Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Global Warming My Frozen, Hairy Butt

The Queen once commented about how lucky I was to have a job which involved some out of town travel. I think her exact comment was something like, “I would love to have a job that involved travel.” I, the one who is “lucky” to have such a job and is the one tasked with accomplishing said travel, have a slightly different opinion on the subject. She thinks I’m being curmudgeonly when I repeatedly argue there is exactly zero glamour or fun involved in getting up before the crack of dawn of time, going out into the cold, harsh world (yes, the longer I work from home, the more of an anti social hermit I become), board a plane breathing the same air as 100+ strangers carrying God knows what germs only to arrive in a city where I have zero chance of 1) getting any productive work done, or 2) getting out to see any of the town’s attractions. My reward for putting up with this supposed benefit is spending the day at the destination de jour stuck in an office or conference room with a marginal view (at best, sometimes you get stuck in a windowless room) and no entertainment amenities like internet access or television (or worse, year old People magazines) so that I can attempt to negotiate a reasonable settlement with (more often than not) unreasonable people or (worse yet) review someone else’s files.

Yesterday was one of those days The Queen seems to feel I am lucky to have. I arose at 5:00 AM after getting to bed way too late the night before. I woke up with a headache which was temporarily beaten into submission with two Tylenol and copious amounts of caffeine (which I will pay for later today I am sure). The only saving graces are that the claim (which has been hanging around for five years and several adjusters) settled and I caught a flight home leaving 30 minutes earlier than my originally scheduled flight which was delayed by weather in parts unknown. All in all, I probably got home a couple of hours earlier than I would have otherwise. Southwest airlines rocks.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to write something about this whole Global Warming/Climate Change brouhaha for sometime now. It may come as a shock to those who know me, but I have a rather straight forward but, nevertheless, strong opinion on the subject. I just haven’t found the impetus necessary to take the time to put fingers to keyboard and go to town on it. Well, yesterday was my lucky day.

Just before boarding the plane to return home from another exciting day spent in an attorney’s office in San Antonio for mediation in one of the claims I inherited from someone else, I checked Drudge Report on my iPhone and saw a headline which gave me pause (and a profound sense of amusement when I followed the link) as well as the requisite justification to waste some time on this subject.

Senate Global Warming Hearing Cancelled

After all the news about the Climate Change email scandals, the record low temperatures, the cries of tree hugging “preachers” everywhere that I must save the polar bears by trading in my perfectly functional 10 year old, 300,000 mile Nissan Maxima for a powder blue Toyota Prius that might or night not kill me with a gas pedal that sticks…after all that, the fact that the Senate’s hearings on "Global Warming Impacts, Including Public Health, in the United States." are brought to a screeching halt by a blizzard of monumental proportions is just too priceless a moment to pass up.

The irony is just overwhelmingly delicious. I mean, really, who is the Ivy League educated staffer who thought it would be a good idea to schedule a hearing on GLOBAL WARMING in the middle of WINTER in Washington, D.C. when a BLIZZARD is forecast. Brilliance. HelloOOOooo???? Is anyone in there?

If you want to make political noise about global warming, you don’t hold hearings in the dead of winter at a northern location. You hold them in Death Valley in the middle of the summer. Can’t you just picture it now?

Senator: So, Mr. [pick your most hated industry and insert here] Lobbyist, you’re telling this committee Global Warming is not real. If that’s the case, please tell the committee if it’s hot enough for you outside yet.

Lobbyist: Well, Senator, we are in the middle of a desert…

Senator: (yelled in an accusatory tone for emphasis) A desert caused by greenhouse gases emitted by your industry’s manufacturing processes and products no doubt.

Lobbyist: Senator, our industry does not now have, nor has it ever had, production facilities in Death Valley.

Senator: I’m sure the polar bears are glad to hear that.

Lobbyist: Senator, there are no polar bears in Death Valley.

Senator: Why not? Has your industry killed them all?

I’d better stop now before I give someone ideas.

Before I get too much further into this tirade, I feel compelled give you, the intrepid reader, a brief disclosure notice. Specifically, I think the idea of manmade global warming is a marketing ploy cooked up by the makers of compact fluorescent light bulbs, deep cycle NiMH and Li batteries and hybrid vehicles. There, now that the conspiracy theory is fully disclosed, we can get on with our story.

So, is there really such a thing as climate change? To be perfectly honest with ourselves and the available, reliable, scientific evidence, I think we must concede that, yes, in fact, there is such a thing as global climate change. There are a few wooly mammoths still frozen in glaciers like giant, Neolithic, TV dinners who might have a word or two to say on the subject to any naysayers. That is, if they could be thawed out, resuscitated and gifted with the power of human speech.

