Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ted Turner: Global warming could lead to cannibalism

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

If steps aren't taken to stem global warming, "We'll be eight degrees hotter in 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow," Turner said during a wide-ranging, hour-long interview with PBS's Charlie Rose that aired Tuesday.

"Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals," said Turner, 69. "Civilization will have broken down. The few people left will be living in a failed state — like Somalia or Sudan — and living conditions will be intolerable."

One way to combat global warming, Turner said, is to stabilize the population.

"We're too many people; that's why we have global warming," he said. "Too many people are using too much stuff."

Stop it, please. Knock it off.

I know I should ignore these statements. It is Ted Turner. However, I see this is as a notable example of our counterproductive tendencies toward shrieking, hyperbolic alarmism.

I am so tired of doomsday scenarios. I've been hearing this crap since the seventies and none of it has come to pass. By the time I was graduating from high school, I was convinced we were all going to perish in global thermo-nuclear war or in its horrific aftermath. I've seen a number of these scenarios foisted on a worried, fearful and overwhelmed public and I have to declare that it's all complete bullshit.

The world has problems, major problems, no denying it. But if we can't get it together enough to prevent a Mad Max cannibalistic orgy, then we deserve our fate.

I have been green since the seventies. I haven't owned an automobile since 1995. I am 100% behind clean and green alternatives, technologies and lifestyles. I don't want to live in a polluted environment. None of us should. It just seems that we should work toward cleaning up our messes and preventing further ones because it's what we should do, not because we're motivated by Al Gore or The Discovery Channel or Ted Turner warning of impending dystopian awfulness.

These kind of messages serve no useful purpose for humanity at large. Fear ignited by them is misguided and the rest who reject the message, or just can't handle it because they have too much other stuff to worry about in their lives, make little effort toward making things better.

I see two disturbing trends that have emerged this decade. One is the Right's fanatical obsession with the War on Terrorism and all of its baggage, and the Left's fanatical obsession with Climate Change, (formerly known as Global Warming) and all of its baggage. Both operate in much the same way. There's no room for debate and if you dispute any of their views you are branded and shunned. I am just as wary of emerging eco-fascism as I am of the more garden varieties.

It is my fast conviction that we have to transcend turning every issue and crisis into an ideological and political football game. Somehow, I see cannibalism more probable, but I hold on to my hopes.

I have nothing against Ted Turner, but I do think it is irresponsible to use a bully pulpit, such as it is, to deliver these misinformed and ridiculous statements. It might serve those prone to such outbursts and attitudes well to take a look and a moment to see how it really comes off and just what it accomplishes.

If you'd like to see for yourself, here's a clip:

The media have always made bank with doomsaying, fear and horror; if it bleeds, it leads, this is nothing new. But lately, I've noticed a higher density of doom in the news. Along with the ubiquitous economic and environmental ill tidings, war and rumor of war, there have been a number of stories like this:
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Lawmakers from California to Kentucky are trying to save money with a drastic and potentially dangerous budget-cutting proposal: releasing tens of thousands of convicts from prison, including drug addicts, thieves and even violent criminals.

Officials acknowledge that the idea carries risks, but they say they have no choice because of huge budget gaps brought on by the slumping economy.

First of all, how many other types of criminal are there other than drug addicts/users/dealers, thieves and violent criminals? That pretty much covers it, doesn't it? What is the purpose of this statement, other than to cause alarm?

And don't try to hand me this guff that they're releasing them because of the slumping economy. We've been throwing so many people into prison over the last twenty years that they've been sagging under the weight for just as long.

This is just one example of many I've seen lately. They're turning it up a notch with these kind of items. If anyone has any ideas, insights or opinions on any of this, please let me know.

I'll stop now.


crow said...

Bravo! Here here!

Anybody remember "the home of the Brave"? That includes bravery to face to future.

Even if it's Pandemonium 2008!

John M. said...

People act like if you breathe too hard on this planet, it will dry up and blow away.

People, societies, and ecosystems are far more robust and resilient than people give them credit for.

Anyone who has lived in Louisiana knows how tenacious nature is. Fall asleep too long and you'll have vines growing on you.