Apr 242002
 
Authors: keith CHRISTIANSEN

First, a quick note on my last column. My mind may never return from its extended vacation and my body hates me, but my soul is safe; so please, don’t try to conform me. The point I tried to make was not that I need saving, simply that even groups with truly unique beliefs can thrive at institutes of higher education like CSU.

Speaking of people who think outside of academia, President Bush will not let the defeat of drilling in ANWR keep him from drilling something. Now, he wants to bring his wealthy friends to the Rockies so they can bring some natural gas to the surface.

Here’s what I think: Our president had some intimidating experience once when he was outdoors and, ever since then, has been trying to destroy the biological world that so demoralized him.

How else can you explain his anti-environmental stances?

When asked recently about Al Gore’s claim that the mandatory limits Bush is calling for in several air pollutants will ultimately increase the maximum levels allowed, Bush said he doesn’t pay attention to him anymore. Ari Fleischer pointed out that Gore made those same claims in 2000 and Americans weren’t interested. True, Ralph Nader proved how dangerous idealism could be. However, the administration consistently dodges questions regarding the scientific facts behind criticism of their environmental policy.

Take, for example, the recent failed attempt to drill in the five percent of Alaska Eisenhower protected. Bush’s claim that the oil could be removed “without leaving a footprint” was fortunately studied by the U.S Geological Survey. The effects would have been devastating. But our system of checks and balances cannot always prevent his administration from further ecologically separating us from the rest of the industrialized world.

His refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol has created even more contempt for our nation from greener states. The tiny island nation of Tuvalu is so frustrated with rising global temperatures, which will eventually make the ocean swallow their country, that the government is contemplating a lawsuit against the U.S. While it is doubtful that even Erin Brokovich could get them a settlement, it is an indication of the contempt other nations have for the world’s biggest producer of greenhouse gases.

These are the same greenhouse gases that former U.N expert on global climate, Harlan Watson, asserted contributed to global warming. His replacement by an economist has drawn even more attention to Bush’s antipathy toward the environment. Watson was an American, yet a memo has surfaced from an American oil company recommending his dismissal. One would hope Bush would have been in the same corner as Watson, not the other way around.

I’ve done enough overstating the obvious: Bush cares more about the wealthy than about nature. We need a solution. I see one overly-simplified way to begin the healing of both the environment and the international perception of the U.S.

My solution is simple: education and better allocation of funds. A better-educated population will see why it is important to protect what we have here. Calls for renewable energy sources will be louder and more frequent. And, with enough funding, we will be able to find a way to support our lifestyle without destroying what we have left of the natural world.

It is clearly practical to reduce our dependence on oil, foreign and domestic. Yet this will not improve the size of Bush’s petroleum friends’ bank accounts. For this reason, I am pessimistic about any immediate improvements.

Keith Christiansen is a senior studying English and computer science who can be found celebrating the end of college at the Matrixx this weekend.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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