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Author Topic: Climate Change and You  (Read 8890 times)

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Offline VekseidTopic starter

Climate Change and You
« on: December 02, 2013, 05:52:49 PM »
I made a post in another thread, stating that people who denied human-caused climate change were either willfully ignorant, or paid to hold that opinion.

Some people took offense.

Since not many people paid to troll forums like this get through the approval process, it's worth giving most the benefit of the doubt.

So, if you do take offense, I have a question.

If it was true, would you want to know?



About a year and a half ago, there was some question as to whether the current rate of oceanic acidification was matched anywhere in the past 300 million years.

There is no more doubt about this.

I would highly suggest reading the articles regardless of viewpoint.

The impact of what humanity is doing is enormous. 40% of Oceanic phytoplankton has died off in the past half-century. This is not some recoverable cyclical change - species of plankton are actually being wiped out.

Some skepticism comes from the form of "How could humans possibly have this much of an impact?"

Geology does give us a sort of measuring stick, in the form of igneous provinces. The most famous of these are the Siberian Traps, responsible for the largest mass extinction in the fossil record. These 'events' are in fact comparable to human activity - the total amount of fossil fuels we've burned + will probably burn is of a similar total magnitude, in terms of what gets released into the atmosphere.

Similar, but for one point: Humans are releasing carbon and other pollutants at least ten times faster than any flood basalt province we can analyze. There is no parallel, no point you can cherry-pick from history to say "but THIS!"

The impact of human emissions is a singularly unique event in world history, and its effects are reflecting this. Insurance companies are not betting on denial, either. Nor are most governments.

Go look up more about what is going on with Earth's oceans, if you can stomach it. They are a catastrophe in the making.



You cannot spend any meaningful length of time studying the Earth's oceans, and what is happening to them, without coming to a fairly solid conclusion.

Which generally resembles "How thoroughly have we fucked ourselves?"

Not as much as some apocalyptic nutjobs will proclaim, no. The cost of ignoring it goes up with each election, however, and it will be paid one way or another.

Offline Moraline

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2013, 06:24:28 PM »
All I can do is second this opinion, "people who deny human-caused climate change are either willfully ignorant, or paid to hold that opinion."

If a person doesn't believe it then I think they really need ask themselves why and take a long hard look at the mass of evidence out there that proves it.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2013, 09:43:24 PM »
I used to see it said all the time that talking about human-caused climate change is a commie conspiracy. I understood it was supposedly designed to provide an excuse for robbing entrepreneurs and workers of their earnings...

Offline VekseidTopic starter

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2013, 12:34:40 AM »
I used to see it said all the time that talking about human-caused climate change is a commie conspiracy. I understood it was supposedly designed to provide an excuse for robbing entrepreneurs and workers of their earnings...

Whether or not carbon credits are a good idea is a completely separate concern. My personal view is they are a bad idea.

This does not mean I have to deny reality to come to that conclusion.

Offline consortium11

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2013, 09:40:30 AM »
I used to see it said all the time that talking about human-caused climate change is a commie conspiracy. I understood it was supposedly designed to provide an excuse for robbing entrepreneurs and workers of their earnings...

I think one of the issues that at times clouds the debate is that I've seen the term denier/skeptic (often used interchangeably) to describe everyone from the fundamentalist deniers who refuse to accept climate change is occurring at all to those who simply object to the solutions offered. Hell, in one discussion I saw Hans von Storch called a denier because he believes that certain scientists have oversold the issues and because he's pointed out that global temperatures haven't risen as much as climate models predicted.

The other issue is that we're only really given three different "solutions" to climate change, each of which come with pretty significant political attachments; a return to the pre-industrial age, give the government lots of money in "green" taxes or carbon credits and trading (a capitalist "solution").

Those issues all get conflated together and thrown back on the science.