The bigger questions are whether or not mankind has contributed to, accelerated or otherwise caused the latest round of climate change and whether or not mankind can do one blessed thing about it. Based on the information I have come across, there is no way to definitively answer those questions.

That is not to say, however, we can not come up with some a fairly well educated and logical but still largely hypothetical statements on the subject.

First, man has had an impact on the environment. This one is pretty much a no brainer. If you break wind, take a shower, build a house, drive a car, fly on an airplane…basically, if you are born, live anywhere and eat anything on the planet and then die, you are impacting the environment. Being born? Medical waste has to be disposed of somewhere. Living and eating? You’ve got to cloth your naked body and consume food more or less daily which, by the way, creates waste in one form or another which must be dealt with. Dying? If you are cremated, guess what? Carbon emissions. If you get planted, think about all the trees killed and/or factory emissions that went into even the simplest of caskets. The Muslims might have it right after all: wrap your carcass in a sheet and dump what’s left in an unmarked hole in the desert to rot in peace.

It stands to reason that more people on the planet means more environmental impact, and there is a point at which the land will not be able to produce enough food to sustain the population. The term for that is “carrying capacity”. Once the carrying capacity of the land is reached, someone is going to go hungry. Guess what happens when there is not enough food to go around? Riots, if you’re lucky. Full blown war, if you’re not.

If you are a Christian, you can go read the book of Revelation chapters 6, 8 and 9 to get an idea of what that’s going to look like. If you’re not a Christian, I’d point you in the direction of the news footage from Ethiopia, Haiti and just about any where else in recent times which have undergone food shortages for whatever reason.

So, is there anything we can do about climate change?

I’m of two minds about this question. On the one hand, I believe in God. I further believe He has a plan for mankind and the earth, and there is not a thing mankind can do to change that plan. If climate change happens to suit His purposes, guess what? We’ll have climate change.

On the other hand, we shouldn’t be poor stewards of the world God left in our care either. That’s not to say we all need to give up our cars, homes and laptops to be tree hugging, tent dwelling hermits. We need to be mindful that actions and choices have consequences. Do you really want to use longer lasting compact fluorescent light bulbs? That’s great. Do you have any clue how to properly dispose of those little gems which are filled with toxic mercury when they quit working? I didn’t think so; and, yet, Congress has passed a resolution encouraging the use of CFLs. Do you want to drive a fuel efficient hybrid vehicle? Excellent. More power to you. Just one thing though: what are you planning on doing with the 1000 pounds or so worth of batteries that will lose their ability to recharge after about 100,000 miles? Are you planning to make it someone else’s problem by trading it in for another life limited hybrid which took a significant amount of resources to build? Doesn’t sound like such a good idea now after all, does it?

Can we and should we all make better choices and actions which are more environmentally sound? Absolutely. Do we always know the full consequences of those choices and actions? Not likely. We’re not that smart, and the environment it too complex. Should we force everyone to “do the right thing” (whatever that is) through legislation? Are you kidding me? Have you been paying attention to the crap Congress has been trying to do lately? Did you not catch that they weren’t even smart enough to schedule a hearing on global warming when there wasn’t a blizzard forecast?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to freezing my butt off in this era of “global warming.”


  1. Oh, Brother K, did you forget about all of the toxic chemicals involved in embalming before we put someone's ass in an air- and water-tight coffin and cement box? Truly, the most useful thing humans can do for the envirnment is to crawl off to the desert (or any uninhabited place) to die. At least then our bodies would feed the wildlife and the plants and we perform the ultimate act of recycling.

  2. Sister GunDiva, no, I did not forget about the more toxic side of modern society's funerary practices. I simply chose to leave it out of the discussion.

    Since you are in the medical field, perhaps you could write something about all the fun, toxic chemicals in use in the medical field as well as the impact over use of antibiotics and other drugs has on the environment.

    Just ask the Queen how she feels about her dentist using glutaraldehyde as an antiseptic in her mouth prior to filling cavaties. Let's just say the results of that are not pleasant you are highly sensitive.

  3. Poor Queen.

    I've been working non-stop, but have plenty of ideas in my little brain for medical-based posts. Really. I know I've been promising for a while now, but I'll really have time to do them soon.

  4. Promises, promises. Make with the content already.

  5. Written and scheduled for post on Monday. Unless I find something more fun to write about before then :) I laid off of the research and went with one "official White House" document rather than the eight million interpretations of the document. I hope it meets your expectations.

  6. I look forward to reading your efforts.


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