copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert. BeThink.org
Today, Americans are engrossed in earthquake coverage. The tremor in Haiti bought unimaginable death and destruction just south of our borders. Events related to the recovery and rescues emerge as banner headlines. Haitians Seek Solace Amid the Ruins. For a week now, the struggle to survive, revive the injured, and retrieve the bodies strewn on the streets of Port-au-Prince was also the central theme of most every broadcast. In the midst of the misery, many Americans, felt desperate for a reprieve from the devastation that emotionally drained them. Millions took time to escape in a welcome distraction. Sassy, former Governor and Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin Made Her Debut appearance on Fox. Tomorrow another reality will replace these stories, just as each superseded the hoopla over Harry Reid’s reference to race. Metaphorically, the tales provide persons, policies, and, or practices fifteen minutes of fame. In actuality, these fade from our mind quickly.
One narrative can and will replace another instantaneously. Americans need only an inspiration, a titillation, a temptation, or a tease to turn their thoughts from one subject to another. Over the next months and years, a myriad of yarns will receive quick and ample consideration. Populist positions, presented with flare could captivate the country again and then again.
A prominent person fallen from grace might be the nation’s next amusement. A young boy, or girl, might seem to be in imminent danger. Another sexy blonde accompanied by her husband could crash the White House gates. People want “the dirt,” that is, as long as it is not toxic waste, or pollution news.
Ability moves Americans. We are attracted to appealing personalities, presentations, and performances. Authority impresses us. We will tune in if, perchance, the President of United States makes an appearance. The prospect of a sensational speech draws international attention. This truth is not lost on regular people, politicians, or the President. Any or each of these individuals might use this “reality” to their advantage.
Mister Obama might, once again, plan to further his own fifteen minutes of renown. On an issue as important as environmental imbalance, the nation’s Chief Executive did just that. Mister Obama scheduled “about nine hours” to actively engage in climate change policy negotiations.. This might be considered a colossal amount of time. After all, President Obama is, as many Americans are, busy.
Whilst true; people have much to do, perchance, the Chief Executive and citizens have become thrill seekers. In this country countless wish to be the provocateur. Others only crave the provocative. Scientists who study climate change would want to be amongst those who roust the people. Their research, while they believe it to be racy, for most is nothing but mundane.
The veracity is for most environmental explorations are as reality, mundane. On Monday, it is snowy. Tuesday brings rain. Wednesday will be sunny. “Wait five minutes and the weather will change.” What appears outside the window is merely a matter of natural conditions. Excitement lies elsewhere. Enter animated images that move quickly across the screen. Exit purported facts and figures. Data does not deliver delightful moments. Decoration, declarations, drama, any distraction, these are the diversions the Western Press provides, and the people demand.
Possibly, that is why most of us missed previous reports. In September 1998, headlines heralded, what we experience in modern times is the Fastest mass extinction in Earth history. While fascinating, this discovery was nowhere near as delicious as Bill Clinton’s testimony about his relationship with a young female assistant. That little tidbit could easily occupy more than the measured fifteen minutes.
Months earlier, the esteemed Washington Post, also examined the issue. Mass Extinction Underway, Majority of Biologists Say. However, for most humans, that morsel was nothing in contrast to the news that a Conservative Group Buys Reagan Ranch.
That the research reveals humans may be the reason for this horrific destruction is nothing since our day of doom cannot be foreseen in the visible future. The 680-acre Reagan spread being bought by Young America’s Foundation, a 29-year-old group that teaches patriotism, limited government, and other values espoused by the former President, surely that will have an affect on all of society.
Of course, there was the article published late last August; Study Finds Big Storms on a 1,000-Year Rise. Certainly, this is troublesome for those who understand How Storms Can Trigger Earthquakes, Unfortunately, few appreciate what they likely did not read, let alone realize. No time to waste on climate change, report declares.
Americans are preoccupied with the abrupt, instant, urgent, today and perchance tomorrow, the earthquake in Haiti. What traditionally garners our attention is massive, murderous, moments that miss those of us in the States by mere miles. In times such as these, Americans come out en masse. We donate millions of dollars to a cause. We cry for what has clearly been a crisis for years.
Yet, even as we attend to the plight inflicted upon those in Port-au-Prince, and throughout the Haitian terrain, we do not address the notion that man and womankind have an affect on what for eons ago was the natural balance. In the midst of the mad rush to assist those who were injured during the seismic activity, most overlook what the majority of scientists thought obvious. Research reveals Point to ‘Carbon Starvation’ as a Cause for Tree Mortality.
