So Pat Sajak, the "Wheel of Fortune" guy, says he's solved global warming. Really. He says in a post at Ricochet.com that the solution lies with men (and women). We have to make our own change, suffice it to say, rather than hoping that our government will save us. While this may sound good-natured on its face, it's actually a swipe at the environmental movement. Sorry, Pat, but global warming is a little more difficult to solve than one of your game show puzzles. Let's dig in. In his Ricochet post, Sajak takes a swipe at Al Gore, and offers this idea:
"... if those True Believers would give up their cars and big homes and truly change the way they live, I can't imagine that there wouldn't be some measurable impact on the Earth in just a few short years. I'm not talking about recycling Evian bottles, but truly simplifying their lives. Even if you were, say, a former Vice President, you would give up extra homes and jets and limos. I see communes with organic farms and lives freed from polluting technology.
Then, when the rest of us saw the results of their actions--you know, the earth cooling, oceans lowering, polar bears frolicking and glaciers growing--we would see the error of our ways and join the crusade voluntarily and enthusiastically."
Does Sajak have a point? Should there be less talk and more personal action in the green movement? Yes and yes. But boiling the problem of global warming down to people with extra homes, jets and limos takes our eye off the prize. The point of taking steps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases is to stave off the worst effects of climate change, like rising sea levels, species extinction and a damaged world for our kids and others who live longer than us.
It's the Pat mentality that got us into this mess in the first place: Short-term thinking and pitting groups against one another, instead of thinking globally, thinking strategically and relying on science.
Yes, science. Now Pat will probably tell you that climate change and global warming can't be forecasted. Because weather can barely be forecasted. Climate change represents a change in long-term weather patterns. Global warming refers to an average increase in the Earth's temperature, which in turn causes changes in climate. It's kind of confusing, I know, Pat. These definitions come from the EPA kids page.
Why should we care what Pat has to say? Because this is just one example of the discussion that's going on in conservative and liberal circles: If Al Gore won't reduce his footprint, then I won't reduce mine. And, extending that out: If China won't reduce its emissions, then the U.S. shouldn't have to reduce its emissions, either.
Let's flip Pat's argument upside down. Let's take it as an encouragement that personal actions can make a difference, from raising awareness and fighting for change (which Gore has done a bit of) to recycling, composting, riding a bike, buying carbon offsets, donating to environmental groups and the like.
The "true believers" that Pat speaks of already are having a positive, measurable impact on the Earth. Here's hoping Pat and others like him will see the results and "join the crusade."