Looking for balance in the war over climate change
© by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, April 23, 2015


Celebrating Earth Day Week. If any readers have not yet taken sides in the great global warming vs. Al Gore-is-a-hypocrite debate, because you feel you don’t yet have enough information, this is your chance to get some valid insight. I have studied the issue for years, have read the reports from the right and the left, and am ready to give you my highly informed opinion about climate change: happening, not happening, if happening caused by humans, not caused by humans. My opinion is:

Who the flora/fauna knows?

All I can do is tell you what is true for me.

I think it is significant that I became an environmentalist (definition, caring about the planet I live on and its atmosphere that I breathe) at exactly the same time I became a libertarian. I suspect that New England libertarians are often environmentalists, because of their roots with the writings of Henry David Thoreau. Sometime in the early ’70s, I ordered a beautiful drawing of Henry’s head, merged with roots, branches, the produce of the earth itself.


I picked up more of this attitude from Salem’s Wiccan community, which has a centuries-old ability to prove its interest in the subject, long before this became politically correct. High Priestess Laurie Cabot, in her 1994 book, “Celebrate the Earth,” was urging shoppers to “bring your own bag to carry groceries.” Interestingly, that quote ended with “or ask for plastic.” One of the first goals of true environmentalists was to argue against killing trees to make wood pulp/paper in factories that polluted air and water. I’ve never chosen paper over plastic and am appalled that the new trend to ban plastic urges shoppers to choose paper. I try to remember to bring my own bag, or stuff the groceries in my large purse.

Though the word environmentalist entered my life as an adult, I clearly remember learning in grade-school that thrift was a virtue, that we should “waste not, want not,” so I came to associate this attitude with “conservatism.” I learned about Teddy Roosevelt and his national parks. So when I became involved in politics, I was surprised to find Republicans/conservatives sometimes in denial about the possibility that human beings could be having a negative impact on the earth’s environment.

Having grown up near a dying Lake Erie and lived in Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Athens at a height of their air pollution, I knew people were impacting water and air: how could they not? I’ve also watched as the technology promoted by Republican/conservative mindsets began to solve many of these problems, and the new ones that keep arising. But why the denial?

Because ... At some point the environmental movement was taken over by those who would use it to enhance Big Government, which is responsible for much of the pollution itself either directly or by failing to do its bureaucratic oversight job. Even I with my poster of Thoreau and my cloth shopping bags am reluctant to be associated with the liberals (looking for a cause), hypocrites (Al Gore getting rich flying around in his private jet preaching carbon taxes), and current politicians (afraid to appear an enemy of Mother Earth). Al Gore says, “the earth has a fever” and I, one little earthling, feel like throwing up.

This is what I know: Big Government, Big Business, Big Labor, not to be trusted on this issue.

Statists want to use “climate change” to enhance the power of government, its control over us. I’m old enough to remember the warning about the coming Ice Age turning to global warming then climate change: whatever works to frighten people into electing the power-hungry to “fix it.”

Big Business will abuse the environment for short-term profit, even though when caught they have to pay enormous fines and suffer really bad public relations. One proper role of government is to oversee Big Business — but we’ll talk about campaign finance another time. Big Labor doesn’t care as long as it gets jobs digging holes, laying pipes, things that for some reason, some Republicans call “growth.”

The March edition of my National Geographic magazine has a section on climate change, which it has, over the year of my subscription, shown some evidence of around the world. However, in an otherwise excellent cover story about “The War on Science,” National Geographic makes more of the influence the fossil fuel industry has on anti-climate change reports than it does of the fact much of the pro-climate change reports come from government-funded think tanks.

Even those of us who revere “science” need to understand the pressure felt by scientists, like non-scientists, to fit in with what is politically correct at the time — and government schools, creators of government-leaning media, make sure the population is moving in the correct direction, to enhance government power.

So, what I know. My Christmas cactus just bloomed on Easter Sunday! The climate is changing, as it has throughout time. Reading a sad article in the Monday Salem News about a WW I hero who won the 1914 Boston Marathon, I noted the reference to “another sweltering day” that April 20th. There wasn’t much snow in the Sierra Nevada for my son and grandson to ski last winter; not far away, in 1846, the Donner Party starved while snowbound.

I know liberals worry about the effect of climate change, as fiscal conservatives worry about the effect of the national debt, on their children and grandchildren. I don’t know too many people who worry about both, which is a mystery. I of course fear a coming fiscal meltdown and can’t imagine the already-dysfunctional world dealing with another billion people by 2025.

Despite our political differences, my son and I share a favorite book, which I now highly recommend to you: “A Friend of the Earth,” by T.C. Boyle. It was first published in 2000 and can still be ordered, for laughter, for tears, for balance.

Barbara Anderson of Marblehead is president of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a Salem News columnist.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

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