Offline IStateYourName

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2014, 10:26:54 PM »
I think one of the issues that at times clouds the debate is that I've seen the term denier/skeptic (often used interchangeably) to describe everyone from the fundamentalist deniers who refuse to accept climate change is occurring at all to those who simply object to the solutions offered. Hell, in one discussion I saw Hans von Storch called a denier because he believes that certain scientists have oversold the issues and because he's pointed out that global temperatures haven't risen as much as climate models predicted.

The other issue is that we're only really given three different "solutions" to climate change, each of which come with pretty significant political attachments; a return to the pre-industrial age, give the government lots of money in "green" taxes or carbon credits and trading (a capitalist "solution").

Those issues all get conflated together and thrown back on the science.

I've been something of a skeptic on this myself...but I've long maintained we should develop nuclear fusion for power and try and take carbon-emitting power plants offline sooner rather than later.  My reasoning hasn't been global warming, necessarily, but rather that we as a species really don't know enough about the atmosphere and how it works to go altering its chemistry.  We are like a small child wandering into the cockpit of a 747 in flight and randomly fussing with things.  Not a good idea, whether global warming is truly produced by humans in whole, in part, or not at all.  There are other effects--and I believe ocean acidification is almost certainly among them--to fiddling with things outside our understanding.

"If you're not trained to operate it, don't muck around with it" has been sound advice for my whole life, and I think we should take it.

Offline Skynet

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2014, 10:07:49 PM »
All I can do is second this opinion, "people who deny human-caused climate change are either willfully ignorant, or paid to hold that opinion."

If a person doesn't believe it then I think they really need ask themselves why and take a long hard look at the mass of evidence out there that proves it.

In the US at least, it seems that a lot of it comes from Republican and Libertarian groups and figureheads, and members of said organizations are inclined to believe them as trusted sources.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2014, 01:14:00 AM »
In the US at least, it seems that a lot of it comes from Republican and Libertarian groups and figureheads, and members of said organizations are inclined to believe them as trusted sources.

+1

This is frustrating. I am not a meteorologist or climate scientist or whatever. I need to trust someone more educated than myself on issues like this as I really don't have the time to pick apart each and every thing that I need to be informed of. When I see lots of conflicting information, I'm left wondering who to believe. It's very easy to just pick a side and argue that whoever is not for your side is stupid or uninformed. Ultimately you either believe what you believe because:

A. You blindly took the word of someone who you trust.

B. You educated yourself, amassed enough data, and researched the issue enough to be able to decide for yourself which side is right or wrong with a very high level of conviction. ( This is not always possible - especially if this is not your area of expertise. )

For me personally, I don't have enough first hand knowledge and data to determine for myself if global warming ( climate change or whatever ) is man made or not.  I am much more inclined however,  to go along with the consensus of the scientific community than with alarmists, religious folks and yellow journalists ( which all seem to be in the "denial of climate change" camp ).

This situation doesn't just apply to global warming but many other issues. Picking things like this apart is very time consuming. Sometimes you have to pick and choose which topics you are going to really delve into.

Offline Kane

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2014, 09:39:30 AM »


Now, let's get real here. If you are in the 'climate denier camp' then you obviously place no value to science whatsoever. To say that climate change is not real -and- human made is just an opinion someone pulled out of their hat these days. It has 0 credibility as a claim. It isn't even a debate worth having.

And for the sceptics among us: Going against overwhelming evidence and scientific consensus is not scepticism. It is scepticism to not believe the crazy conspiracy theories surrounding the subject.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2014, 09:40:51 AM by Kane »

Offline HDWalker

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2014, 09:23:43 AM »
The problem I have with this 'environmental lobbying' is that there are no alternatives.

Whether or not I agree with it or not is not very relevant.

Suppose we have 'thoroughly fucked ourselves', what can we do to either stop fucking ourselves or to turn it back. As Vekseid stated, some changes are irreversible, other things are but the alternatives are even worse.

