As my bicycle, and the rest of my state, rest under a blanket of snow and frigid, heavy winds, the debate over global warming continues in Copenhagen and around the world. It's kind of wacky, being buried in snow and cold and thinking about these issues, but of course, the phrase itself, "global warming," is like any other set of words: it doesn't really catch the full reality.
Here are a few paragraphs from the blog Ecological Buddhism about those infamous e-mails being discussed in some circles that supposedly posed serious doubts about the science behind global warming:
Over the past decade, the gigantic oil corporation Exxon Mobil (among others) has paid millions to organizations and “think tanks” in an attempt to deceive the public about the science behind global climate change. It is no surprise that those same organizations are now doing everything in their power to please their corporate benefactors, by putting together a deceptive “Climategate scandal".
The reality is that emails were criminally hacked from the University of East Anglia in England and searched exhaustively to locate a few "useful" out-of-context comments that could be deployed in a 'black-ops' propaganda exercise. The original comments were contextually distorted beyond recognition, in support of a blizzard of malevolent PR articles, claiming to prove (or just assuming) that climate scientists have "fudged the data" on global warming.
One thing I keep thinking about all of this is that, in Buddhism, we're taught to see through the stories we have about solid, fixed identities, especially our own. Given that, I cannot help but see through the narrative that the current economic model driving so much of this destructive action around the planet has to also be seen as not not fixed, not final, and definitely not a permanent "best we can do." Even if some of the dire predictions about our climate aren't accurate, it seems foolish to me to just keep on trucking in the same direction, focused on an economic growth, consumption, and materialism that supposedly makes our lives better and more fulfilled. When I look around, I see a hell of a lot of misery despite the material abundance. And certainly, it seems that the fabulously wealthy, those many of us have a deep envy of, and consciously or unconsciously pattern our lives around, are just as likely to be living in scandalous, "my life is a disaster" type ways than in ways that anyone would aspire to. Simply put, the end goals of the dominant global economic system don't seem to worth destroying the planet over, even if that destruction takes longer than we think it will.