Jan 282009
Authors: Phoenix MourningStar

I’m officially scared now. Is it still okay to admit to that? I’m scared!

I might have to also admit to being a “doomsdayer” too. But let it suffice to say that at the very least I’m no longer worried — just scared.

I’ve nearly come to the conclusion that we’re doomed, and it might be smart to begin hoarding all the natural resources we can and hunker down for impending doom.

I have little doubt that many of you reading this heard the same report on National Public Radio this week about newly published research that global warming is “irreversible” making it official — we’re screwed.

So much for all the hope the elections, now come and gone, instilled in us — we can now come down from the high and make plans for the end.

However, there is good news. We know who is to blame: It’s you! It could also be your friends, family and neighbors and me, too. But mostly it’s you.

How many times have you left the lights on all day, wandered the kitchen with the fridge door hanging open, left your car idling in the parking lot, continued to get your lunch at that place that still uses Styrofoam or taken that plane ride without purchasing the appropriate amount of carbon credits?

Yeah, the list is long and there’s plenty of evidence. You’re guilty. Guilty of not being enough of a hippie.

No worries, though, we’re all in the same boat now. Kyoto didn’t pass either, and that’s not really your fault, right? I mean, both the Clinton and Bush administrations rejected protocol, so no matter whom you voted for (if you voted), it’s not quite your fault.

Who won by not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol? We did, because legally binding benchmarks would have disrupted the American way of life.

You know: money, power and the charmed life of Americana — never negotiable.

It’s all good, though; It’s not as if we had much of a warning.

We thought we were making some progress. Our work places installed a few recycling bins around the office, we all went to see — voluntarily or not — Al Gore’s movie and eliminated ’80s hairstyles.

The news reports about the ozone layer deterioration in Antarctica seemed to be less frequent and no one seemed alarmed by the bad tidings of the four editions of the Global Environment Outlook reports.

We don’t care about the planet or the environment. Or rather, America doesn’t care about the environment.

The state of the Earth and ecosystems are only as important as the TV shows we’re driving home to see. We’re only as green as that witty t-shirt lets us be. Toxic dumps only matter if they’re in your backyard. And I don’t really give a damn about air pollution unless I have to live in it.

With this attitude, the Earth doesn’t stand a chance against the American way of life. But maybe this isn’t the whole story.

There are people dedicating their lives to the task of improving the planet and the outlook. Is it a lost cause? Maybe, but perhaps they just like a challenge.

I’m looking at the “Global Warming is Irreversible” article alongside a university announcement of “A close look at climate change solutions” series slated for Feb. 4-5 and skeptical as I am, I hope to see you all there.

The age of “We can’t do anything about it” has apparently passed to the age of “Yes we can.”

I wonder if it will be followed with the time of “yes we did” or “I wish we would have” or “probably could have.” Or maybe it’ll just be “I know you didn’t”?

Phoenix Mourning-Star is an environmental health graduate student. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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