It might be said that Americans were consumed with the current circumstances. There was no time, not even fifteen minutes to contemplate columns that appeared alongside news of the trembler. The truth might be that dry statistics do not sway people.
Prowess. Performance. Presence. Power. Pretty. Americans are captivated by what they think cool. Even corny tales can tempt people, or convince them of what is true. Persons who are believed to be capable can also be a source of stimulation. However, nothing compares to the person who falls from grace. In a world full of individuals who watch television, endlessly, the trivial has replaced principled, profound, practical, and all that is pertinent. A planet in peril, for citizens who pine for sizzle, is but a distant possibility. Indeed, most muse; “In my lifetime, I have seen meteorological conditions change.” The climate offers no warning. The situation is not critical.
Some in the Press choose to substantiate that sentiment. Man-made CO2 has minimal effect on climate change, claim global-warming skeptics. Distraction, and the attempt to diminish the deluge of discoveries, is far more electrifying than what appears in scientific archives; Humans Linked to Climate Change. NASA Study Links Earth Impacts to Human-Caused Climate Change Perhaps, President Obama said it best long ago, when he was amongst the masses In 2006, the Senator penned . . ..
It’s hard to deny that all the sound and fury, magnified through television and the internet, coarsens the political culture. It makes tempers flare, helps breed distrust. And whether we politicians like to admit it or not, the constant vitriol can wear on the spirit.
The spin works precisely because the media itself is hospitable to spin. Every reporter in Washington is working under pressure imposed by editors and producers, who in turn are answering to publishers or network executives, who in turn are pouring over last week’s ratings or last year’s circulation figures and trying to survive the growing preference for PlayStation and reality TV. The spin, the amplification of conflict, the indiscriminate search for scandal and miscues – the cumulative impact of all this is to erode any agreed-upon standards for judging the truth.
Sadly, Mister Obama too can get caught up in the cult of culture of personalities, pandemics, Party politics, and a performance. Given the chance to change the climate in a curative manner, an opportunity to transform policies, and amend practices that harm Mother Earth, Mister Obama faltered. He fell into the habit that is all-too American. Follow the favored fifteen minutes of fame rather than do the work necessary to understand, and bring about authentic change.
It seems that Mister Obama did, as citizens do; he chose the path of least resistance. President Obama performed in a manner that maintains his celebrity status. Originally, the Chief Executive expected his travel to Oslo to be ceremonial. Initially, he wondered whether he would even go to the Summit. Indeed, it was not until late in November 2009, the White House announced that Mister Obama, who previously had not committed to an appearance at the summit, decided he would deliver a speech.
Extensive pressure from other world leaders and environmental advocates influenced America’s Chief Executive’s decision. Most thought it vital that Mister Obama make the trip as a statement of American dedication to the climate change discussions. Heads of State from 190 nations, were expected to talk, and produce a definitive, albeit incomplete political declaration. Surely, fame would be fleeting, if the possibility existed at all at the end of the twelve-day meeting. A short, and less than fully constructive, Summit could not hope to strike a chord with viewers of reality television.
Pass the cookies and milk. American Idol is on the telly. In a country once proud to be the most educated, people perceive airtime is the ultimate achievement. If an individual has yet to appear on the screen, they gaze longingly at those who have. People dream of the day when fame is theirs.
Countless wish to be a star. Be it Barack Obama who flies in solely for the show of an accord on climate change, only to offer none. or the Golden Globe winners gone wild. Fifteen minutes of fame is not nearly enough. Vast numbers of individuals hope to create the video that will go viral, or a tweet that will be picked up by the press. Perhaps, a facebook message will move the media to cover me, or as meteorological , biological, and experts in Climate Change say, our shared predicament
The statement the planet is in peril evokes but a small amount of excitement if that. Indeed, those who see no visible sign of climate change say where is the evidence. One day it is cold. The next morning the weather report says it will be warm. Tales that tell of a dramatic rise and fall of the temperature seem unreal to those who think all is well. It is as it always was, millions cry, at least in my world. For billions of beings, life is dull and dreary, that is until fifteen minutes of fame comes their way. With climate change, a constant, legendary recognition could arrive sooner than later.
Citizens could find themselves caught in a historic blizzard. However, for the man in the Oval Office, just as for average American Jane’s and Joes, is a not big enough to make an impression on men, women, the President, Premiers, who prefer to deny the abundance of documentation or answers to the question, does man, or do.Large Dams Alter Extreme Weather Patterns?
As an attractive television meteorologist, a glorious good-looking girl [or gent] with a pointer demonstrates. We watch the visionaries who prance and dance on the screen. Surely, a physically appealing person can predict the future with flare and finesse. Scientists may know much, but do not entertain, titillate, or show us what we want, reality in the form of fun, folly, and fulfillment. Perhaps, the planet in peril will furnish what environmental experts cannot.
