Climate Change -- do the facts even matter?

Krista - posted on 04/27/2010 ( 33 moms have responded )

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After Mary Elizabeth's thread, and some of Christa's comments, a thought came to me:

Does it even matter who's right?

The argument tends to always be about a) whether the climate is actually changing, and b) how much human activity is affecting our climate.

It seems to me that most everybody says that human activity is affecting our climate to SOME degree. But one side says that it's nowhere near as much as science would have you believe. The other side says that humans have a major effect on our climate.

My question is this: who gives a damn? Whether we're affecting our environment a lot or just a little, does it really matter? Should we not all be trying to reduce pollution and toxic emissions anyway, even if tomorrow we find out that we have absolutely NO effect on overall climate?

Why do we keep getting in pissing matches about who is right and who is wrong, when it only makes sense ANYWAY to try not to belch pollution into our air and water? Why do some people use denial of climate change as an excuse to drive the most gas-guzzling, inefficient vehicles around?

Am I just being naive, or are we hurting ourselves and our planet by getting all hung up in who's right, who's wrong, and how many fracking lightbulbs Al Gore has in his house?

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ME - posted on 04/28/2010

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Ooooo....I hate using disposable diapers...but there is no diaper service here...I tried G diapers with Miles, and they worked great...unless he pooped...then we had a disaster! If there is a good brand of hybrid diaper out there that someone knows about, I would love to give it a shot with Mayah (I would love to try plain old cloth without the service, but I can't spend 2 hours a day at the laundry mat!).

I do think we need laws against pollution...Big CO. do not regulate themselves (clearly), and many people are lazy...I am really bad...there is no community recycling program where I live right now...at first I kept recycling seperate, and took it to a center, but I got lazy, and the cans, bottles and paper were piling up, and I wasn't finding the time to take them to the center...I sort of gave up...I feel terrible about it...BUT, if my community made it easier, I would totally do it. A law requiring communities to provide recycling services would be great...Stricter regulations on big business would super as well...I don't think there's any reason not to do these things...

BTW...Just because Al Gore doesn't "practice what he preaches" doesn't mean that what he preaches is wrong...attacking the person doesn't make his argument wrong!

Krista - posted on 04/29/2010

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Carol's exactly right. Look at wetlands destruction, for example. The destruction of North American wetlands is entirely caused by man. And over 70% of these wetlands have been destroyed.

So, not only does this destroy nesting and breeding grounds for several species of waterfowl, but it also destroys habitat for several other animals.

Plus, wetlands tend to act as a bit of a gapstop when it comes to flooding. They collect excess groundwater and runoff, preventing a lot of pollutants from entering into waterways, and preventing a lot of excess water from entering into our rivers (and people wonder why we seem to be experiencing more flooding in the last 30 years?)

So this is just ONE aspect of things. Humankind's destruction of wetlands is having a serious effect on animal species AND on our own quality of life. So like Carol said, what about all of the other ways in which we negatively impact our planet?

That was the point of my post. Who gives a shit about Al Gore? And even if you want to ignore climate change altogether, that's fine. But we NEED to get our act together and stop acting as though our actions have absolutely no long-term effect on our planet. If we stop polluting our air, stop polluting our water, stop fucking with our wetlands, stop making so much damned garbage, and stop consuming so damn much, then that's all the same things that the climate-change scientists want us to do anyway. So by poo-poohing the science and disregarding their recommendations, we're only hurting ourselves.

Johnny - posted on 04/28/2010

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Irregardless of whether or not large scale climate change is occurring, it blows my mind that people will argue that man is not having an enormous impact on the ecosystem. The evidence that we our over-fishing has killed of many major fish populations, that our actions alone have lead to species extinction in some cases, and that we are responsible for ruining the habitats of a huge variety of species is not even disputable. And that is just in terms of the impact that we have had on other animal species. It doesn't even begin to take into account how we have effected the water, air and soil. I can post ad nauseum on the topic, but I'm pretty sure that those of you who agree already know, and those of you who disagree wouldn't bother reading it anyway. I could care less what Al Gore has to say, I think he is a bit of a buffoon. But there is massive scientific evidence that human interactions are causing enormous problems for the earth, even if the climate stays the same. And don't make the mistake of assuming that the repercussions won't negatively impact your life.

