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Archive for March 13th, 2007

Gore_1

I haven’t seen Al Gore’s movie on global warming.  But I’ve heard a lot about it, you know, when I haven’t been researching basketball ranking for my bracket.  And a few of my favorite bloggers are talking about it.  Kat, Pete, and Scoplaw all posted about it recently, and apparently there is a new york time’s article that came out today as well.  And then there are a lot of other blog posts from blogs I’m less familiar with. 

So I’ll tell you what I do know.  I know that places like LA, and Atlanta and big metropolis areas with tons of cars are bad.  Bad for everyone.  Smog is something I’ve experienced first hand and it is disgusting.  I don’t have a source to back this up, but a friend told me there are national parks in California where you can’t hike certain days of the summer because the smog from LA has floated over and made the air a hazard.  Which makes me very, very sad.  But I also know that car pollution in rural areas where there are lots of trees and things to offset the bad emissions aren’t a huge concern.  That is why you have emission standards in big cities and not everywhere.  Atlanta has emission standards for cars, Augusta and Athens don’t.  Augusta doesn’t really need to.  Not that it might not be helpful in a nominal way, but the damage doesn’t justify the cost as it does in a big city. 

Okay – pollution is bad.  This is a premise I feel good standing behind.  And pollution, like most everything else in the world, is worse depending on the context.

But when it comes down to how exactly pollution affects our atmosphere as an entire planet, I’m a little less clear on things.  Because, well, to me, there see to be too many external factors and too little data to come to a clear conclusion.  The earth has been around for a long time.  We have been around for a much shorter time.  We have been been keeping records for an even shorter period of time.  We have been concerned about global warming for a very, very, very brief point in history.  Not that this is a good reason to discount global warming.  Because, who knows, those people could be 100% right.  Just because I can’t prove something doesn’t mean I can disprove it either. 

Volcanoes give me great pause in all of this.  I watched a national geographic channel special on volcanoes.  Volcanoes screw up all kinds of things.  Volcanic eruptions can throw off the global temperature significantly.  The earth eventually recovers, after a bunch of people starve, according to national geographic.  People die, but the earth recovers. 

I took both of the environmental law classes that Georgia had to offer in law school, I took the environmental practicum that taught me a TON about local pollution and cross referenced forestry and ecology, and education and law and landscape architecture, and a few other disciplines.  I try to read stuff and keep up.  I’ve been to dissertations of friends in forestry studying bugs in the woods.  I would say I’m better informed than the average citizen, that I’ve at least been exposed to a lot of different theories and angles and ideas about the environment and what we are doing to it.  But I certainly don’t possess any degrees in earth science, or any science at all.  And sometimes I think maybe this is all over my head.  And sometimes I think I’m being lazy and should THINK HARDER, then maybe it will all be clear to me.  And then my brain starts to explode.  When I do start shifting to one camp or the other, I start to feel like I’m drinking cool aid. 

I don’t know.  Honestly.  I just don’t know.  What do you think? 

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