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RE: Friday afternoon rant - "An Inconvenient Truth"



Rick Yoder, in a self-described rant, asked:
 
> What to do with those who want to argue?   [assumedly, he asked in the context of those who want to argue about the issue of climate change, not argue in general....that's another matter entirely]
 
He suggested pointing them at World Changing (or at least, at a page established for denialists).  I would suggest a different strategy.
 
Though this will come as a shock to most of you, I spend some of my evenings thinking about things other than pollution prevention -- specifically, I spend a lot of time thinking about fly fishing.
 
I know, that's a real shocker.
 
In the pursuit of all that is true and noble about my chosen, ummm "sport" (yeah, that's what it is!), I spend a certain number of hours (the actual number is embarrasingly large) arguing politics with other fly fisher people online.  This is purely recreational arguing -- no one ever changes anyone's mind in these things -- and on occassion, the issue of climate change, how much of it is our fault, what we can do about it, etc comes up.
 
Surprisingly enough, some fly fishers are pretty conservative politically.  Not me, of course, but some.
 
I have found that engaging these folks in debate over the veracity of climate change is all but useless.  The handful of professional skeptics out there ( Lindzen, Singer, et al) are persuasive enough writers that they are not easily debunked in the minds of those likely to listen to them in the first place.
 
I have found it much more productive, instead, to shift the nature of the debate, along the following lines:
 
"OK, so we don't agree on whether climate change is real, or whether people can stop it"
 
"But what would we do if it were?  What sorts of steps would we take as individuals, as a nation?"
 
"And do any of these steps make sense, irrespective of what the truth about climate ends up being?"
 
This leads pretty naturally to discussions of energy efficiency, of increased dependence on renewables, of reforestation...none of which are very far from Mom and Apple pie themes.  Especially now, in light of rising fuel prices and concern over the Middle East, even my most politically conservative friends will find common ground on most of these issues, at least when painted in broad strokes (we may disagree on specifics such as the appropriate role of regulatory vs. market incentives, whether CAFE standards should be raised, etc -- but the general goals are pretty hard to disagree with).
 
The net result is, as many in the p2 community have observed in other contexts, that many of the walls come down, some common ground is established from which broader agreement can be forged, and progress can be made.
 
Subversion beats submission, any day....
 
Have a good weekend.
 
SB

========================================
Scott Butner
Director, ChemAlliance
c/o Pacific NW National Laboratory
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From: owner-p2tech@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-p2tech@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of Rick Yoder
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2006 11:59 AM
Subject: Friday afternoon rant - "An Inconvenient Truth"


Hi - and apologies for cross-posting

I have word from a friend in an environmental office that their entire staff will be taking a field  trip to see "An Inconvenient Truth" which opens today in select theaters.  
Movie link: http://www.climatecrisis.net/

So many in my region are nowhere near a theater showing the film!
Theater links: http://www.climatecrisis.net/findatheater/
I thought I'd let them and you know of a link to the slideshow from which the movie was built.  It will take about an hour of  your time, but it's easy to watch as background while you fill out other paperwork.
Link to link of the slideshow:
http://climatechangeaction.blogspot.com/2006/04/video-of-week-al-gore-inconvenient_28.html
modified link to the slideshow that worked for me:
http://ia300133.us.archive.org/1/items/molemedia20040115_gore/molemedia20040115_gore.asf

As an offer to be "fair and balanced" <grin> - I'll point out the amazing ads that the Competitive Enterprise Institute started airing late last week in select cities.  
http://streams.cei.org/
You can for yourself track down much of the blog chatter about these ads - entries which tackle them from many ways, including looking at the surprising names of companies  who contribute to CEI.  And honestly, could Stephen Colbert have done a better parody than what you'll see at CEI?

Really, when  CEO Scott of Wal-Mart says the following, isn't it time to dismiss the "is it so?" discussions in the same way we do comments from those who tell us smoking won't kill, the world is flat, or the walk on the moon was a fake?
"We are looking at innovative ways to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. This used to be controversial, but the science is in and it is overwhelming. Climate change doesn't cause hurricanes, but hot ocean water makes them more powerful. Climate change doesn't cause rainfall, but it can increase the frequency and severity of heavy flooding. Climate change doesn't cause droughts, but it makes droughts longer. We believe every company has a responsibility to reduce greenhouse gases as quickly as it can."

Last night, a town meeting was held here at the UNO campus; it had a great panel discussion by the following folks from diverse backgrounds who have all reached the same conclusions as CEO Scott:
-  Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, General Secretary, National Council of Churches
- Tim Wagner, Commissioner, Nebraska Department of Insurance
-  Dan Lashof, Climate Center Science Director, Natural Resources Defense Council
-  John Hansen, President, Nebraska Farmers Union
http://www.reenergizeamerica.org/events/
I commend those who put together the panel - but it needed a stronger call to specific actions for those who attended.  In brief, it asked everyone to get involved with spreading the message that now is the time to act.

What to do with those who want to argue?  I agree with the folks at World Changing who suggest that it's time to put up the reference page for denialists.
http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/004469.html

So for those of you who can - enjoy the movie.  But to everyone, send your best reference links to WorldChanging and in the future simply point those who squawk to the soon-to-be-built reference page as an FAQ page, or as a RTFM (Read the Friggin' Manual) hand-off.  You and I  shouldn't get bogged down with the stalling tactic discussions.  The next action steps are steps that you and I know so much about - how to conserve resources and prevent pollution.  The next steps to be taken will be taken by many menmbers of the public who want to act but  don't know quite how to do so.  

We're gonna be busy!  

cheers,

rick

Richard Yoder, PE
Director, P2ric.org
University of Nebraska at Omaha
6001 Dodge Street, RH308
Omaha, NE 68182
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