Gore Hopes for US Climate Change
- 6 Jun 06, 04:58 PM
While Gabrielle, the world's climatologists and possibly most citizens of the UK accept the general idea that Global Warming is a present day fact, I am not sure the same can be said for my neighbours here in the USA. With the 2008 Presidential elections on the horizon, this feeling may well be why Al Gore is hoping to change the politcal climate here by stepping into the environmental fray with his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" which warns of the imminent dangers of climate changes. I understand the documentary is based on a PowerPoint presentation he's been toting around the world! Clearly it must be about as exciting as "The Da Vinci Code". Yet the doc. has opened to critical acclaim in the liberal hang outs of the Sundance Festival and the artsy theatres of the east and west coasts. But here in the heartland of conservative middle America, it's arrival has been heralded with an eerie silence only punctuated by the toll of the conservative church bell as tumbleweed blows down the real mainstreet USA.
It isn't that middle America isn't aware of global warming, everyone points a finger in its direction each time a hurricane hits or forest fires flare up, it's just that it isn't in the mainsteam agenda and quite frankly nobody seems to care at a personal level. The USA is the global "Big Mac" of carbon emissions, each of us responsible for about 20 tons of Co2 release per year, yet Bush concentrates on issues like the sanctity of marriage and building border walls against hard working Mexicans rather than even discussing something that most constituents feel is far beyond them to do anything about.
So why do ordinary Americans shrug their collective shoulders and ignore the problem? Clues lie in Al Gore's handy list of "Top Tips" for "Saving the planet." There are some laudable directives like "insist politicians make this planetary emergency their top priority" and "think about conservation and efficiency in the way you use resources" but the sticking points to success are in the practical details. One piece of advice suggests "Use a clothes line instead of a tumble dryer". In my neighbourhood that is not allowed under threat of a fine! How can we citizens conserve resources when my Home Owners Association also insists we inflict and maintain carefully manicured lawns onto the desert landscape? Every weekend is accompanied by a backing track of screaming strimmers and whirring mowers.
While I can only complain to the local authorities about the ludicrous domestic rules I think I may have a partial solution to another of Mr. Gore's imperitives "Drive Less". Clearly no one here is prepared to do that, that's clearly insane, but as I sit in my family carbon emitter stuck at yet more traffic lights I see a glimmer of hope - roundabouts! I'm serious! Every town and city is built on the grid system. Every grid junction is controlled by traffic lights. Fully 25% of a short car journey can be spent waiting at needless lights pumping carbon into the air when there is no cross traffic. My plan is to simply paint roundabouts at all junctions so that during non rush hours, the lights could be turned off (saving lots of electricity) signalling to motorists that the roundabout system is now in operation. In fact I'm building a compelling PowerPoint presentaion for Mr. Gore to show the extent to which carbon emissions would be reduced nationally from this simple and cheap solution. Anybody know a good documentary film maker?
Meanwhile Mr Bush clearly believes, and countless millions of Americans may be wondering whether Al Gore's film should really be titled "An Unsellable Truth."