Let me give you an example of my personal issues. I own three trucks, lorries, rigs, whatever you want to call them. They run on diesel and require a lot of it to transport the good my clients have to their destinations. The engines have gotten cleaner and cleaner but still, some people insist on me exploring the possibilities of electric driving. These people still seem to think that electricity is generated by pixies and that batteries grow on trees. Then there is the simple fact that the current day batteries are so unbelieve inefficient that it's hardly worth trying. You need more batteries to get lower radius and then you need to charge them again with power coming from the pixies.

If I could get trucks which are 'green' for roughly the same money, with the same specifications as the MAN V8's I have now, I'd gladly buy them but until then, until I see or read a report that states that batteries grow on trees and pixies make electricity, that won't happen.

Humans have an impact on the earth. Simple fact of life.

I'm going to stick my neck out with this question but look at it from a different angle.

Instead of panicking that we have a (bad) impact on the planet, why can't we accept that we have one and try to limit that impact as we are doing now. The way I see it, there is no point in worrying about irreversible damage as it can't be fixed.

Accept what you cannot change or change what you cannot accept.

Offline VekseidTopic starter

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2014, 04:19:10 PM »
The problem I have with this 'environmental lobbying' is that there are no alternatives.

Whether or not I agree with it or not is not very relevant.

Suppose we have 'thoroughly fucked ourselves', what can we do to either stop fucking ourselves or to turn it back. As Vekseid stated, some changes are irreversible, other things are but the alternatives are even worse.

Let me give you an example of my personal issues. I own three trucks, lorries, rigs, whatever you want to call them. They run on diesel and require a lot of it to transport the good my clients have to their destinations. The engines have gotten cleaner and cleaner but still, some people insist on me exploring the possibilities of electric driving. These people still seem to think that electricity is generated by pixies and that batteries grow on trees. Then there is the simple fact that the current day batteries are so unbelieve inefficient that it's hardly worth trying. You need more batteries to get lower radius and then you need to charge them again with power coming from the pixies.

If I could get trucks which are 'green' for roughly the same money, with the same specifications as the MAN V8's I have now, I'd gladly buy them but until then, until I see or read a report that states that batteries grow on trees and pixies make electricity, that won't happen.

Humans have an impact on the earth. Simple fact of life.

I'm going to stick my neck out with this question but look at it from a different angle.

Instead of panicking that we have a (bad) impact on the planet, why can't we accept that we have one and try to limit that impact as we are doing now. The way I see it, there is no point in worrying about irreversible damage as it can't be fixed.

Accept what you cannot change or change what you cannot accept.

You know why you use diesel engines instead of gas, right?

What most people like me are asking to do is

1) Stop coal subsidies of any sort entirely, immediately, and irreversibly. These should go to alternate methods of baseline power generation. Fission/fusion/wind/solar.

2) Begin switching other fossil subsidies to renewable and alternate sources.

3) Setup public/private division of the world's oceans, and enlist the world's navies to enforce them.

4) Ban net fishing period.

5) End all open sea fishing subsidies. Switch them to fishery subsidies.

6) Fix farm subsidies.

7) Work out how we can regulate what gets dumped into the oceans and rivers that lead into oceans.

None of this is too much to ask, except for the lobbyists of specific industries that this would destroy.

Offline HDWalker

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2014, 04:58:54 PM »
I agree with what you say but again, I don't feel there are enough alternatives. We still like to eat fish and nets are the most efficient way of catching fish. I believe my country has recently overruled an EU legislation allowing Dutch fishermen to try a new method of fishing. Something with electricity or something, not entirely sure what it was. For us in the 'west' it's a lot easier to step over onto 'green' stuff but in other parts of the world where they struggle to survive themselves, they don't really care about the environment.

I'm not a lobbyist for any industry and the reason why trucks usually run on diesel is simply because a diesel engine is a lot more efficient for a truck than a petrol engine in terms of torque, fuel efficiency and maintenance. Aside from that, in most countries diesel is cheaper than petrol. I very much doubt if the environment has anything to do with that.

