Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Irresponsible Climate Zombies

I've been watching the new AMC original series, "The Walking Dead," on Sunday nights. The show, produced by Frank Darabont, who has made his reputation directing Stephen King stories that begin with the word "The" (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist), tells the story of a small band of survivors following a "Zombie Apocalypse."
Now zombies are interesting creatures. I've always found them fascinating and wondered exactly how they worked. I mean, they're dead people walking around right? (or dead animals. The "Resident Evil movies famously depict zombie doberman pinschers, and "Resident Evil: Extinction" featured zombie crows) So walking around requires energy of some kind and dead people are famously known for creating practically no energy at all. That's why they get very cold after they die, very fast. Okay, they do seem to seek food in the form of live people, shunning their fellow zombies. Presumably they're very hungry. They're always chasing after live people. That's all they do!
But why?! They're dead! They don't have any functioning circulatory or digestive system that is able to process the living people they eat into energy. And quite frankly I've never seen a zombie take a dump, despite the quite poignant image that may inspire. Where does all of that live people food go? If I didn't know better I'd be very sceptical about zombies and think they may just be the creations of science fiction and horror writers and film makers!
But they're on TV all of the time so they must be real. That's the basis of Fox News, right? If it's on Fox it must be true... or so they keep telling their viewers... and Fox, by the way, is the main source of news for zombies according to a recent Zogby poll.
And rarely do we get to find out how these zombie apocalypses come about, or what starts them. I've only seen two films that have told how the first zombie was made who then infected all of the other zombies making a zombie apocalypse. In the Resident Evil series it was of course the Blue Virus made by the Umbrella Corporation. And in House of the Dead 2, starring the lovely Emmanuelle Vaugier, some crazy college professor begins the apocalypse after murdering a student and attempting to resuscitate her with a zombie drug. I don't know why.
And what about all of these climate zombies in Congress I keep hearing about? What's a climate zombie? It appears to be any member of Congress that denies the consensus of the mainstream scientific community and the preponderance of evidence that supports the conclusion that the Earth's atmosphere is getting hotter, often referred to as global warming. I'm not even going to include the stipulation that the cause of global warming is the result of human activity, such as the dumping of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by industry and consumers which is a common argument of climate change deniers, that climate change is a natural phenomenom so we don't have to worry about it. I'm not going to include that because it doesn't matter what causes global warming. If your house is on fire it doesn't matter if it was caused by a lightening strike (natural) or if your Christmas tree catches fire (man made), you still need to get out of the house and try and put out the fire.
Climate zombies seem to concentrate within the warm confines of the Republican Party. As a matter of fact seventy-six percent of the Republicans in the U.S. Senate next year and 52 percent of Republicans in the House of Representatives publicly question the science of global warming. All four candidates set to take over the House Committee on Energy and Commerce -- Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) -- have disparaged climate scientists and climate policy. Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), who is taking over the House Committee on Science and Technology, believes that the "scientific data, from which global warming theories emerged, has been manipulated, enhanced or deleted" and that "reasonable people have serious questions about our knowledge of the state of the science."
Now unlike most zombie apocalypses I have a pretty good idea what started these climate zombies, what got them going... stupidity, bribes, and an astonishing amount of irresponsibility.
Along with "The Walking Dead," I also watch "The Rachel Maddow Show," almost every week night. Rachel has the knack of explaining complex issues so even I can understand them. I watched the night before last as a matter of fact, but Rachel wasn't on that night. I don't know why. Her substitute anchor person, Chris Hayes of The Nation magazine, who always does such a wonderful job, said she had the night off. What? Saturday and Sunday weren't enough for her?
Anyway, Chris talked about how all of these Republicans are so worried about the national debt, and how our "children and grandchildren," will be paying for this into the unforeseeable future. He played a montage of Senator and Congress-persons, one after the other using that talking point, our "children and grandchildren," and how worried they were about their financial futures. They are soooo worried! (of course they are at the same time implying that President Obama's policies are the cause of all of the debt that they are so worried about, (for our children and grandchildren of course), when actually the accumulation of this debt has taken decades, since Ronald Reagan was president, and is largely the product of Republican misconduct, such as deregulation of the finance industry and Wall Street, the Bush Tax cuts, and two unfunded "wars." They think that everybody has forgotten that they caused this mess to begin with, and Obama is just taking the steps necessary to repair the nation they broke. We haven't). It is amazing how worried they are. There is no other problem that is more important to them than the financial health of our children and grandchildren. Hayes mentioned that our unborn grandchildren may be the best represented constituency in the nation.
