Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Save The College Kids. Save The World

Found this story while trolling the Internet this morning about a woman in Detroit who became a soldier in the war against global warming after growing tired of explaining to her daughter why there wasn't any snow. Now, thanks to Margaret Hetherman there are billboards all over the Detroit area proclaiming, "Take back the weather."

It's an interesting choice of words that almost implies that somehow we once did control the weather and now we just want to take that control back. Of course, if you think about weather in a historical context, it's weather which has driven a great many historical events - but remember, this highlights man's powerlessness when it comes to the weather. The interesting thing about climate change and the demand for action in response to climate change is that it underscores a belief that we can control and harness our environment. (Or in other words, that we can do something to make it snow again.) Now, obviously we can exert control over our environment, but that control is brute force, not technical precision. It's a new sort of environmentalism that is just as concerned with what man can do as it is with "nature."

I was thinking about this in regards to the Virginia Tech discussion I had last week and thought that maybe the reaction to global warming is not so different from many of the reactions to the Virginia Tech shootings. We have this strong desire to exert control over our lives and over our environment and become almost fearful when situations arise that we have no control over. We'd rather believe there was something that could have been done about a lone, crazed gunmen and we'd rather believe that there is something we can do about climate change and natural disasters (think Hurricane Katrina). And really, this coincides with the political desires of most people in the civilized world today- we'd like to think that we can solve every problem through law making- everything from violent outbursts to violent storms.


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