Are those solar panels green? In terms of what they give, yes they probably are but all the other power methods you named have an impact on the earth as well because making a solar panel isn't exactly environmental friendly. I know you have to start somewhere and I support those things.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we should accept that we have an impact on the state of the earth and continue to work on making progress into getting more efficient with our ways. Everything we do and make has an impact on the earth. Wind turbines are made of composite materials made out of oil. The computer screens we are looking at are in some part made of crude oil. Crude oil is a dirty business to break down into smaller molecules. Even in being green, we have an impact on the earth but as long as we're working on making that impact smaller, I think we're on the right track.

Offline Kane

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2014, 07:02:32 PM »
We need to ensure that the production of solar panels is not only environmentally sustainable but also socially sustainable. We must promote fair treatment of workers in the solar industries, especially in countries where little regulation exists.

The fact is, production of solar panels can be both environmentally sustainable, and environmentally sustainable, but it isn't either currently. This is simply another thing that has to be taken into account and regulated, it doesn't mean solar energy is not a viable method. It doesn't mean solar energy is inherently ecologically bad. In either case, solar energy is still more sustainable than fossil fuels, even as is currently.

Offline VekseidTopic starter

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2014, 09:39:12 AM »
I agree with what you say but again, I don't feel there are enough alternatives. We still like to eat fish and nets are the most efficient way of catching fish. I believe my country has recently overruled an EU legislation allowing Dutch fishermen to try a new method of fishing. Something with electricity or something, not entirely sure what it was. For us in the 'west' it's a lot easier to step over onto 'green' stuff but in other parts of the world where they struggle to survive themselves, they don't really care about the environment.

Putting the matter off until it becomes a catastrophe is not an acceptable solution.

Quote
I'm not a lobbyist for any industry and the reason why trucks usually run on diesel is simply because a diesel engine is a lot more efficient for a truck than a petrol engine in terms of torque, fuel efficiency and maintenance. Aside from that, in most countries diesel is cheaper than petrol. I very much doubt if the environment has anything to do with that.

This is exactly what I was referring to.

Quote
Are those solar panels green? In terms of what they give, yes they probably are but all the other power methods you named have an impact on the earth as well because making a solar panel isn't exactly environmental friendly. I know you have to start somewhere and I support those things.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we should accept that we have an impact on the state of the earth and continue to work on making progress into getting more efficient with our ways. Everything we do and make has an impact on the earth. Wind turbines are made of composite materials made out of oil. The computer screens we are looking at are in some part made of crude oil. Crude oil is a dirty business to break down into smaller molecules. Even in being green, we have an impact on the earth but as long as we're working on making that impact smaller, I think we're on the right track.

Solar panels are not very green. Solar towers, however, are much more so.

Offline Sindara

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2014, 08:32:26 AM »
I had recently watched an episode of cosmos, where they discussed that there was once lead in many of our every day products and the companies were paying scientists to say the lead levels in people and the water were ok. It wasn't until a scientist challenged that statement that the government sided with what was in the best interest of public health. But as more and more money is being given to political officials from companies these days, I have to wonder what are they denying now that is actually hurting us?

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2014, 05:18:18 PM »
I had recently watched an episode of cosmos, where they discussed that there was once lead in many of our every day products and the companies were paying scientists to say the lead levels in people and the water were ok. It wasn't until a scientist challenged that statement that the government sided with what was in the best interest of public health. But as more and more money is being given to political officials from companies these days, I have to wonder what are they denying now that is actually hurting us?

Just as an example, the danger of routine overuse of antibiotics was downplayed for decades. It can't have been impossible for medical researchers to see the possibility, in principle, of pathogenous bacteria and viruses becoming resistant to penicillin and the like when these were used so heavily everywhere. But it's just begining to become recognized, and now we have strains of TB, polio and perhaps bird flu that are really resistant to treatment with antibiotics, perhaps also to vaccination (I'm really not a medical pro, though I'm aware of this discussion). The results could be very unpleasant.

