Actress Ashley Judd recently appeared before a House subcommittee urging legislation to address global warming. So who pays attention to celebrities and their causes?
Well, many scientists do and are warning that global warming and climate changes are putting man and animals at risk for extinction. The impact of climate change is scaring lots of people besides actresses.
How in the world are we going to do something about this serious problem? How do we protect our environment, achieve clean energy and stop burning so much coal and oil? Everybody wants a clean planet, yet we are polluting our atmosphere like crazy.
The economics of achieving a safer environment will hurt lots of people right in their pocketbooks, and this is cause for concern as well. If we get really green in a hurry, our living standards change. If we keep the status quo, here is what Energy Secretary Steven Chu tells us will happen.
He predicted that if we continue allowing global warming to occur, island nations will experience rising sea levels, be overrun and disappear.
No doubt about it. Man is a destructive critter and his activities could doom all of us. Continued use of fossil fuels will increase warming with more storms resulting. American coastal cities in places like Florida and Louisiana will be flooded, placing many individuals in peril. Cities may disappear under the water.
Those who poo-poo global warming and its effects will be quick to say there is no real evidence of rising sea levels, melting ice, or more frequent storms. They will tell you evolution demands extinction and so what if we lose some of our animal species. Yes, but extinction is forever! So ... are Secretary Chu and Ashley Judd merely alarmists?
There is little doubt that the problem is complicated and any new global warming regulations will be costly. How do we earn a living and still be kind to the planet? The coal miners of Pennsylvania and West Virginia want to know. They already know the meaning of depression and are hearing calls for reduction of more coal-powered power plants. They hear climate activists call coal burning plants factories of death. When the sun, waves and wind become new sources of energy, how will coal miners feed their families?
Global warming regulations are desirable, yet they will be costly for some. Climate change does involve human behavior and the solution to more global warming lies partly in changing man's behavior.
This is no easy task and many trade offs will have to be made. People will have to admit we have a problem and industry must be encouraged to move into a new era of clean energy opportunities. Each of us must make an effort to protect the habitat where we live. Burying our heads in the sand and denying we have a problem is not the answer.
Earth's future may well depend upon how man interacts with it and its wildlife.
# # #
Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.