Salon on climate change
Salon has a mini-package of stories today on climate change.
The first thing that drew my eye was "Play Paul Revere," which promised "five simple ways individuals can fight global warming." I braced myself for the insipid boilerplate "change a light bulb!" chipperness. But to my immense surprise and gratification, three of the five have to do with engaging your community and your culture. Vote. Donate your time and money. And talk about it with people you know.
Official Gristmill Kudos to author Tracy Clark-Flory for keeping it real.
Also of interest, Katharine Mieszkowski takes a long, careful look at carbon offsets:
But is going carbon neutral the right path to reducing greenhouse gases? The early reviews by energy experts are mixed. On the positive side, buying offsets goes beyond fretful hand-wringing about government inaction and fist-shaking at polluting industry. Calculating personal greenhouse gas emissions makes people more aware of the ways their own daily activities contribute to the problem. Buying an offset allows them to take an immediate, concrete step, something more than writing a check to an environmental group or sending an e-mail to a congressman.
On the negative side, the best way to fight emissions is to prevent them in the first place, not offset them after they’ve occurred. Some critics worry that offsetting will encourage guilt-free consumption and shift the focus from conservation. Plus, the number of people willing to pay to offset their carbon footprint is so far small — the carbon-neutral groups together have customers in the low tens of thousands. The groups themselves, some of which operate as for-profits others as nonprofits, vary in quality and effectiveness, causing observers to warn, "Buyer beware." Other critics say the carbon-neutral movement is a poor substitute for the powerful hand of government.
And Walter Shapiro goes on at some length about how global warming is exactly the kind of problem our political system is bad at facing. It is, you might even say, the perfect problem.