Thursday, August 13, 2009

Take A Hot Bath, Kill A Polar Bear

The temperature of the world has been much warmer than it is now--not millions of years ago, but only about 1000. During that warm period, there were Polar bears roaming the Arctic, Polynesians thriving throughout the Pacific, and ice pack weighing heavily upon Greenland and Antarctica. At least no one is suggesting otherwise.

Yet, today, there is a chorus of panicked voices warning us that our energy usage and the carbon it pumps into the atmosphere is threatening (through the mechanism of global warming) the extinction of the Polar bear and flooding Polynesians out of their ancestral homes. In near history there have been extensive periods that were much warmer than it is today, or even will likely become according to global warming predictions. None of those things happened then.

Our collective, highly educated, global warming panic attack spurs the question, "have we finally gotten too smart for our own good? There's no question that we're too big for our own britches. We've arrived at the place where we don't need an antiquated notion like the Devil to scare the bejeebers out of us anymore. We may need truckloads of Xanax to calm our irrational side, but in our evolved hubris, we instill fear and a sense of doom just by asking, "What if?"

On the other hand...

If you live in the far north, where the polar bears roam, a hot bath may well be the safest place to be should a ravenous specimen, stressed by climate change, break into your house. That species prefers its meals swimming in frigid water, and so it may well turn its picky snout up at the likes of you. But then again, if the global warming gurus are correct, the collective energy consumed in heating the world's baths might kill off the problem before it ever comes snarling through your front door. 

So go ahead and take a hot bath despite any global warming guilt, even if you don't live in the far north. You might kill a polar bear, but then again, you might just be saving a life.