Offline Question Mark

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2014, 04:40:45 PM »
I think a fundamental problem, in America at least, is how the scientific community creates exposure for this problem.

Generally in academia, which is where most climate research comes from, the emphasis is on validating hypotheses and accruing evidence to support existing or theoretical models (in this case, anthropogenic climate change).  The next step would be to apply these data to real world problems, but this is where we falter.  Sure, we tell people about it.  PR offices send memos to news organizations, PopSci pages share the info, but that's where it seems to end.  The impetus in academia is on continuing research and developing technology, but the actual application is left to private and governmental interests.  In our case, the actual doing is left to the politicians and bureaucrats in DC, a place where scientists have very little influence.  In addition, more often than not scientists are more concerned with the state of their own research -- the experiments and the data and the grants and the committees -- and consider the application of their results someone else's responsibility.  Their specialization is part of this, the structure of the research process another, and the strict funding requirements and criteria as well.

It's also worth noting that there is consensus within the scientific community (97.1%, according to that famous meta-analysis), but not within the political community (only ~50%, given the highly polarized aspect of the Dems vs. GOP).  The sheer ignorance is astounding, but I feel like very little is being done about it by the scientific community.  We just keep stacking up the evidence, but the deniers are looking in the other direction already.  What we have to do is grab them by the shoulder and turn them around, but instead we just make the pile higher and higher.

Fortunately, a few outstanding figures like Bill Nye, Ann Druyan, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson are trying to bridge this gap.  Unfortunately, they are respectively an engineer, a science popularizer, and an astrophysicist.  While they do a lot for raising awareness of climate change, there's surprisingly little participation in the PopSci arena by actual climate scientists.  I think this, along with the intentional deception orchestrated by the GOP/Fox and oil conglomerates, is the main reason for the epidemic of climate denial in America.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2014, 05:28:13 PM »

It might help if there was more information about what individuals can do about this. We hear all the horror stories about melting ice and smog, but we still need to heat our homes, travel via automobiles or mass transit, and use electricity. I can't just stop using oil or gas to heat my home, I can't just not have electricity.

I've considered installing solar panels and a battery to get me through the night but unfortunately, I have way too many towering trees to generate a sufficient amount of power.  I could cut them down, but I don't think that's really the right way to go so for me, solar is out of the question. For similar reasons, wind is not an option either.

I try to select cars that are more fuel efficient, I used fluorescent bulbs and am transitioning to led bulbs. I try not to waste electricity or gas or use products that are harmful to the environment, but there's only so much a person can do.



Offline Valthazar

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Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2014, 06:33:15 PM »
I try to select cars that are more fuel efficient, I used fluorescent bulbs and am transitioning to led bulbs. I try not to waste electricity or gas or use products that are harmful to the environment, but there's only so much a person can do.

Until there's an incentive for people to do this, there's no motivation.    If they reduced my tax rate based on doing these things, I'd do it as well.

Offline lilhobbit37

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2014, 10:33:43 PM »
Until there's an incentive for people to do this, there's no motivation.    If they reduced my tax rate based on doing these things, I'd do it as well.

Shouldn't your incentive be not destroying the planet you live on?

Offline Question Mark

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2014, 10:46:36 PM »
Shouldn't your incentive be not destroying the planet you live on?

It's difficult to motivate people to hamper themselves without an immediate, tangible benefit.

Offline Ebb

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2014, 11:00:34 PM »
I try to select cars that are more fuel efficient, I used fluorescent bulbs and am transitioning to led bulbs. I try not to waste electricity or gas or use products that are harmful to the environment, but there's only so much a person can do.

It sounds like you're hitting a lot of the high notes already. It might not sound like much, but it's the sort of thing that really does add up over long stretches of time and large numbers of people. Importantly, modeling behavior like this for others can have a cumulative effect and help to spread awareness.

A quick google of "what can an individual do about climate change" turns up a lot of good resources. Among them:

http://www.gcrio.org/gwcc/part3.html

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/

Until there's an incentive for people to do this, there's no motivation.    If they reduced my tax rate based on doing these things, I'd do it as well.

