Miles from Home

China Commentary– Youthful Musings on the Environment, Culture & Development

An Informed Youth vs. Global Warming, Part II

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    So, I have spent days and days delaying Part II of this global warming rant. The surge in interest, the side discussions, all of it was enough to put me off track and realize some of the difficulties in discussing what seems easy to see. Everything is political, but let us not deceive ourselves.

    Some people believe the Earth was made in seven days and that man is divinely superior to all other species. Some people say HIV/AIDs is a myth. Others think the Holocaust is a conspiracy.

    There are always two sides to a story, sure. I spent four years of college studying how to find and judge their value. I graduated with the “ethics” of journalism firmly embedded. But I was lucky. I had the privilege of having some fantastic professors—cynical, disenfranchised optimists like myself—who forced me to challenge complacent systems of thought.

    A constant theme of classroom discussions hinged on the awareness of the limitations of a media industry dominated by business interests. News corporations are as likely to hire a new employee with a business administration degree as they are to hire a journalism graduate. Corporate survival is at stake. Shareholders and higher-ups are more interested in an audience that stays sitting in front of the screen than one that gets up and screams.

    The media is a business. Difficult ideas are difficult to sell. When an issue can no longer be forced to the fringe, the media must confront its audience with what is unavoidable. Yet, unavoidable does not equate unarguable. Thus, the creation of shadow conspiracies not only entertains but also appeases the uneasiness of new awareness. This other side says, “Hey, uninformed, gluttonous Americans, everything is okay! Keep doing what you are doing!” And we sigh a breath of relief.

    I am American. I am part of a whole, no better than the collective body. I know I need to change myself and my country. I am doing my best to validate a personal vision of an America remembered more for its ideals than its happy-meals.


    Responsibility and accountability are two virtues on the verge of disappearing from the American moral make-up. This must change, before 2008. Woefully malnourished is our diet for the fiber of our actions. We eat the lion’s share in this world. Then, we trash it. We consume the most; we pollute the most. We swallow 9 million barrels of gasoline per day, 44% of worldwide consumption.

    It is no surprise that two-thirds of the world blames the United States for the current global warming crisis, according to a recent worldwide BBC/Synovate poll. Nearly 80% of Americans, however, do not think one country is to blame. Rather, a quarter of Americans “either do not believe climate change is man-made or are unconcerned about it.”

    That was February. Now, after the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change, comprised of over 2,000 of the world’s best scientists from over 100 different countries, released its report the tides are changing. A New York Times poll last month showed that 90% of Democrats, 80% of independents, and 60% of Republicans now see global warming as an issue that must be dealt with immediately.

    Okay, good, we see it. The climate crisis cannot be cordoned off anymore. Now, let us be accountable and act responsibly. We, the citizenry, must not only become more aware and more informed, but also strengthen ourselves for the upcoming debate. It is not if, but when we fight.






I have a few more thoughts and solutions that I will present on Tuesday in Part 3.


Written by Miles

May 20, 2007 at 1:31 pm

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