After watching some interesting tv shows and reading interesting articles (yes, I read), my interest in global warming has continued to grow. After watching a report on how mass transit rider's carbon footprint is less than those who drive personal vehicles, my interest grew even more. A person's carbon footprint is how much carbon dioxide they produce through their lifestyle. I read that a resident in NYC that uses mass transit has a carbon footprint one-fourth of a person living in an average American city. This, to me, is obvious and undeniable. I don't drive a car that pollutes and my trash is recycled voluntarily and involuntarily. (Less trash in a landfill means less methane being produced which means less pollution also. I'm not sure if methane is carbon based, forgive me friends, but carbon footprint basically covers pollution so it should be called pollution footprint but that name doesn't have as good a ring to it.)
Even though I may consume more electricity than an average American (mass transit requires electricity), NYC electricity is provided via nuclear power plants, hydro-electric dams, and clean burning (cleaner at least) natural gas power plants. The busses are hybrid, the cabs are hybrid, and the police cars are becoming hybrid, so even the extra traffic is getting cleaner.
Considering everything mentioned (and not mentioned) I still believe my carbon footprint is less (maybe not one-fourth) of the average American. And lesser, in this sense, is better. Why is all this an issue for me? Because my lawyer friend seems to disagree. Though he never reads this, I still wanted to share my opinion with the world.
Now, another not theory but thought is why there is such a debate over whether global warming exists or how to fix it. I can build a metropolis on my computer (SimCity) and handle things like ordinances, zoning laws, population, etc and see how my choices affect my society. Why can't this be done on a much more grand scale. With computing capabilities today, we should be able to build a virtual society and test how economic changes affect industry and lifestlyes and how it all affects global warming. Now, one thing to consider is the drandiose amount of variables that this program would have to solve and relate to other variables. Everyone knows the best experiment is with one variable, but there is such a thing as multi-variable calculus so I know its possible.
However, one thing we don't know is what the future looks like. Even though the theory of special relativity claims that "time travel" is possible (its really just going slower than everything else), its still a theory. We can see the future through the past, though. (This is also how investment banking works. You see how the uneducated reacted to a similar event in the past that you are experiencing now and build your response based on that data. Well, that's how it should work. But once again, I'm the uneducated.)
So if you take past data you will see a trend eventually. This trend will carry on into the future so you have a rough guess how things will be assuming nothing changes. Then you can build relations based on the trend lines and then you can introduce changes and see what happens.
Apparently, this has been done. At least I was on the right track.
Why still the debate though? Well, as we all know, you can't please everyone and there are always skeptics. And, in the scientific community, there's always usually more skeptics than supporters on whatever the issue. This just leads to more testing and refining of theories. That is good; it just takes a very long time. And since we are on the edge of a "green revolution," we have a long way to go.
Skeptics argue that there isn't enough past data to build an accurate trend line, and trend lines aren't very good at prediciting the future with. If you had a trend line showing the rate of technological advances Rome was discovering, then we should be living on Mars right now. The smallest change (or big if you are the Romans getting beat down by the Visigoths) can throw a world far off of its trend line, either up or down. And the environment itself is so unpredictable (that's why tornadoes kill and earthquakes destroy) that anything past ten minutes from now is unknown. Even society is unpredictable. Our economy was trending its way out of a recession when suddenly millions of Americans foreclosed on their houses and the fifth largest bank in the world went broke. Few saw it coming but there was nothing you could do.
So it's nearly impossible to do. Prediciting the future is out of the question. However, one high school science teacher recently (last year) proposed a slightly different approach to the global warming catastrophie. He theoried instead of debating whether or not global warming exists, we should just take measures against it anyway. If we are wrong and global warming doesn't exist, all we lose is trillions of dollars and a few small uneconomically important countries, but we keep our earth and avoid total destruction. If we are right, we lose trillions of dollars and a few small uneconomically important countries, but we keep our earth and avoid total destruction. Yes, they're the same. But he proposes that the opposite, not taking any action, could lead to the end of civilation as we know it, so we might as well do something.
I didn't explain it as good as he did, but he proved some good points. I was convinced. I had my pen and paper out and was writing a letter to my congressman. However, he was proved wrong simply by a person suggesting we take precautions against being invaded by mutant gerbils from space. Basically, if we dumped a bilion dollars into precautions against every threat imaginable, we would go bankrupt quickly and still face being turned into gerbil food.
There's a million theories out there and any one of them could be right, so how do we know? My theory: who cares about global warming? At the rate the current economic, social, and environmental stability is crumbling, an ice age possibly ten thousand years in the future is beyond our scope. The biggest nation in the world (economically) is heading south. The second biggest nation in the world is communist and the third biggest "nation" is a bunch of pacifists. All I have to say is, it doesn't matter what is going to happen in a year, if we don't fix what's going on today.
Why should I help feed the homeless in Zimbabwe when the homeless here are a bigger problem? Call me selfish, but I don't get it. I never will. Its not for me to understand though.
I guess I didn't really have any theories in there. Just lots of pointless rambling. I just have this insatiable thirst for knowledge that can only be filled by college and not national geographic specials. I just want to learn and be smart. Someday I'll have my chance again.
I'm sure I said plenty of erroneous things that don't make any sense. Please politely tell me what was wrong, but don't expect me to know everything. I just know what I know and am trying to make sense of it all and the best way I can do that is through rambling.
Thanks for reading.
God is good. All the time.
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:: Ben 3:13 PM [+] ::