Christa - posted on 04/27/2010

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Oh and the people using it as an excuse to drive their SUVs are just a-holes. While we are on the topic. . . all the liberal elite that speak out for the environment, like Gore, and then get onto their private jets and and go home to their giant homes are doing far more damage then whatever lightbulbs I have in my small home. If they actually led by example they might get a better response. Instead of their "do as I say not as I do attitudes."

Kelly - posted on 04/28/2010

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Exactly. If he can't even follow the guidelines he wants the rest of us to live by, how realistic is that? I don't think it's attacking him to say that he is hypocritical in his words vs. his actions. When he went out and made his movie, and pushed the whole global warming thing, he opened himself up to criticism. If he actually followed it up with personal action, he would have more of a leg to stand on, and others wouldn't be able to point out his shortcomings so easily.

I use G diapers and haven't had a problem with poop. Did you try the cloth inserts or the flushable "disposable" ones? I find the flushables do a little better on the #2's. You can either flush 'em, or compost them, or just throw them in the regular trash. If you have to stick with disposables, Seventh generation makes a good one, no chlorine, biodegradable, etc. When you order from diapers.com they really aren't too much more expensive than the bigger brands huggies and whatnot.

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?? - posted on 04/28/2010

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Hey, here's another thing you can blame Obama for...



http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/comm...,0,3445944.story



The Obama administration and the International Whaling Commission want to allow legal hunting again.



"No one was surprised when conservation organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council challenged the anti-environmental policies of President George W. Bush. But it's a shock to many when we part company with the Obama administration.



It happens. It's happening right now on the question of what to do about commercial whaling and, more specifically, whether to maintain the 25-year-old moratorium against the killing of whales for profit. Last week, the International Whaling Commission announced a proposed 10-year deal, spearheaded by the Obama administration, that would suspend the moratorium and allow whaling countries to kill whales legally for commercial purposes for the first time in a generation.



There's no disagreement between the council and the administration about the fact that the moratorium is one of the singular environmental achievements of the 20th century. Before it was adopted, on average an estimated 38,000 whales were being killed each year. Since the moratorium, that number has dropped to about 1,240, and whale populations have begun, little by little, to rebound.



There's no disagreement that whales are among the most extraordinary creatures ever to inhabit the Earth. And there's no disagreement that we need to protect them, or that many of the large whale species covered by the proposed agreement -- humpback, fin, sperm, sei and Bryde's whales -- are depleted or near extinction."



And now... the STUPID ASS PEOPLE who are capable of making the decisions that make a difference are going to completely OBLITERATE any of the progress made.



Fish... the ocean... this whole 'marine ecoproblem' may not seem like a big deal, but they all tie into each other.



It doesn't matter if it's Al Gore or if it's Obama or if it's GWB or if it's Capt' Paul Watson who is saying it or living it. As long as we keep TRYING to make the changes we need to make.



You can bash Al Gore all you like but at least he IS saying something. At least you're talking about it. At least you're looking for more information. How many of us around here know about the pending doom of the species of our oceans and the impact that that alone will have on our quality of life? I'm guessing not all that many.

Kelly - posted on 04/28/2010

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Actually, yes it is. What Gore talks about is a "planetary emergency" and a "climate crisis". While I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who believes that man has absolutely no effect on our climate, there are plenty out there (notable scientists in relevant fields included) that don't feel we are causing the level of damage that Gore and Co. want you to believe.
It is hard to ignore the supposed claims of a consensus in the scientific community. Such claims can be quite intimidating to the general population. Gore et al is feeding off of fear to try and force us to buy into the hype.

I just look at it more like the science of the human brain. Experts are learning more and more every day. There is no way for anyone to just KNOW what is affecting climate changes. And then there are the "facts" that are slowly being disproven.

For example, the debate about the ice caps and arctic glaciers. Gore made a big stink about the Greenland caps shrinking, when evidence actually shows that they are actually gaining mass. Arctic temps were as warm or warmer in 1940 than they are now. Alpine glaciers have been retreating since the early 19th century, and they were advancing for several centuries before that. Since the 70's, many of the glaciers have stopped retreating, and some are now advancing again. No one can definitively say why.

