quo, my fellow Americans and I have, for decades, collectively consumed an enormous portion of the world’s output, easily making ours the country most responsible for global warming. Consequently, I feel that the United States, Earth’s richest, most influential, most powerful nation, is not only best positioned, but morally obligated to lead the world in countering climate change. Granted, even the climate has become entangled in America’s ineffective politics.
    Nevertheless, debate on global warming, like all political debate, is ultimately driven by public opinion. Therefore, perhaps the simplest, yet most powerful method (that everyone should use) for influencing this issue is to search out objective information and make one’s position known. In the meantime, individuals and groups everywhere are continuously working to strengthen our planet’s future; any effort, no matter how small, can combine with many others to have a big impact. Together, we can keep our cool.
Jeremy Fryberger


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