Box of Rocks

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I read on the internet once, that cancer pre-dates big tobacco. Clearly we can’t believe everything we read on the internet, but I’m pretty sure that this is universally agreed upon. It apparently also was around before numerous other man made carcinogens, but for this analogy we’ll focus on big tobacco because they’re assholes and everyone hates them. The point is this, even though cancer was occurring before cigarettes, no one denies that smoking increases your odds of getting it. We don’t have an entire political party looking at pictures of blackened lungs and saying, “Well cancer has been around forever so the pack per day all of those people smoked can’t be the cause. Couldn’t the reason their lungs look like globs of tar be that they just breathed too much air?”

Um, no. That would be nuttier than an Almond Joy covered in Charles Manson’s sperm. We’ve taken this wacky thing called science and used its method to show that although cancer pre-dates big tobacco, the use of their products does indeed exacerbate your chances of getting cancer. Just because there have been natural occurrences prior to certain behaviors of mankind, does not mean that mankind therefore lacks the capability of making those occurrences worse. In fact, we are amazingly good at turning the ordinary into the extraordinarily awful. Look at the Kardashians.

Such is the truth, for climate change. Although the earth’s climate has always gone through fluctuations, this does not mean that humans can’t increase the severity of the changes. And even though the scientific consensus that climate change is man made, is the same as that of smoking causing cancer, we still have people like this dude

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I give you Rep. Mo Brooks from Alabama. This fine specimen stated, that rocks falling from the White Cliffs of Dover and the California shoreline, are responsible for rising sea levels. Because… Alabama. (As a disclaimer I actually really LIKE Alabama. My boyfriend and his family are from Talladega County. They’re wonderful people. However some stereotypes just work out too perfectly to pass up.) So yeah… Alabama. If they’re not more careful about who they elect, “Roll Tide” is going to take on a whole new meaning. Like, that tide is going to roll alright. All the fucking way up to Tennessee and wash everything into the ocean when it rolls back out. As my boyfriend would say, “Earth’s going to be ruant”. “Ruant” is how people from his part of Alabama say “ruined”. I found this out after a very confusing 15 minute conversation regarding the state of the milk in our fridge. That’s a true story, but moving along…

This actually gets crazier, because Mr. Brooks isn’t just a congressman, he actually sits on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Yes, the man who apparently believes our oceans are one giant Big Gulp with too many ice cubes in it, sits on the committee that has jurisdiction over non-defense scientific research and development. I know you’re wondering, “If this is his ‘science’, what the hell does he consider technology?” It’s funny you asked, because he just signed off on a research and development project for an amazing new invention called “The Wheel”. That’s true too. As is the fact that he uses “Password” as a password on all of his devices.

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Now, it could be that Mo is simply dumber than a box of rocks, but that doesn’t explain the rest of the people who deny climate change. This is an issue that falls pretty clearly along party lines. The GOP tends to deny that climate change is man made, while the Democrats largely accept it. So I did a little digging – don’t worry, I made sure not to shovel the dirt into the ocean as I don’t want to contribute to rising sea levels – and found that 19 of the top 20 elected officials who receive money from the oil and gas industry are Republicans. If a Sasquatch punched me in the ovaries I could not be more shocked. What a coincidence, right?

No, it’s not shocking at all that the politicians who get money from the industries that contribute to fossil fuels in our atmosphere and thus climate change, habitually deny that it’s occurring. That makes a shit ton of sense. On a side note, a shit ton is not even remotely close to the amount of rocks that would have to fall into the ocean in order for it to rise. However, it’s not just politicians that deny man made climate change. It’s also a good portion of the American public. Only 52% of Americans believe that climate change is man made. Remember how the scientific consensus for smoking being linked to cancer is the same as man made climate change? Well only 15% of Americans smoke. So how is this collective stupidity happening? At this point, the United States is basically the geopolitical equivalent of “Jackass: The Movie”.

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It could be that science is hard to understand. And, well… Boring. If Jim Parsons wasn’t such a delight and wacky, un-science related hijinks never ensued, NO ONE would fucking watch The Big Bang Theory. Science is only fun until about 6th grade. Once you pass melting gummy bears (so cool by the way, try that) and dry ice, we tend to lose interest. Which is probably why so many people have trouble distinguishing climate from weather. Climate is defined as a regional pattern. Weather is the short-term state of the atmosphere in any given place. Saying that climate change can’t be occurring because it’s snowing in Michigan during February is akin to saying, a famine can’t be occurring in Sudan because you’re eating a cheeseburger in New York. In the immortal words of that lady from the GEICO commercial, “That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.”

If for some reason you don’t want to take the GEICO commercial’s word for it, than you’re a monster because those ads will forever be amazing. But NASA also happens to concur that indeed, that’s not how it works. I’m not going to explain it here, because I’m not as enchanting as Jim Parsons and fuck it I don’t want to, but there is a link up there for anyone who wants to check out NASA’S information.

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So yes, an aversion to science may be to blame, however there’s a commonality amongst climate change deniers and it just so happens to also be prevalent in Republicans. Evangelicalism. One of the themes that runs through, specifically white, evangelicalism is the appeal to providence. That what happens is in “God’s hands”, and therefore culpability is never on the shoulders of the believers. There’s also the phenomenon of the “White Christian Persecution Complex”. (I know, my eyes just rolled too). As America becomes more diverse, this demographic’s belief that they are under attack increases. Because brown people are scary, I guess? I don’t really know. But anyway, if climate change is man made it ergo can’t be divine providence, and when those outside of their group insist that it IS INDEED man’s doing they confirm the belief of evangelicals that they’re “under attack”. It’s like an insane, climate change induced, self-fulfilling prophecy, category six hurricane of “Snap the fuck out of it, you’re going to kill us all if you don’t”. Coincidentally, “Snap The Fuck Out of It You’re Going To Kill Us All If You Don’t” was the original name pitched for Hurricane Sandy, but meteorologists thought it was too wordy.

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So I can conclusively state that rocks falling into the ocean is NOT the reason sea levels are rising. Rocks only work like ice cubes when they ARE ice cubes, floating in a delicious martini. Perhaps Mo was merely confused as to the topic, or more likely he’s lost his marbles. Maybe he can look for them at the bottom of the ocean. I’m sure he’d hate to think they’re causing our sea levels to rise.

No, it’s more of an amalgamation of greedy politicians, the psychology of religion and fossil fuel spewing corporations, that when combined produce a warming climate. The effects of which will be irreversible if we don’t do something soon.  If you want to NEVER fucking sleep again, you can check out that link. In the meantime, forget “draining the swamp”. We’re all going to be canoeing through the streets of literally everywhere but Nebraska, and who the hell wants to have to live there. All I know is that, if the climate change apocalypse happens and we’re all starving due to famine, I vote we eat Mo first.

(ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO MY AMAZING SISTER, WHO I ONCE SAW CRY BECAUSE SHE HAD TO THROW AWAY A PLASTIC BOTTLE. SHE WILL PROBABLY BE THE ONLY PERSON WHO ACTUALLY VISITS NASA’S WEBSITE AND READS THE WHOLE THING. BUT IF ANYONE CAN SAVE US IT’S YOU BIG SIS. STAY EARTHY, MY FRIEND!)

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