How to Boil a Frog

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

When disaster is good for business...

Something called the CNA Corporation just published a report on the way global warming affects US military planning -- they refer to it as a "threat multiplier" with hugely serious consequences. Check it out here. But what's making my little green nose twitch isn't the fact that US military is considering global warming a serious threat that has to be addressed immediately, while the Commander-in-Chief continues to do nothing about global warming that would result in any of his friends being less rich. What's bothering me is this fellow:



Frank "Skip" Bowman - a retired Admiral -- is on the board of advisors for this sort-of-update of the 2003 Pentagon report on the threat posed by climate change (which the Bush Administration also ignored). But Frank is also the new head of NEI, the nuclear industry's front group. Perhaps a fearsome assessment of the threat posed by global warming is good for business on the nuke side, now that they're selling those same old nuclear plants as "clean energy"?

But more nukes to replace dirty coal-fired plants means more fuel rods sitting in pits, and more plutonium from re-processing, all vulnerable to terrorists eager to make dirty bombs. Is that threat assessed here too? My twitchy nose guesses the answer is no.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Way We REALLY Think

Cynicism is better than chocolate. Sure, chocolate makes you feel a little better when you get that text message from Brittney telling you she's dumping you on national TV, but cynicism comforts you when you're in the presence of the stuff you just don't want to think about ever. Frogs, as a rule, are not cynical, because we have a lot of time to think, sitting out there on our lily pads, especially after we discovered that our thumbs are too small to work a Wii. But things are different on land, where there's so much cynicism that nobody really notices it anymore.

This is a movie that just came out on DVD -- never made it to the theaters -- that's certainly the most important movie since "An Inconvenient Truth", and possibly since "Porky's" (I really liked Porky's -- RIP Bob Clark, you honorary frog you!). It won lots of awards. It tells the story of how the human race -- that includes, for instance, you, and everyone you love -- is in imminent danger of watching civilization collapse, followed by a miserable slow death. Here are a couple of reviews:

Will oil's peak cool the planet?

RICK GROEN

Globe & Mail Print Edition 09/03/07

Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash*** Directed and written by Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack, Starring an ensembleof talking-heads, Rating: G. My but the world is in a pickle -- if it's not one inconvenient truth, it's another. Nevertheless, for any black humorists among us, there's at least this measure of solace to be taken from the horror story that is Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash: It appears humankind will run out of energy before finishing the job of fully polluting the planet. So, to the charge that we are perilously warming up the globe, this documentary has an implicit and snappy reply -- heck, pretty soon we won't be able to warm up ourselves.

Or try this one from the Vancouver Sun...

A CRUDE AWAKENING

Rating 3 1/2

If you're already awash in enviro-neurosis about our carbon-based economy, you may actually find some elements of Crude Awakening somewhat hopeful, since it looks at the fossil fuel era from a long view perspective -- and suggests the whole thing was doomed from the very start. This may not sound all that jolly, but at the very least, this film from Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack gives the viewer a solid understanding of oil's rich history, and strips rhetoric down to fact. One of the most interesting nuggets was how cheap gas remains considering it's a precious, non-renewable resource. Are you ready to pay $20 a litre, because according to this movie, that's what the black stuff is really worth. If you've heard of "peak oil," this is the best explanation of how the theory works -- and why humanity could go the way of the Dodo.

Speaking on behalf of a species that is currently going the way of the Dodo, I have to tell you it's not really your best choice if you have other options, like, say, throwing a party or saving your own life. But if that's what you want to do, don't be cynical about it. Be happy. Watch Porky's!