Watching the pot

Boiled-frog syndrome: That’s where the frog, when it’s put into cold water, seems quite nonchalant as the water heats up to an intolerable degree. When the temperature finally hits 212 F, the frog dies. It’s a metaphor, of course—for us. We have been heating up our world without acknowledging the symptoms, and through denial have planned our own obsolescence.

Over the top? I hope you’re right, but according to too many scientists, we have a very small time frame in which to keep the metaphorical water from boiling. What do we do about it? It’s obvious from President Bush’s latest speech that we will get no help there. But we are in an election year, and that’s a good thing. We can educate ourselves about climate change/global warming, realize that this is priority number one and make sure we vote for as many pro-environmental legislators as possible.

How to start? Mark Lynas has written a compelling book, Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet [Random House, 2008]. Scientists predict a rise of temperature between one and six degrees over the next century. Each chapter in the book represents an additional degree of warming, and shows us how, when and where life will change. It’s a sobering and chilling book. I now think very differently about each day: How can I lessen my carbon footprint?

Here are some good Web sites for continuing information: www.climatecrisiscoalition.org, www.moveon.org, www.wecansolveit.org. The League of Conservation voters (www.LCV.org) has a great, easy-to-read National Environmental Scorecard. Take it with you to the voting booth; pick the candidates with the best environmental scores. And, oh yes (nag, nag, nag)—read Chapter 3 of Six Degrees and then think about whether you really need to take that car out again.

— Parrish Rhodes
Asheville

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