Civilized Communication About Global Warming, Energy, Environment And Stuff; Naysayers, I’m Open for Persuasion

Why do we have give-and-takes like this?

A: “Global warming exists. Let’s do something about it.”

B: “Screw you! Global warming is a commie, liberal farce!”

A: “We should harvest the wind and sun for energy.”

B: “Screw you! My car is set up for petroleum; my house likes coal-fired electricity…commie, liberal farce!”

“We should care about Earth and each other. Nothing stays the same; we’ve got to evolve.”

“Screw…farce!”

And so on.

Oh, and on the relatively civilized tip…

A: “Science demonstrates that global warming exists.”

B: (In the eloquence of Dick Cheney…) “So.”

I’m perplexed of late by the glaring contrast of view points on some important issues in our world. Not to mention the venom and vitriol that charges so many of the outbursts. And not to mention that facts seem irrelevant to many people, even when they honest-to-goodness exist.

Republican or Democrat? Conservative or Liberal? Science or Religion? United States or Everyone Else? Rich or poor? Self or Others? Us or Them?

First of all, I’m not sure why everything has to be so polarized. A couple of weeks ago, when I told a colleague of mine that I don’t affiliate with any political party, he choked a laugh in disbelief. Knowing I am a man of opinions he assumed I was certifiably a Democrat.

I said, “No, really. I’m for good people and good ideas. In 2000, I even liked John McCain and I voted for Bush.”

(I feel violated because of that vote, by the way, and I didn’t fall for that mistake twice. In that recent convo, I immediately realized I shouldn’t have owned up to having voted for Bush at all; it will no doubt be held against me at a future date via the office gossip vine. But my point was made.)

I just want good leaders to keep their eyes on the needs of people, not on their own private interests and vendettas.

Second of all, I’m absolutely vexed at all of the animosity over politics and environmental issues, just to name a couple of major items that tend to stir opponents. (Just because it’s supposedly “always been that way,” doesn’t mean that’s how it should be or has to be.)

I repeatedly wonder: How can we possibly receive the same facts, news, information, etc., and see it so differently? And despite these differing views, why can’t we discuss them in intelligent, patient, rational ways?

There Are No Gods Here

Fellow Sustainablogger, Alex Felsinger, recently posted about research announcing the positive effect against global warming by painting rooftops white

The first six comments – the only comments when I first read the post – all blasted the notion of global warming, saying evidence clearly refutes its occurrence, and mocking those who are “playing God and believing that we have ANY CONTROL whatsoever on our climate,” and acting so “incredibly arrogant!

[Later, a commenter cited the George W. Bush-governed EPA’s admitted understanding that global warming exists: “Careful measurements have confirmed that greenhouse gas emissions are increasing and that human activities (principally, the burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use) are the primary cause. Human activities have caused the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane to be higher today than at any point during the last 650,000 years. Scientists agree it is very likely that most of the global average warming since the mid-20th century is due to human-induced increases in greenhouse gases, rather than to natural causes.“]

I’m pretty sure that I know I’m not a god.

(And I’m equally pretty sure other Earth-loving people also realize they’re humanness, too. In fact, I would propose it’s their humanity that motivates them/me to care about the good of others.)

When I blog here at Green Options, I do so, more often than not, for the purpose of facilitating discussion, not issuing answers or mandates or condescension.

I’m trying to understand and learn from opposing views, and I am trying to participate in creating a productive consensus, all while recognizing that hateful clashes accomplish nothing.

I do all of this with the understanding that I can only know so much. So I trust experts in other fields. I trust that science has a valuable role in our world. I trust that when visible proof is given to us showing, say, an arctic ice shelf collapsing, it means that an arctic ice shelf is collapsing.

Tell Me What You Believe In

I believe that the essence of environmentalism is simply to be mindful of how we use our resources. I have yet to come up with a good reason to be wasteful of anything, so I choose not to be (and for unknown reasons that seems to make me one of the bad guys in the eyes of a discouragingly large piece of the status quo public).

So here are my real questions to you, be you “liberal” or “conservative” or anything or anyone else, to be answered in rational form free of defensive hostility, all for the sake of mutually calm and helpful discussion:

What truths do you hold to be self-evident? And why?

What are the things you feel you see so clearly and can’t understand why your neighbor, your mother, your boss or maybe even I don’t see equally as clearly?

Why are we so far apart in our visions of “truth” and “reality” and all that we hold dear?

Make me believe what you’re saying. Tell me why you’re credible. Tell me why science isn’t good enough to convince you and, who knows, maybe you can persuade me that you know best.

Or is all of this Doubting-Thomas blustering just a loathsome pastime no one will ever win — and communication is not really the goal?

Other Posts:

A Cocktail Party Guide to Global Warming: Soundbite-Free Science

Schwarzenegger Angry With Bush Over Global Warming Inaction

How America Lost the (Self-Appointed) Title of ‘Greatest Nation on Earth’ to Denmark

The Positive Side of the Green Life

The Upside to Natural Disasters

Written by adamwilliams

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