Monday, October 11, 2010

Eating The Apple That Fell On His Head

The following piece ran in today's Deming Headlight. I've got to hand it to them, they picked a funnier headline than the one I suggested. Link to the article here.

He eats the apple that fell on head
By Algernon D'Ammassa for the Headlight

Can Luna County afford leaders who treat science as if it were a political opponent?

Steve Pearce, running for his old seat in our district, is on the record dismissing global warming as "crap" and claiming that it "cannot be validated." He made these statements on a campaign stop in Artesia to the multimedia news source Politico.

"Only God knows where our climate is going," said first district candidate Jon Barela during a recent radio interview. While it is probably true we cannot know more than God, there are some things we do know; and what we know must be taken seriously.

The looming challenges that climate change presents to New Mexico's agriculture, a billion-dollar industry, include rising water prices and decreased supply, carbon dioxide fertilization that galvanizes weeds and invasive species, reduced crop yields across the southwest, less forage for cattle - and much more. Extreme storms in the American southwest have doubled, and rapid warming trends have affected snowpack melt in measurable ways, as well as the tropical storms which provide New Mexico with much of its yearly precipitation. In the last decade, intensified droughts in New Mexico saw an explosion of bark beetles that have cleared trees by tens of thousands of acres. If we ignore the trends measured by climatologists, all of this will just be a prelude.

Across the hemisphere, the effects of warming and greenhouse gas concentration are affecting ocean flow and sea levels as ancient glaciers melt so quickly we can watch them change color and shrink.

To be fair, there are aspects of this research that are inconclusive and subject to debate. Sometimes there are errors. Errors, in fact, are an important part of the scientific method, as theories and equations are tested and new data are incorporated into the body of research. This does not impeach the basis of science itself.

Pearce continues to make hay out of some unprofessional conduct by a handful of scientists at a single research facility, suggesting this somehow debunks the entire body of climate science and its implications. Some politicians go as far as to claim that global warming is a left-wing conspiracy to destroy the American economy. These theories apparently require no "validation" or evidence. They are also good for harvesting large campaign donations.

While we bicker and dither, catastrophic reactions are already in motion. If developed nations take no action, or waste time denying reality, there will be drastic consequences over the next century. Indeed, our response is already late.

Here in Luna County, we can count on our farmers and ranchers to respond to conditions and adapt as best they can, bringing together their experience and resources. We can all help them, and ourselves, by sending lawmakers to Washington who are not at war with science.

We are citizens of the United States. We are the farmers and ranchers of the American west. We are the workers in the cities. We are the parents and children who wonder what will become of our land, streams, and air in the years to come. We are people, not corporations. We deserve a reasoned political debate about the facts that will change our way of life. We deserve competition among well-informed policy makers for the best solutions to rising energy prices, pollution, waste products, and the overlapping effects of climate change.

From the private sector, we deserve innovative ideas from our brightest entrepreneurs and well-capitalized corporations. Many of these resources are being spent to confuse the public and impugn science instead. Inevitably, the implications of global warming will affect business as well. We all deserve better than this.

We are speaking of the material conditions that will define our future. Can we stop pretending to be "conservatives" and "liberals" when it comes to our survival? Twisting climate science into a partisan dogfight, when the implications are truly universal, is short-sighted and selfish, even stupid.

We do not need to know more than God. We have been granted the sense to look ahead and take reasonable precautions. Accepting reality and helping our community prepare will not happen until people demand an intelligent conversation repeatedly and consistently, backing it up with our votes and our spending habits.


~Lizzy~ said...

"Global Warming" has long been something that gets me talking louder than I should be.
I, like everyone else, I suppose, have very strong, and very personal -um- "feelings" about it.
It is hard to categorize - is it an "opinion"?
a "political perspective"?
a "scientific fact"?
a "religious belief"?
All of the above/ none of the above.
I get angry when it is used as a political tool: words bantered about to get people's hackles up. I think it us used/abused by the politicians WAY too much.
True, it cannot be denied that the planets climate is warming -- there was a "little ice age" not too long ago, that caused a lot of trouble in Europe only a few hundred years back. Things have warmed up since, and we still seem to be on a trend. For anyone who tries to deny that things are warming up, I like to point out the distinct LACK of Woolly Mammoths living in the Great Plains today....
AND - I wholeheartedly agree that humans pour way too much waste into our environments. (something I've been very aware of since before they banned DDT, etc.)
So, yes it's getting warmer. yes we pollute our "Mother" more than we have a right to.
HOWEVER - - - the politicians make these things into moral issues that they want to hyper-legislate.
...Mother Earth will do what she wants, no matter how much politicians talk and pass laws that they are unwilling to support.
Left and Right seem unwilling to simply do "that which is right".
So, ... if your bottom line is that everybody should just shut-up and work together on dealing with the problems facing us as passengers on this big-blue-marble... sounds like a plan :-P

Sabio/Jōsen said...

That is hilarious -- well, because it ain't my bike. Water & Goat Heads --> two good reasons not to move down your way!