Just as it is impossible at this point to prove or disprove life in space, or whether or not God exists, I personally believe it is a little misguided to think that man has such a huge impact on the planet. Yes we do impact it, I am not disputing that. But I just think to suggest that we are so completely guiding climate one way or another is misleading.

Krista - posted on 04/28/2010

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"Exactly. If he can't even follow the guidelines he wants the rest of us to live by, how realistic is that? I don't think it's attacking him to say that he is hypocritical in his words vs. his actions"

But even if he IS being a hypocrite, is that any reason to completely dismiss what he says? Unfortunately, it appears as though a lot of people throw the baby out with the bathwater, and dismiss any and all messages about helping our environment, because they don't like the messengers.

Jenny - posted on 04/28/2010

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I love our recycling program. Every home has three bins. Black for garbage, blue for recycling, green for yard waste. Garbage is dumped weekly and the other two alternate weeks. There has been talk of adding a compost bin for food waste. There is no sorting and you don't need to buy bags. The truck has an arm on it for picking up and dumping the bins.

The yard waste is turned into a product called OgoGrow which is in high demand. The money goes back to the landfill. We also produce methane at our dump which is resold.

Appliances that meet EnergyStar requirements are PST exempt so you save 7%. There are also numerous other tax breaks for energy saving upgrades. SmartCars can park for free in the city. Transit passes are tax deductible.

Many of the new condo buildings and developments are being built with geothermal heating and cooling systems.

So we are definately getting a good start on being "green" but there is so much further to go.

?? - posted on 04/28/2010

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People listen to the advice of others that do / did the complete opposite all the time.

I'll be completely honest - I've never in my life gave a shit about what Al Gore has had to say about anything... but I'm sure he's saying the same things that 1000's of other people are saying, proving to be correct and practicing.

So maybe coming out of his mouth it doesn't hold the same weight, but if you match it up with all the people whos words DO hold the weight... then they still have the same meaning, just coming from a douche instead of an accredited source.

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Mary, We don't have the G diapers in the UK, not sure what the covers are like or how well the disopsable insert works. I'm just about to give the new BG flip diaper a try.You can use cloth inserts or they have Oeko-Tex certified disposable inserts. They feel really soft, yet to discover how absorbant though. The covers look great, one size birth to potty, and I've never had any trouble with the fit of my bumgenius.

Will let you know how they perform!

Christa - posted on 04/28/2010

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On Al Gore, if his message is so true then why doens't he follow his own words? It looses it's weight, regardless of it's it true or not, when he doesn't follow his own advice. "Be the change you want to see in the world", I think that's what we have all been saying. If he and other's like him can't lead by example, why the hell should Joe Schmo. That's not my attitude, but I'm sure it's what many say when they hear him and others say one thing and do another.

Kelly - posted on 04/28/2010

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Krista, that is an excellent point. But Christa also has an excellent point. And Sara, that kind of ties into your point. :-) You all have shown examples of how you are "doing your part" to save resources, cut pollution, etc. I really don't think there is a person (sane at least) out there that wouldn't believe that the way we live in general is wasteful and harmful to our planet. Sara, your question was why not legislate against pollution..... I think to a degree there is legislation in place (i.e. littering laws and such) that help discourage a wasteful and neglectful attitude. But legislation like the suggested Cap and Trade, wouldn't necessarily do anything to STOP pollution as much as be a tool for the government to tax yet another thing that all people use. I will have to google to make sure, but I believe I read that companies that exceeded their allotment for carbon emissions would be able to purchase "rights" from those that aren't using their whole allotment.....

And I know someone mentioned tax rebates for energy efficient appliances and such. I am pretty sure we all agree that that is a great idea, and it has done a lot for those that want to upgrade and do more to make their homes "green". But couldn't it be said that it would be extremely harmful to many if those upgrades were mandatory? For example, the area I just moved to is very old. There really aren't new houses here, they are all from the 1800's and early 1900's. The area has been very depressed for a long time until recently. (natural gas drilling) These people would have to do so much to upgrade their houses and conform with the suggested Cap and Trade. Insulation, appliances, siding, etc. 10's of thousands of dollars. They would NEVER be able to recoup their money at sale. The houses just wouldn't be able to be sold at a higher price point. I am all for new construction being more responsible. But I feel that it should be a demand from consumers, not the government. And as Christa mentioned, a lot of the outspoken "green" people like Gore and some celebrities, loose their credibility the moment they jump on their private jets or in their big armored SUVs that get 2 miles to the gallon. To me, it means more coming from someone like Ed Begley who actually lives very green. Lead by example always works in my book.

