Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.


Tell it to a Plant

The dangers of carbon dioxide? Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is."

Rick Santorum, Biloxi, Mississippi, March 13, 2012

Of all the tripe to which we have been subjected in the never-ending Republican primary, this is the most ignorant. Partly because it was uttered with such willful hubris – and pride, if I remember my confirmation classes, is not just one of the seven deadly sins, it is the first of them. Moreover, the statement makes no sense, and it wouldn’t even if Santorum actually talks to plants. Plants, of course, depend on carbon dioxide, and we humans increasingly depend on plants to remove the escalating levels of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

For contrary to the pontifications of Santorum, Rush Limbaugh, et. al., the question of global climate change – and the role of humans in accelerating it – are no longer matters of serious scientific debate. I am not a scientist, but I have spent a lot of time with them, and I recently talked to one who studies carbon movement and climate change. Not only is the evidence “irrefutable,” he said, but as researchers refine the models, the message gets more dire. The good news, however, is that, if we get serious about addressing the issue, we can prevent the worst excesses of global warming.

If Santorum is going to dismiss something this important as “a hoax,” he should at least tell us why “liberal America” is perpetrating it – something more informative than “in Washington, blocking the American dream has become political sport.”

I hate to sound like a curmudgeon on such a beautiful day, so I am heading outside to enjoy the weather.

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