Tuesday, January 5, 2010

We're havin' a heat wave!

Well, actually, strictly speaking, we in the northern hemisphere are NOT having a heat wave. In fact, throughout much of our half of the earth, it is bitterly cold just now. In my own neighborhood of the world, here near the southern coast of the United States, we are shivering in temperatures that we haven't experienced in many years. We are talking temperatures in the 20s F and possibly as low as the teens later this week.

Such weather occurrences predictably bring out all the global warming skeptics and deniers to chortle triumphantly about how this proves that all the hoopla about global climate change is a hoax or a conspiracy. But if they bothered to turn their eyes to the south, they would see quite a different picture.

In the southern hemisphere, especially the South Pacific, many areas are experiencing unprecedented heat waves, not so different from what we experienced in much of North America and other parts of the northern hemisphere just a few months ago and probably will again next summer. But we tend to be so ethnocentric that we assume that whatever weather conditions we are experiencing at the moment are the ones that prevail over the earth. And so we overlook half the planet.

Of course, it isn't only in regard to weather that we are so blind and jingoistic. We tend to see OUR culture or OUR political system or OUR religion as THE culture, political system, religion, etc. In this, perhaps we are no better than those who willfully and proudly deny, in the face of all the data, that the earth is heating up. We are all in the same boat and the water is rising.

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