Reference Reality . .
- Haitians Seek Solace Amid the Ruins, By Marc Lacey and Damien Cave. The New York Times. January 17, 2010
- Sarah Palin Makes Her Debut on Fox. By Kate Zernike. The New York Times. January 12, 2010
- In Reid’s Comments, Hints of Obama’s Own Words, By Jeff Zeleny. The New York Times. January 11, 2010
- Haiti Coverage Examined. Reliable Sources. Cable News Network. January 17, 2010
- G.O.P. Takes Massachusetts Senate Seat, By Michael Cooper. The New York Times. January 19, 2010
- Toxic Waste, Man’s Poisonous Byproducts. The National Geographic.
- Pollution News. Science Daily.
- Reports. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
- Obama announces climate change deal with China, other nation. Cable News Network. December 18, 2009
- President to Attend Copenhagen Climate Talks. Office of the Press Secretary. The White House. November 25, 2009
- New Studies Point to ‘Carbon Starvation’ as a Cause for Tree Mortality, By Gayathri Vaidyanathan. The New York Times. January 15, 2010
- Insurance: Group claims stolen e-mails show risk in accepting climate change science, By Evan Lehmann. Environment and Energy Publishing. January 13, 2010
- America The Uneducated. Business Week. November 21, 2005
- Study Finds Big Storms on a 1,000-Year Rise By Lauren Morelo. The New York Times. August 13, 2009
- Obama Undermines the UN Climate Process, By Jeffrey D. Sachs. Project Syndicate. December 2009
- 6-year-old Colorado boy found alive in attic after balloon lands. Cable News Network. October 15, 2009
- How Storms Can Trigger Earthquakes, By Evan Lehmann. The New York Times. September 20, 2009
- Fastest mass extinction in Earth history, By Ed Ayres. Environmental News Network Incorporated.. September 16, 1998
- Mass Extinction Underway, Majority of Biologists Say, By Joby Warrick. Washington Post. Tuesday, April 21, 1998
- Clinton’s Grand Jury testimony released. British Broadcasting Company. April 21, 1998
- No time to waste on climate change, report declares, By Alexander C. Hart. The Los Angeles Times. November 11, 2009
- Mass Extinction Underway, Majority of Biologists Say, By Jobn Warrick. Reprinted in Lecture Notes for Applied Ecological Genetics. 2006
- A Grudging Accord in Climate Talks, By Andrew C. Revkin and John M. Broder. The New York Times. December 20, 2009
- Blizzard Dumps Snow on Copenhagen as Leaders Battle Warming, By Christian Wienberg. Bloomberg. December 17, 2009
- Obama’s Copenhagen Deal, By David Corn and Kate Sheppard. Mother Jones. December 18, 2009
- Off the list, but somehow on the South Lawn, By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne M. Roberts. The Washington Post. Thursday, November 26, 2009
- Obama hopes to seal the climate deal in Copenhagen, By Jennifer Loven. Associated Press. MSNBC December 18, 2009
- Europe snubbed in Copenhagen? By Gavin Hewitt. British Broadcasting Company. Tuesday, 22 December 2009
- Feared lost in balloon, boy found at home. MSNBC. October 15, 2009
- Humans Linked to Climate Change. Published as a NASA news release. May, 2008
- Man-made CO2 has minimal effect on climate change, claim global-warming skeptics. By Kirk Myers. Examiner. December 19, 2009
- $2 Million in Donations for Haiti, via Text Message, By Jenna Wortham. The New York Times. January 13, 2010
- Obama to Go to Copenhagen With Emissions Target, By John M. Broder. The New York Times. November 25, 2009
- Climate change: Prepare for global temperature rise of 4C, warns top scientist, By James Randerson. The Guardian. August 7, 2008
- Excerpts. Obama Describes Media Spin. The Audacity of Hope. By Barack Obama, 2006
- Humans Linked to Climate Change. NASA Study Links Earth Impacts to Human-Caused Climate Change. Geology.com. May 2008.
- Obama Will Go to Copenhagen, By John M. Broder and Jeff Zeleny. The New York Times. November 25, 2009
- Cold weather in a hot climate, By Andrew Freedman. Washington Post. January 2010
- Cold weather ‘doesn’t undermine global warming science, Telegraph. January 6, 2010
- It’s cold outside. What happened to global warming? By Eoin O’Carroll. The Christian Science Monitor. January 7, 2010
- Global Warming Myths and Facts. Environmental Defense Fund. 2010