On a side note, Carol I too received an "education" on cloth diapers. I had used seventh generation disposables with my first, but my liberal, tree-hugging sister (lol) showed me the misconceptions about cloth diapers just weren't true anymore :-) With my second I didn't hesitate to use cloth. She loves them, I love how easy they are to clean, and the covers are so dang cute ;-p

Sara - posted on 04/28/2010

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Here's my question though, why shouldn't we have legislation against pollution? Why shouldn't we have laws in place to protect not only our environment but the people who live in it as well? People bitch about the fact that government is too big and makes too many laws that restrict what we can do, but don't you like knowing you can go to the grocery store and buy meat that isn't going to give you mad cow disease because you know it's been inspected?

Dana - posted on 04/28/2010

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Canceled your National Geographic!! That I can't do, love mine too much. lol I recycle all of my magazines but, I keep those. I gave up Cosmo, because it was a shitty magazine, doesn't that count though! ;)

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It is totally irrelevant. Nobody really knows what our climate is meant to be doing. If the change is natural or man made, why does it matter? Pollution is man made, waste is man made, the planet isn't creating that ... WE ARE!!!



We do not have infinate fossil fuels. Wars are waged on the basis of whoever has the oil has the power. We have the intelligence and know how to switch to green power, wind, water and sunlight. They are there. Once the facilities are in place they cost next to nothing to produce the power. I have solar panels on my roof. I won't pay a penny over the summer to have hot water, nor will I be wasting fossil fuels to do so.



Everyone should do what little things they can. We have a really good curbside recycling scheme where we live. The council provide the bags. All anybody has to do is to sort things into the different colour coded bags and put them out every other week for collection. But people don't bother. Rubbish day today and we put out 2 bags of regular rubbish. 2 doors down have 5 bags out. Thats a weekly norm although we normally only have 1 bag. Tomorrow though we will have several bags for recycling. Cardboard, glass, plastic and tins. They will have none. It's not costing them anything.

It's so annoying!!!



I do everything I can to be respectful of this planet. I recycle, cloth diaper, buy energy efficient products, online billing and statements. None of these things require me to make huge changes to how I live my life, they just require an occassional thought. If there are any other things I can change then I'll obviously give them serious consideration.



Health wise, pollution can not possibly be considered good. Whenever I've spent a day in London, I'll wash my face and be completely disgusted by the colour of the face cloth. I'll blow my nose and be grossed out by the black snot. I notice it because I'm a country girl used to clean fresh air. If you are exposed to that daily I'm sure you get used to it as normal. If it does that to my outsides, What damage is it doing to people, children, who inhale this air into their lungs on a daily basis? Is the quality of the air the reason for increases in asthma. It would be idiotic to ignore that possibilty.

Same with water quality. Massive difference in the water quality I'm accustomed to compared with that with many major cities. You can feel the difference when you wash. You can taste the difference. I could never drink city water straight from the tap even though it's considered completely safe.



I don't care if people don't believe that climate change is man made. When they use it as an excuse to be wasteful and destructive of the environment then .... grrr!!!

Jenny - posted on 04/27/2010

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Ok, here goes again...



Global warming is a media term. I know I've always understood it as climate change; but there's your reason why the general population does not. Corporations are itching for a way to profit from this and cap and trade is it. Cap and trade is WRONG. It is not affecting the amount of carbon in the environment, it is just passing the buck. The only credits are happening in bank accounts.



I remain on the fence if climate change is man made or cyclical. I have not came across the information that would sway me to this point. It may by cyclical but how can we tell when so much wierd crap has happened? I'm certainly open to evidence though.



Why can't we just work to reduce pollution overall?



