Since you have probably never heard of global warming, let me take a moment to explain it to you.
The average temperature of the Earth has been rising since about the middle of the twentieth century, and a lot of really smart scientists who have been studying this phenomenon think that this change in the climate — this climate change, if you will — is anthropogenic, or caused by the activities of humanity. Seems all those years of burning coal and oil to produce electricity and run our cars have finally returned to bite us in the ass.
So what the hell are we supposed to do about this? There seems to be no short-term solution, which makes sense since global warming is by definition a long-term problem. Al Gore and others talk about carbon offsets, which sound suspiciously like a total scam to me. Planting a shitload of trees would help, since trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Another big help would be for all of us to stop burning shit to run our power plants and automobiles, since that right there is a huge contributor. So, we should get right on building those wind farms and installing those solar panels, okay?
In the meantime, there is something small but significant you can do. In two weeks you can participate in Earth Hour, a global event designed to demonstrate just how much of an impact we can have if we just used our resources more responsibly. All you have to do to take part in Earth Hour is turn your lights out and take your power usage down to the bare minimum for one hour — 8:30 to 9:30 P.M. local time, Saturday, March 28, 2009. Would that really be so hard?
There are some people, a few of them qualified climatologists, a great many of them ideologues with political axes to grind, who question whether or not global warming is truly anthropogenic, or if it is even happening at all. This is an important debate, but to me it also seems a little beside the point. Whether you or not you believe that global warming is happening and is man-made, we still undeniably live on a planet with finite resources that are being steadily depleted by a rapidly expanding population. Forget global warming — assume there is no such thing, if you have to. What possible reason is there not to use our natural resources more responsibly, not to pursue cheaper, cleaner, renewable sources of energy, not to minimize the impact of mankind on the rest of the natural environment?
March 28, 2009. Earth Hour. There is really no reason not to do this. Help make a statement. Turn the lights off for an hour and have sex. This is on a Saturday night, when nothing will be on TV anyway, so come on. Get your shit together.