Apr 222009
Authors: Caleb Thornton

I am sick of hearing about global warming.

It’s not that I don’t believe it is happening (though I do have a few reservations) and it’s not that I don’t think global warming is an important issue. Honestly, even as much as I can’t stand the man, it’s also not because Al Gore seems to appear out of nowhere when the words, “polar ice caps,” “greenhouse gasses” or “carbon footprints” are mentioned.

What really gets me are those damn polar bears.

As I am sure you are aware, those cute, furry little bears that have never done a thing to humans and only want to live in the peace and harmony of an undisturbed arctic are currently being massacred by humans due to the effects that global climate change have had on them.

The sad part is I just don’t care. In fact, I am fully aware that the few times I have driven the 30 seconds to school instead of taking my bike has probably led to one or two polar bears rolling over and breathing their last, but when it is 10 degrees outside and snowing, I have very little sympathy.

But, this does not mean that I am not fully conscious of the challenges our country and the world faces when it comes to climate change and the need to find alternative sources of energy. In fact, considering the amount of study that I have put into this particular subject, I would say I am probably more in-tune with the problem than most.

To me, the issue is pretty clear — whether you believe that global warming exists or not, sooner or later we are going to run out of fossil fuels. This is a fact no one can deny.

It is also undeniable that the U.S. is getting more and more of its oil from foreign sources, making our country extremely dependent on these ever growing imports.

Considering the combined problems of global warming, a limited supply of fossil fuel and an increasing dependence on foreign oil, you would think that Americans of any political background would be willing to work to find an alternative. But as of right now, this is not the case.

In fact, from what I can tell, many on my side of the political spectrum have become increasingly frustrated with the efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions while moving toward alternative sources of energy, but I don’t believe it is because of a lack of caring.

Instead, it is the heap of guilt that has been piled on them for years now over the effects of global warming that has made many wary of promoting a dramatic change in the way this nation gets its energy. I like to call this the polar bear effect.

What I do not understand, however, is why this problem seems to only be framed in the issue of global warming. There are other great reasons for this nation to be moving toward new energy sources, so why don’t we ever hear about them?

The Obama administration promised to bring a renewed sense of bipartisanship to solve the nation’s toughest problems. I’m not na’ve enough to believe that would be the case often, if even rarely, up on Capitol Hill, but our leaders have a great opportunity in this case to unite our nation behind a worthy cause.

If they would simply talk about our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and bring up the limited supply of fossil fuels, I guarantee that many conservatives and global warming skeptics alike would be willing to take a serious look at a solution.

Just please, leave the polar bears out of this one.

Caleb Thornton is a senior political science major. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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