The real problems are consumption and contaminating water. We are wasteful creatures and we love crap we don't need to be made in the first place. If we got rid of dollar stores and Wal Mart we'd make a big dent but there's a ways to go. We don't need 18 kinds of toilet paper and we don't need an aisle of frozen pizza. Every one of us has more toys than we know what to do with. There are endless examples of garbage we buy because we can and are produced because we buy it.



We have no excuses, we are doing this to ourselves.



This is all made with resources we don't have to spare fpr garbage. Yes, WE are the problem. So what do we do?

Johnny - posted on 04/27/2010

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You are so right Jo. If we each start to make a lot of the little changes in life, it will eventually add up to a big change in our lifestyle. My plan was to make a little change every month. To do one thing in a more environmentally sensitive manner every month. It has really been pretty easy to do it that way. For instance, last month, I changed all my utility accounts and bank accounts over to e-billing, canceled my National Geographic subscription, and started doing my crossword puzzles online instead of buying a whole newspaper for them. Not a big deal, but if we each made those kind of changes each month, we would see a difference.

?? - posted on 04/27/2010

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I agree with you Carol and unfortunately I was completely self absorbed and ignorant to many issues until just recently... long after I started using disposible diapers and now it's just a matter of my son HATED wearing cloth diapers after being used to wearing disposibles. I know it's an excuse... I'm sure he would get used to it... but for a week he would scream and cry and whine continually, barely moving, he would stand up, sit down, move to one couch and lay there while whining... literally for a week he did this until I put a disposible back on him and he was happy, pleased as punch again. My next child I will be using cloth diapers from the get go.

I have made choices in my life and changes in our household to be more green. I recycle almost religiously... and I have also gotten my parents and my in-laws on board too.

I've been gathering information constantly since I had this change in my life, mind and heart and even though I may not be able to make the BIG decision to make changes....... I can make the decisions in my life to make little changes.

I've also become a lot more motivated to look into other causes, support causes that deal with the earth and earths creatures. I've always loved travelling... I've always loved seeing all the different things this earth encompasses... and I want those things to be around when my son finds the same facsination I have... and his children and his children... etc etc etc. So I don't see the harm in doing the things I can do... even if I can't make the big decisions, the lil changes only makes my life more organized and productive.

Johnny - posted on 04/27/2010

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I'm just confused about the motivations for people who wish to stop positive action from being taken to protect our environment. And I'm not talking about cap & trade, I don't see that as positive action. For example, I use cloth diapers. I made the decision to do so after doing quite a bit of reading on the environmental consequences of cloth vs. disposables. And despite what some people like to believe, they aren't even close to similar in their environmental impact. But constantly, people mock me for my decision, tell me I'm wrong (although they clearly have no evidence to back up that assertion), and tell me how they couldn't do it anyway (insert excuse here). Now, this is a very small example of this kind of thing, but nonetheless, it exemplifies a larger problem. No one wants to make any changes to their own life to improve the environment. And until people stop making excuses and pointing fingers at everyone else, we are all just going to be circling the drain faster and faster. Climate change won't kill the earth, she'll survive. But it will significantly negatively impact human civilization. So really, change is in our inherent self-interest. But unfortunately, as history has demonstrated on plenty of occasions, we have no freaking clue about what is best for us (see Easter Island).

Dana - posted on 04/27/2010

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I couldn't agree with you more, Krista. It drives me absolutely batty. What's wrong with having clean air for our children to breathe? Seriously, that one really gets my goat.

Jenny - posted on 04/27/2010

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I always copy & paste before I click post cause COM kept doing that to me too Jenny,sucks when it does that !!!

The sad part is I had it highlighted to do just that. Then hit reply instead of paste. Fail!

?? - posted on 04/27/2010

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Has anyone watched "The Cove" ? There's some pretty interesting facts and information in that movie -- it's completely off topic -- nothing to do with climate change really but the same concept applies in both situations.

In the movie they said that if we continue the way we are in the fishery industry, in about 40 years the ecosystem for the marine world is going to be so ruined that countries that rely on fish as their main protein could face a starvation that they might not recover from. In Asian countries, 7 out of 10 people rely on fish for their protein intake. That means in about 40 years, 7 out of 10 people risk starvation because we'll have fished all the fish, killing all the food for the bigger fish, leaving whales starving, and killing them too. Which will then start killing off the other animals in the ocean............ it has a domino effect.

