Sunday, June 1, 2008
Interesting Thoughts From An Expert on Global Warming
A lot of people are confused about the environment. Some think global warming is a genuine concern, others don’t. Those that do don’t necessarily agree on the extent of the anthropogenic impact. And then there’s the question of who can you trust. An ex-vice president of the U.S.? An Australian paleontologist? Cate Blanchett?
I decided to go straight to the source and talk with someone who is actually an important part of the environment: Oscar the Oak Tree.
Paco: Oscar, thanks for being here today.
Oscar: Dude, I’ve been here every day for the last forty years. I mean, where am I gonna go? I’m a tree.
Paco: Right. So, since you’ve been here - rooted to the spot, so to speak - for the last four decades, you can provide some useful context on the environment. I guess you’ve seen it all.
Oscar: Yeah, rain, sunshine, snow, sleet, high winds; you name it, I’ve seen it.
Paco: In your opinion, would you say that the world has been getting warmer?
Oscar: Well, I don’t know about the world, but here in Fairfax, Virginia, I’d say conditions have been all over the map. And yet, every year, I drop a bunch of acorns, lose my leaves in the fall and get ‘em back in the spring. Same ol’ same ol’. Can’t really say that humans have made much difference to me, personally. Hah, hah, hah!
Paco: What’s so funny?
Oscar: A squirrel just ran over the crotch of two of my biggest branches. That always tickles.
Paco: Mm-hm. Tim Flannery, an Australian paleontologist who writes about global warming…
Oscar: Whoa, whoa, whoa! The guy’s a paleontologist? And he writes about global warming? And people actually pay attention to him?
Paco: Well, he is a scientist, and people tend to accord weight to what scientists say, even if they’re opining on a subject outside of their area of expertise.
Oscar: I guess, then, that some people – to coin a phrase – are just dumb as stumps.
Paco: Er, I suppose that’s true. Anyway, Professor Flannery has suggested that we release sulphur into the atmosphere in order to repel sunlight. What do you think of that idea?
Oscar: I’d say Professor Flannery has a bad case of crown rot, and he ought to see a botanist without further delay.
Paco: That’s about all we have time for today, Oscar. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, and maybe we can talk again soon.
Oscar: Anytime. I’ll be right here.