Sunday, February 3, 2008

Everything's Cool. Oh, no wait. I mean, Everything isn't Cool. (*********9/10)

Everything is not cool. By everything, I of course mean the world. But we know that. We ALL know that. Sure there are the climate chage "deniers" out there, the poor misguided future architects of their own demise. The fact that climate change and global warming is even a political issue, or a controversy at all, is due in large part to the Bush administration in the U.S. and the media. I mean, seriously, if the U.S. and Bush and the rest of the Republican party elite took global warming seriously, and put policies into effect to reduce emissions and save civilization, do you really think the Conservative government in Canada would be resisting science as much as they do? That they would be ignoring the environment the way they are? I'm going to say no. If the Americans took it seriously, and had signed on to Kyoto or put strict regulations in place, we (and Harper's Conservatives) would be right there one step behind them, doing the same things. I think we can safely say there is no doubt about this.

But these are the people who have the most power to effect change. Every administration in every government in every country in the world is concerned about their legacy. And think about the legacy of some of our recent leaders. At the moment, Jean Chretien is best remembered for the sponsorship scandal, but fifty years from now, what will be his legacy? I think it will be NOT sending Canadians to Iraq. Saying "no" to the Bush government. That is what he will be most remembered for fifty years down the road. And Bush? What will be his legacy? At the moment it looks like the complete screw-up that is Iraq will be the lasting memory of Bush. But, again, fifty years from now, when people look back on it, that may not be his legacy at all. The destruction of a country, it's people, the creation of enormous amounts of terrorists all over the world, disastrous foreign policy and heavy-handed top-down control of the government, the downward spiral and possible future crash of the American economy, and the invasion of American freedom with the Patriot Act and other measures. Legacy? Maybe. But all of those things, fifty years from now, may pale in comparison to one thing. Inaction on the environment. If, fifty years from now, the United States are largely uninhabitable, the number one scapegoat will be Bush and his cronies.

"Everything's Cool" takes a look at the "backlash" against global warming. It examines the American attitude toward the crisis, which largely has been "what crisis? Really?" Hundreds, maybe thousands, of scientists have presented reports to the American government saying global warming is happening. Now. It is helping to create all the crazy weather and bizarre climate happenings of the last few years. It is here, it is now, it is incontrovertable. There is no doubt. The government takes these reports and edits them. In editing them, they remove words like "is" and replace them with words like "may be". Well, "the world IS in crisis" and "the world MAY BE in crisis" are two very different statements. What big oil and the Bush government want to create is controversy. They don't want to win - they can't possibly win, they are arguing against facts and science. So what they want to do is muddy the issue as much as possible. As long as people continue thinking there is a "controversy" about global warming, they have succeeded, and they can say things like "it needs more research". Balls!

But what "Everything's Cool" is saying is that the main reason the environmentallists have failed in persuading governments that we are running out of time is that they are going about it the wrong way. When you show people melting ice, and a lonely polar bear on an ice floe, and pictures of Hurricane Katrina, it is effective for some people. But not for most. Most people will say "oh, that's too bad. Someone should do something." But then they have more important concerns. They are out of a job because the economy is crumbling. They can't afford to pay their property taxes, they need to find health care or a family doctor...these things are far more important to the average person than a polar bear on an ice floe. Therefore, no one is really seeing the big picture, mostly because they don't want to. If people are given two options to believe, they will more often than not choose to believe the one that is more convenient for them. So...the solution the Bushies have is - give them two options! Even if one does not exist.

But global warming is not Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or Sasquatch or UFOs. It is not something you can either "believe in" or not. They call it "theory" because that makes it easier to ignore. Well, evolution is called a "theory". Why? Because then hardcore right-wing extremist religious fanatics can ignore it. After all, it's just a theory. For them, it's inconvenient for them to believe in evolution. If it were inconvenient for people to believe in the "theory" of gravity, there would be newspaper columns and millions of websites and right-wing radio host nutjobs doing their very best to "disprove" gravity. And "Everything's Cool" offers (somewhat) a solution. Don't tell people all this negative stuff, like "you're about to die". A person will understand that. People will tune it out. It's too upsetting. So, here's what you do. You prove to people what these same scientists have been saying for years. Ending our dependence on foreign oil, converting to clean alternative energy sources, and cutting emissions drastically can be good. Not just for the environment, but for the economy! For YOUR wallet! Environmentallists have not gone this route up until now, because they figured the polar bear on the ice floe would move people more. And yes, it certainly should. But it doesn't. Giving them the positive news will actually spur people into action.

This is certainly possible, and I think it's high time we try. After all, the old methods are clearly not working. We need to start fixing this yesterday, and it's already tomorrow, and we have page upon page upon volumes of reports, and a lot of gum flapping and talk in the very places where action needs to begin. For more information about this excellent movie and about global warming and about what you can do, go to:

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