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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Earth Day Dichotomy

I think I finally figured it out.

I've been struggling to figure out why some people are willing to believe in the possibly of global warming, while others seem to be so staunchly from Missouri. And it isn't just a left-right, liberal-conservative, Democratic-Republican thing, though it does have aspects of it.

Well, here's the (cheeky) theory; it's all dependent on how they view the legal system.

Let's take group A, which I'll call Red. Red wants to make sure we lock up all the people who need locking up (not necessarily including their friends). Red is dependent, though often bends, the rule of criminal law which requires evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. Red has doubt, which Red finds reasonable. So, Red doesn't seem to want to do anything until there's total unanimity of opinion. Examples of this thinking: a recent Wall Street Journal op/ed piece, the current administration's position that we can't do anything until China does, the let's sit on our hands position of the EPA that was vacated by the Supreme Court recently.

Then let's take group B, which I'll call Gray. Gray thinks we need sweeping changes, which can often be done with a class-action lawsuit. The rule of civil law requires that only a preponderence of evidence support the position, which is good enough for Gray. Thus, Gray finds the rising temperatures, stranded polar bears and hungry penguins, the increase in severe weather, the disappearing bees, the poor maple seasons to provide a preponderence of evidence of human-generated global warming. Well, maybe not the bees. A leading Republican on this side appeared on the cover of Newsweek recently; notably, he's one of the few who isn't running for President, because he's ineligible.

Regardless, what I loved about this Earth Day/Month was the Step It Up protests all over the country last weekend. "We're not going to join all together in a mass demonstration and waste all of that petrol!" they were saying. "Act locally."

In New York, there's conversation about expanding the bottle bill (five cent deposit on returned soda and beer cans and bottles) that was passed a couple decades ago, to water bottles, sports drinks, bottled iced tea and the like. I'm in favor. The growth of sports drinks and the like was not anticipated when the original law was passed.


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