What is happening to our planet – call it climate change or global warming or what have you – is a matter of great concern to many of us and so it is often a topic of conversation. Usually, the conversation is considered and interesting, filled with passion or, at least, ideas. I enjoy and very much engage in conversation about what I refer to as climate change.
I recognize that not everyone will share my take on the subject and generally I am very respectful of other views on the matter. I do not pretend to know the answers and will leave that to the brilliant minds who continue to work most directly on the problem. When I say generally respectful – there is one unfortunate exception so far – and we’ll refer to him as Chuck.
While my traveling companion and I were enjoying the view from the little cafe in our hotel this evening, we struck up a conversation with the table next to us. Now, the occupants at the table seemed like sane and reasonable people. We started off in the typical way that travelers do – exchanging our stats (where you are from and why you are traveling) and interesting tidbits that we know, if any, about the places others are from, interesting tidbits about our home bases… you know.
Once Chuck heard that I live in Canada’s North (I had to explain to him exactly where Yellowknife is located, but that’s not unusual), he shared an interesting theory with me. I like to call it Climate Change Theory for the Insane (hence the title of this post).
It goes like this:
A. The world is getting warmer. (Good start, accurate and concise – so far, I liked the theory and that short sentence let me know that the theory would likely be about climate change).
B. The world is getting warmer because ice is melting. (Well, he’s put the cart before the horse but okay, it’s Chuck’s theory after all).
C. (Yes, there were actually letters – Chuck is not a numbers man). The cold water from the ice melting is mixing with the warm water from the South and that is causing unusual weather patterns all over the world.
D. He is not melting the ice. (For the record, I did not once accuse him of personally melting anything, especially the ice).
E. The melting ice is not caused by industry in the South, because the ice is not in the South.
F. The melting ice is not caused by industry in the rest of the world either because they already used up all their ice. (Huh?)
G. The melting ice must be caused locally, where the ice is kept. (That’s right – he said ‘kept’)
H. So the people who are living near the ice are responsible for keeping the ice cold. (You can’t make this stuff up.)
I. The Artic (he left out the other “c”, I guess he didn’t think it was necessary as I would know where he meant) people have to stop the mining because it is melting the ice. No mines would mean lots of ice and no climate change.
J. Look at what the mines did in South Africa. (I was unaware until today that South Africa was suffering problems with their mines melting their ice – obviously this is a bigger problem than I thought!)
L. (Chuck skipped the K. so it was either an irrelevant point, it went by so fast that I missed it or he thinks it belongs in the word “Artic” a la Arktic). We should not be mining for diamonds and gold in the ice anyway, because it is not safe for the workers. (Wow, excellent point and obviously now I understand why they refer to diamonds as ‘ice’).
M. We should shut down the mines and the ice will “grow” back and that will be the end of climate change.
N. If we do not do so, he would suggest to his government leaders that maybe it is a good idea to take over the Artic to save the rest of the planet, what with us in the Artic being so irresponsible (man, it’s hard to purposely mispell Arctic but this is how he pronounces the word.)
O. It’s that simple. (I think this was actually Chuck’s way of discouraging debate over his theory but it was too good to omit from the post).
The rest of the conversation (as it related to climate change anyway) went something like:
Me: “That’s interesting and definitely something to think about. I think though that the melting ice is caused more by the fires in Antarctica.”
Me: “Yes, you know the ones. The fires started by the American scientists at their research base. The ones that caused the Ross Ice Shelf to break off into the ocean.”
Chuck: “What fires?”
Me: “You know, they made a movie about it. It starred Kurt Russell, came out a long time ago.”
Chuck: “Oh yeah, but I’m sure they put those fires out a long time ago too. I’m pretty sure they aren’t still burning.”
Me: “Maybe you’re right.”
It probably was terrible of me to take this poor man’s theory and compare it to the plot of a sci-fi horror flick but what the hell, I did it and I won’t apologize for it.
Many of you (well my two loyal readers, anyway) will be thinking “Gee, Terri. That was mean. This is just some poor, uneducated guy.” No, no. No. Chuck is not uneducated. He holds a bachelor’s degree from a rather prominent university (I am told) and the rest of the conversation (the economic crisis, Barack Obama, the war) was intelligent and thoughtful.
Perhaps Chuck was pulling my leg but his traveling companions looked uncomfortably like they had heard this theory before and knew better than to engage him.
So there it is, and I had to share it, it is our fault for melting the ice. We should stop it and it’s that simple.