11.24.2007

Eco-chondriacs

There are many good reasons to go Car-Free.

Because I do not have a car...

...I get a whole lot more exercise

...I save a whack of cash on payments, insurance, depreciation, maintenance, gas...
...I am more in tune with the climate and weather...
...I have to say no to a lot of activities, giving me more time at home...
...I notice more things about my town...
...I do not contribute to traffic congestion...
...I always have a parking spot...

Absent from that list is any mention of doing my part for 'the environment'. That is intentional. I am likely one of the few who are car-free who does not count the environment as one of my primary reasons for not driving. I have a few reasons why.

First, I tend to believe that while global temperatures are certainly rising, the impact that humanity has on that rise is negligible. The number one reason that global temperatures are rising is that the sun is getting more energy to us. The number one greenhouse gas is water vapour, not CO2. Water vapour causes over 90% of the greenhouse effect, CO2 causes less than 1%. Global temperatures have been rising for a good 15,000 or so years. 10,000 years ago, most of North America was under 3km of ice. I would venture to guess that most people would rather live with today's moderate climate, rather than the harsh, brutally cold climate of 10k years ago.

Second, eco-chondriac #1, Al Gore is a great salesman. If I want to sell something, I need a great salesman. If I want the truth, I need a poor salesman. I need someone who does not have a vested interest in whatever is being sold. Al Gore makes a killing off of his message. He is in the Carbon Trading business, he needs global warming.

Third, Eco-Chondriac #1 does not give us the chance to really understand his famous graph. You know the one that shows levels of CO2 in lock-step with global temperatures. The problem with his graph is that it hides the fact that CO2 levels in the atmosphere actually FOLLOW rises in global temperature. That means that global warming (perfectly natural and beneficial to life on earth) causes rises in CO2. Interestingly enough, CO2 itself is necessary for any plant life to exist on earth.

Fourth, I do not believe that we have any moral obligation to the environment. Persons have moral obligations to other persons, not to 'nature'. I do not have any moral obligations to animals because animals are not moral creatures. If a bear damages me or my property, I do not hold it morally accountable, it was only trying to defend itself or get food. If it is deemed dangerous, the authorities go out and kill it, they do not bring it to trial. Animals are not moral creatures and do not hold any moral obligations over me.

When meteorologists are able to accurately predict the weather over a week or even 24 hours, then I may start listening to someone telling me what the temperature will be in 100 years.

At least that is the way I see it. Keep the rubber side down.

7 comments:

Laurel-Anne said...

Hey,

This sounds a little different from the last time I read something by you about the environment...

Have you read some of Challies' posts on the environment?

http://www.challies.com

Check the Archives, in the tag cloud for environment.

mytzpyk said...

We were at the beach this week. The Boy 9 spent a bunch of time creating a beautiful castle.

The Boy 5 walked right over it on his way to some snack food.

We assuaged The Boy 9's dissapointment by explaining that since he hadn't been physically hurt he should quit complaining about the destruction of his castle.

We praised The Boy 5 for his singlemindedness in pursuing food and rewarded him with a second snack.

sans auto said...

You left me in a dilemma. I agree with your post, but it is comments like that that most upset me when discussing the environment. People who simply want to place the blame elsewhere and do nothing are a problem and that apathy is killing our social structure and having devastating consequences on the earth. You do care and you are doing something... just for different reasons. Honestly, I think I'm on the same boat as you. I am not knowledgable enough to make a statement on global warming, BUT CO2 generally comes with a variety of other gases and particulate matter that are causing Asthma,cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancers, etc. Likewise, the solution to global warming (as far as the human component) generally involves increased activity for people. That will also help decrease CVD, stroke, Pulmonary diseases, and cancer. Those are the top four leading causes of death in the US. I'm willing to jump on the global warming bandwagon, whether it's true or not, if the "solution" will help alleviate the top four leading causes of death in this country (I would assume that Canada is similar).

Vertigo said...

Sans,

I had a great comment that agreed with your view. Blogger sent it into who knows where.

I agree with you.

I disagree with Kyoto because it doesn't include emissions targets for India and China. Kinda like telling the 'Smart Car' drivers that they need to reduce their emissions but Joe Hummer can continue to drive his 2mpg behemoth with impunity.

I am skeptical of the environmental movement in Canada because a couple of years ago, the environment was way down the list of voter concerns, then Gore's 'documentary' hit it big and the environment is suddenly the biggest issue in Canada. Even bigger than health/illness care and education. Seems rather unthinking to me.

Mom M said...

Because you do not have a car you do not have to sweep 10 cms of snow from it before you can go to the post office and the library.

Laurel-Anne said...

I think there needs to be a distinction between "the environment" and "the climate".

I tend to think of the environment as my local area, my corner of the planet that I can help or harm directly. If everyone tries to take better care of their own immediate environment, collectively we could make a big difference in the livability of our planet. I support measures such as buying locally produced goods, driving less, recycling, reducing power consumption, reducing consumption in general, etc. Stewardship!

But, when people try to tell me that if I don't do these things I am contributing to the warming (ie. destruction) of the planet I tend to tune out, for basically the same reasons you pointed out in your post.

PDXK.TV said...

You can "believe" whatever you want about climate change but please cite your scientific sources otherwise you are just another salesman.

You may actually want to READ up and study the subject by checking out actual BOOKS and SCIENTIFIC ARTICLES. Petro-sponsored YouTube factoids just don't cut it.