Face Off

Jan 272008
Authors: Sean Reed

Chelsey Penoyer

Chelsey Penoyer is a senior speech communications major at CSU and is the chairwoman of the CSU College Republicans.

Recently, she wrote a piece for the Ram Republic, a publication of the College Republicans examining the mainstream environmental issue and taking on the idea of “Global Warming.”

Q: How did you first become interested in the issue of climate change?

A: Having seen it in the news a lot, I started to look into it a bit myself. After hearing Dr. Gray speak, I thought it would be great to get his theory out there for people to hear. I do not think he has had equal airtime as others on the issue of global climate change. So I wrote an article on his theory and findings from a presentation of his and an essay he wrote.

Q: Why aren’t you sold on the idea of Global Climate Change?

A: Global Climate Change I do believe in, it is global warming caused by man that I do not. The Earth goes through cooling and warming trends, global climate change, naturally. During the 1970s many were horrified that we would all freeze to death, now coming out of that we have gone to the next extreme, global warming. In another 30 years or so are we going to experience the same cycle as Dr. Gray predicts? History would most likely agree.

Q: Given the information that you’ve gathered, why do you think the idea has become so popular in America today?

A: I do believe that the media has played on people’s fears. Some media outlets have taken this and blown it out of proportion, and unfortunately there are some people who will just believe what they see on TV or read in the paper. It is a lot easier to just believe what people tell you than for you to look into it yourself.

Q: In your article in the Ram Republic, you refer to environmentalism as “the new Christianity” — why? And do you really think it has become this big?

A: Dr. Gray has made reference to this idea, “People are substituting Christianity for environmentalism . it’s a religion.” It has become a way of life, replacing Bibles with books on global warming.

Q: Along that same line, what do you think of the move by some hotels in California last spring to replace copies of the Gideon Bible (which can be found in most hotel rooms across the country) with copies of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth?”

A: I think it just confirms the extent in which some are taking this exaggerated idea to.

Q: In your article, you mention, briefly, media influence as a source of the popularity of the idea of Global Climate Change — why do you think the media has jumped on board?

A: It is much easier to sell doomsday on the front cover of a paper than it is to sell something positive. Global Warming was the perfect opportunity for some media outlets to take it and run, and make a nice profit off of ignorance.

Q: You mentioned in your article that you believe “there is a mild form of McCarthyism” directed at scientists disagreeing with the mainstream idea of Global Climate change. What did you mean by this and why do you think it occurs?

A: From Dr. Gray’s Essay, We Are Not in Climate Crisis, “A mild form of McCarthyism has developed towards those scientists who do not agree that human induced global warming is a great threat to humankind. The normal scientific process of objectivity studying both sides of a question has not occurred.” According to Dr. Gray, it all comes back around to money. When the government takes a stance on global warming and you are on the other side, it will be a little harder to continue your work. Scientists will not get funded if they do not jump on the bandwagon. So you either stand up for what you believe in and get penalized through lack of funding, or you throw your beliefs away, join the rally, and get funded.

Q: Do you believe there are any environmental issues (man-made or otherwise) that should be of concern to Americans today? What do you think they are and how do you think they should be dealt with?

A: Dr. Gray says, “The globe has many serious environmental problems. Most of these problems are regional or local in nature, not global. These environmental problems will require a wide variety of regional and local actions to be taken for their amelioration.”

Eric Sutherland:

Eric Sutherland is a 15-year Fort Collins resident and outspoken activist of issues related to Global Climate change and consumption.

He does not belong to any official organizations, but is active at the grassroots level to help clear up popular misconceptions surrounding the movement.

Here’s what he had to say:

Q: How did you first become interested in the issues of resource depletion and climate change?

A: The national high school debate topic in 1979 questioned whether the United States’ should become independent of imported oil. The country was suffering through an energy crisis. “The greenhouse effect” was a sliver of a sidebar within the discussion.

Q: You say the term “Global Warming” is an improper way to frame this

issue — why ?

A: “Climate change” better represents the collection of regional and global trends that are documented or speculated to be occurring as a result of burning fossil fuels and other human activities. Some regions (Europe) might see colder temperatures.

Q: Why do you think the issue of Global Climate Change has been getting so much press lately?

A: Undoubtedly, it is due to the significant efforts of concerned global citizens who have applied themselves to investigating this subject. The results indicate that emissions of greenhouse gasses such as (carbon dioxide) merit our most sincere attention.

Q: How do you respond to opponents of the theory of Global Climate Change, such as CSU professor, Dr. William Grey?

A: The most informed participants in this discussion recognize the uncertainty associated with climate science. Climate trends are easier to predict than the next 5 World Series Champions, but much harder to determine than whether college tuition is rising. People who discount the possibility of negative outcomes at this point are foolishly gambling with the future of our youngest citizens and future generations.

Q: Why should CSU students care about Global Climate Change?

A: Why should CSU students care about who is coaching the football team? If people do not care about ski seasons that get shorter every year, maybe they should consider that the energy they rely on for road trips is running low and the air they breathe is trending towards unhealthy. All of these problems are closely related and are addressed by the same solutions.

Q: What steps can individuals take to reduce their contribution to climate change?

A: Treasure the abundant resources we have available to us and recognize that we can live here and be happy with less.

Q: Realistically, do you think it is possible to reverse the damage that has already been done?

A: A much better question would be, “Realistically, do you think it is possible to evolve into a society with a significantly different impact on the global environment?” Yes, but we have to fix the whole system. The most difficult part of this process will be voluntarily changing the culture that is causing climate change and resource depletion. This will involve more than burning a different fuel or drinking a different beer. It will require everyone to think carefully about what is important in their lives and live accordingly.

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