Of course, we in America, thanks to our remarkable prosperity courtesy of our free enterprise system, have the luxury of supposedly “caring” about our sacred “environment.” Most people around the world by contrast don’t have the time to waste worshipping nature. They, like our not-too-distant relatives, are still busy trying to conquer nature in order to survive.
Still, Earth Day this year will be a bit less festive than usual thanks to our economic slide. People hoping to get some work to keep from having their home foreclosed on tend to be much less worried about salmon stocks in Alaska or polar bears at the North Pole.
Ditto for fuel. As gas rapidly approaches four bucks a gallon (and still climbing), concern about drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore in California shrink proportionally. Talk of “energy self-sufficiency,” originally born out of desire to be less dependent on the Arabs, now instead focuses on the less noble goal of keeping our gas cheap and abundant.
Without a doubt though, the greatest Earth Day spectacle will be “global warming.” All the earthlings are busy pointing fingers as to who is responsible and therefore the logical party to force to “cut back” on “greenhouse emissions.”
The United States and communist China are the greatest culprits, with the 21st century communists trying to morph into environmentally insensitive 19th century American style “robber barons” — minus the modern-day restrictions on pollution. Environmental laws and all their associated added costs are cheerfully ignored by the Chinese, who are willing to trade off some Earth degradation for jobs and a full belly. Coming from a culture still using its own defecations to fertilize their farm fields, such a tradeoff is not without logic.
Hence, don’t expect much help or concern about the Chinese contribution to “global warming.”
Of course, the global warming crusade may have been dealt a fatal blow by its successful recruitment of President George Bush. A religious mantra of the left has been George Bush can do nothing right, so, ipso facto, if Bush thinks global warming is reality, it must be false.
A bigger blow to the hysteria has been the recent revelations that the world is actually cooling. China just had its coldest winter in more than 100 years, so, not without a certain justification, they may be a bit recalcitrant to shut down their 8 percent a year growing economy to pacify a bunch of spoiled American over-aged hippies.
Still, the world (minus the United States) solemnly promised in the Kyoto Treaty, signed in wealthy Japan, to dramatically scale back emissions. How successful this has been can be summed up well by observing Japan: In spite of all their solemn promises at Kyoto, their emissions have substantially risen.
Yes, everyone “knows” the problem, and “everyone” will really not do anything about it, thanks to the painful and even fatal economic consequences. So, Gore will fly around the world in his jet, burning more fuel in a single trip that your average European will in a lifetime, preaching the gospel of global warming, justifying his actions, like all the rest of us, that our consumption and hence pollution is “vital” and not a luxury we can afford to cut.
Incidentally, don’t worry too much. Global warming (and now, cooling) have very little to do with puny man’s alleged impact. The sun and its cycles and anomalies are the cause. Our impact is minimal, despite the never-ending hoopla we are all guiltyguiLTYGUILTY!!! So relax. Besides, if Bush is now on board, it’s all baloney anyway.
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A public information forum, an open discussion between a distinguished panel of experts and the audience, will be held in the Nevada Room at the Governors Mansion, 606 Mountain St. in Carson City this Wednesday at 7 p.m. Yours truly will be the moderator. Titled: “Options in Education: The Voucher Dialogs,” it will be a public, nonpartisan information forum featuring divergent views on possible reforms for educating our children. If you are at all concerned about what is best for your children, it will be an excellent opportunity to hear all sides. Hope to see you there.
Ira Hansen is a lifelong resident of Sparks, owner of Ira Hansen and Sons Plumbing and his radio talk show can be heard Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. on 99.1 FM.