In the 1970's littering in the United States was a huge problem. Throwing trash out of your car as you drove down the highway was considered normal. Through a number of public awareness campaigns, such as Keep America Beautiful, and through stepped-up efforts to criminalize the act by increasing fines, the litter problem was sharply reduced. Not eliminated, of course; there are still pollution problems today. But importantly, it has become no longer socially acceptable to casually toss trash on the streets instead of putting it in a receptacle.

That's about where we are with the various sorts of individual behaviors that can affect climate change today, I think. If there's a recycle bin next to a trash receptacle, most people will choose to separate out their plastic bottles and toss them in. Being mindful of water, electricity and gas usage is no longer considered odd or fringe behavior. Checking the energy rating when buying a new appliance is typical, especially given labeling requirements. At least considering the tradeoff between gas mileage and other factors when purchasing an automobile is standard practice.

Littering was curbed in part by imposing sharp fines on the practice (a negative incentive), but in practice unless you're Arlo Guthrie your odds of getting cited for littering were pretty low. Mostly it simply required a change in culture, a shift in what "normal, acceptable" behavior was.


Frankly, it should not require government handing you a check in order to get you to take actions which, were they echoed by everyone else, would have substantial benefit to everyone on earth. I don't believe that most people operate on such a mercenary level, at least when it comes to actions which require relatively small sacrifice. But if you do require an immediate financial benefit, then at least consider replacing your incandescent light bulbs with either compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. The energy savings over the course of a year will more than pay for the upgrades, leading to profit after that.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2014, 11:13:54 PM »
There's a reason you can get 5 cents back for recycling a can or plastic bottle.  In addition to performing a good act, the reason many people are increasingly considering hybrids and electric cars is due to the rising cost of gasoline.  There's also a reason why tax penalties on corporations work as a way to reduce their emissions.

In the same manner, offering income tax reductions for average people to reduce their energy consumption will only benefit the cause.  Many health insurance companies reduce premium rates for patrons who regularly exercise, for example.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 11:15:02 PM by Valthazar »

Offline Ebb

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2014, 11:25:00 PM »
There's a reason you can get 5 cents back for recycling a can or plastic bottle.  In addition to performing a good act, the reason many people are increasingly considering hybrids and electric cars is due to the rising cost of gasoline.  There's also a reason why tax penalties on corporations work as a way to reduce their emissions.

In the same manner, offering income tax reductions for average people to reduce their energy consumption will only benefit the cause.  Many health insurance companies reduce premium rates for patrons who regularly exercise, for example.

You're shifting the goalposts. Of course if you incentivize a behavior then people will do more of it. That's just common sense. But your original statement was:

Until there's an incentive for people to do this, there's no motivation.    If they reduced my tax rate based on doing these things, I'd do it as well.

Or in other words, without such direct monetary incentives there is _no_ motivation for performing these activities. I believe that to be false. And in fact I feel that "soft" pressure through cultural awareness is more effective then straight financial benefits, particularly since people tend to be very bad at doing cost/benefit analysis. For instance, the savings on gasoline will almost never justify the increased cost of an electric car over a gasoline vehicle except in relatively rare cases.


But again, even if you assume that people are driven solely by dollars and cents justifications: Isn't reducing your energy usage, and therefore your energy bill, as clear-cut an example of a direct financial benefit as you can get? Why should the government reduce your tax bill as a reward for your having reduced your electric bill? If people are motivated by lower bills, then the incentive is already there.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Climate Change and You
« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2014, 11:49:55 PM »
This is tricky. I see Valthazar's point, however I don't really like the idea of the government throwing its weight around and creating more rules for us to follow and more penalties and minor rewards with which to shape our behaviour. This I feel, will lead in the direction of a less than free country. Sadly, we're already stumbling down that dark and twisted road towards slavery.

People need to just do it because they give a shit about our planet, period.