Gore puts climate on front page

Sour grapes quote of the week: "It's perfectly appropriate for Gore to win the Nobel Prize because it only goes to very left-wing people who are critical of America." Awww, come on Mr. Gingrich. Can't you join in former Vice President Al Gore's acclaim without such a demeaning comment?

Gore has been working hard to raise the public's awareness of a serious problem: climate change and man's contribution to it. Some applaud his efforts.

Even the White House said, "Of course we're happy for Vice President Gore and the IPCC for receiving this recognition." This remark was made in spite of the administration's failure to subscribe to the Kyoto Treaty, which is an international effort to control greenhouse emissions.

What is wrong with a man who came so close to being president of the United States spending his time encouraging the world's people to understand global warming and suggesting ways to control it? Informed people can address a serious problem and seek solutions. Understanding a climate crisis isn't a bad thing and probably has little to do with whether one is right-wing, left-wing, center of wing or some other convenient label.

Climate-related issues confront us daily. We are in a severe drought. Our governor is asking the U.S. Corps of Engineers to reduce the amount of water being released from Lake Lanier. People in Florida and Alabama are protesting. Cutting off water to those states would affect their ecosystems. We have been told not to wash our cars or water our lawns and outdoor plants.

Torrential rains in Costa Rica have caused hillsides to collapse, with many homes being lost. Rain-swollen rivers drive people from their communities.

Landslides in China are forcing the government to relocate millions of people. Many residents in New Orleans are still living in trailers, with no relief in sight. Everyone is awaiting that next big hurricane that could further destroy the struggling city.

Maybe we need more environmental crusaders like Gore who work to disseminate scientific knowledge about man-made climate change. Is this just alarmist data as some profit-makers claim, or has the scientific community reached a consensus that man is messing up his nest?

Perhaps there is an approaching planetary emergency, and maybe it would not hurt any of us to listen to Gore and all others studying the problem and sharing their knowledge with us.

Congratulations, Mr. Gore, winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Knowledge is power. As author Samuel Johnson says, "a desire of knowledge is the natural feeling of mankind; and every human being, whose mind is not debauched, will be willing to give all he has to get knowledge."

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and law enforcement officer. His column appears each Sunday.