But when it comes to the air our children and grandchildren will breath, and the environment they will inherit, the air and environment that we leave to them, the Republicans are not so worried. As a matter of fact they don't care at all it seems. The entire Republican House leadership has signed a No Climate Tax pledge, stating they will “oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue,” which is a reference to Cap and Trade policies which would help reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and help reduce global warming, claiming they are opposed to new taxes and big government. They seem to be more concerned about new taxes for their air polluting big industry masters (the No Climate Tax pledge is sponsored by the advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, which was founded by... wait for it... billionaire David Koch, whose companies are some of the biggest polluters on the planet) than they are about our children and grandchildren. 153 House members in the upcoming 112th Congress have also signed this "pledge."
Their rationale for denying science and global warming is to insist that it doesn't exist. They say the planet is not warming (NASA states the decade ending in 2009 was the warmest on record), that cold weather refutes concerns about global warming (local weather trends are no indicator of long term global trends), that man's influence is unclear (we're discussed this above), that climate scientists are engaged in a hoax, scam, or corrupt conspiracy (why would they be? Who's paying them when in fact climate change deniers are backed by big industrial companies and trade groups... I mean really!), and that limiting greenhouse pollution would have no impact on global temperatures (some go so far as to say the decreasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would increase global warming, therefore we should pollute more for our own good That's kind of like when Reagan claimed trees caused pollution). Their denying is in fact a psychological coping mechanism itself called denial, in which a person denies the fact that a problem exists because they can't force themselves to accept the consequences of their admitting the problem does exist. Alcoholics do it all of the time. They say they don't have a drinking problem while continuing to get drunk continuously. Denying they have a problem allows them to go out and drink. Climate change deniers deny climate change exists which allows them to continue to hamper strategies to counter global warming with a clear conscious.
Unfortunately, denying global warming, or that climate change exists does nothing to solve the problem of global warming and climate change, and if nothing is done, and done soon (some say it may already be too late) then we are ensuring an extremely challenging, probably an exceedingly hazardous future for the children and grandchildren that our Republican friends seem to be so worried about, which would be the height of irresponsibility. Ignoring a problem, wishing it away, is what children do.
Now what do we do about these climate zombies? Well:
"According to a 2009 Carlton University and University of Ottawa epidemiological analysis, an outbreak of even "Living Dead's" [such as from "The Night of the Living Dead"] slow zombies "'is likely to lead to the collapse of civilization, unless it is dealt with quickly... the most effective way to contain the rise of the undead is to hit hard and hit often.'"
Based on their mathematical modelling, the authors concluded that offensive strategies were much more reliable than quarantine strategies, due to various risks that can compromise a quarantine. They also found that discovering a cure, since this would do little to slow the infection rate, would merely leave a few humans alive. Indeed, on a longer time scale, the researchers found that all humans end up turned or dead. This is because the main epidemiological risk of zombies, besides the difficulties of neutralizing them, is that their population just keeps increasing; generations of humans merely 'surviving' still have a tendency to feed zombie populations resulting in gross outnumbering. The researchers explain that their methods of modelling may be applicable to the spread of political views or diseases with dormant infection."

So it would seem our mission is clear. In order to save civilization, the world, and the lives of our children and grandchildren, we need to... no I'm not going to say chop off their heads. That's too old fashioned. But we do need to confront them at every opportunity, to hit them hard and to hit them often with the truth, with the facts, override and defeat them at every encounter. They are ruled by money. Sane people must be concerned with life for all, but especially the lives of our children, and their children, and their children.

Our friends at led by climatologist John Abraham of St. Thomas University, have set up a site that will have scientists like him answer whatever questions you may have about climate change and global warming and zombies. A link to the site can be found to the right, where it asks if you have questions about climate change.
Also the link below will allow you to take a five question survey to test your existing knowledge of climate change and get a free "Got Science?" bumper sticker, from our friends at the Union of Concerned Scientists and CREDO Action. I'm getting one and I don't even own a car:

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