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:,, The League of Conservation voters ( 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

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2 thoughts on “Watching the pot

  1. Matt Mercy

    I was doing a bit of research on global warming and happened upon a book entitled “The First Global Revolution” (1991) by Alexander King and Bertrand Schneider. It was published as a report from the Club of Rome and contains some interesting passages:

    “It would seem that men and women need a common motivation, namely a common adversary, to organize and act together in the vacuum such as motivation seemed to have ceased to exist or have yet to be found. The need for enemies seems to be a common historical factor…

    “Bring the divided nation together to face an outside enemy, either a real one or else one INVENTED for the purpose…

    “Democracy will be made to seem responsible for the lagging economy, the scarcity and uncertainties. The very concept of democracy could then be brought into question and allow for the seizure of power.

    “In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomenon do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together. But in designating these dangers as the enemy, we fall into the trap, which we have already warned the reader about, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself.”

    This publication was never meant to be read by the general public (though for the sake of plausible deniability, it is available). And visit for more information on this organization…and please think twice before you allow governments to take your liberties and degrade your humanity and quality of life in the name of “saving the planet.”

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