And it works for all aspects of our world, not just the fish.

We KNOW what the problems are, but, the people who CAN make a difference - don't. They choose $$$ over life. It's all superficial.

Now there's no way to know if Al Gore or other government people are giving us real stats and we have no way of knowing what scientists to believe or not - except whatever our own personal belief system and life standards will allow. So it's up to us individually to make the changes and choices we can make to do what we think is best. And it really doesn't matter who is right or wrong as long as we are doing something good, better, trying!

There are some people that do more than others, and there are some people who risk their very life in order to make things better... as long as there is discussion and there are voices, it doesn't matter who's right or wrong. But like it's been said in another thread, emotion and anger and passion is good - right or wrong - who cares as long as it's there and people continue to talk about it, and try to do what they can do!

Rosie - posted on 04/27/2010

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i think it does matter. there wouldnt be government regulations like banning cfc's in aerosol-we sure would like to keep the holes in the ozone layer at a minimum. i don't see how anybody can think that's good.
also the government wouldn't mandate that all cars need to have a certain miles per gallon standard by 2012, or 2015 (can't remember).
if we all just shut up about it people wouldn't know that energy efficient furnaces, and waterheaters and stuff like that are GREAT for your finances (and of course the earth), even though they cost a bit more at first. people wouldn't be buying them left and right, and i don't think that we would have as many of these products in our stores.
i think the pissing match keeps it in the public eye, so the more talking about it, the more people are now aware that may not have known before.
like i said in the other post. i am astounded that people don't buy into climate change, it seems like simple common sense. that being said, i'm sure that they can buy into the fact that exhaust from cars, and smokestacks is harmful to US, as humans. i mean we won't smoke around each other and we make laws regarding that, but we'll sit around and breathe the air that's filled with a thousand worse things than cig smoke? how is that good for you at all? maybe my hippie, english teacher, best friend, has my judgement clouded. i doubt it though, she's pretty fucking smart.

?? - posted on 04/27/2010

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I always copy & paste before I click post cause COM kept doing that to me too Jenny,sucks when it does that !!!

Krista - posted on 04/27/2010

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I knew it. We should have just stuck with "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute", and we'd probably be farther ahead now....

?? - posted on 04/27/2010

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To me it doesn't matter. It never has and never will. To me it's about wanting to do what I can. I don't care if what I do or don't do, does or doesn't, make or break why the earth sticks around longer as long as I know that I'm doing as much as I can to be a part of a solution and not part of the problem.

I don't control anyone else, I can say what I have to say and be the example I need to be for the people that I can influence but other than that I can only hope that people will do their part.

Charlie - posted on 04/27/2010

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No it doesnt matter , i want my children and my great grandchildren to enjoy a beautiful , natural , breathable planet .

You wouldnt trash your own home to the point of it being unlivable why do it to the planet ?

LaCi - posted on 04/27/2010

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Climate change out of the equation we have some serious thinking to do about how we're going to proceed environmentally. China has been a manufacturing powerhouse for how many years? That's how many years it took for "cancer villages" to develop because they've devastated their water supply mining for material to make out batteries. When it comes to water its everyones problem, and its an immediate problem. We need to be environmentally conscious.

As for emissions and such, why are we bothering with fossil fuels? I would REALLY love for someone to explain why everything isn't powered by water, wind or sunlight. It doesn't make sense to me, with free and endless resources available WHY am I seeing commercials about how we should be drilling offshore? And after one of the fancy aesthetically pleasing rigs they keep boasting just collapsed, exploded, and is now threatening floridas wildlife reserves. It's all ridiculous, and it comes down to money, plain and simple. People in control have a vested interest in the very things that are going to kill us all. They're morally bankrupt and completely self serving.

And I don't even know if I addressed the post at this point, but dammit I needed to rant for a minute :)

Christa - posted on 04/27/2010

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I think it's an excellent point and I agree. If it had stayed just a science theory and we should all do our part, there wouldn't be this controversy. But Al Gore and his like want to use this to pass political policy forcing people to do things, like the current cap and trade bill. The rest of us who do are part already and are for smaller government have to speak out against this theory to stop political policy.

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